Cop 27 is the next annual UN climate summit where world leaders agree on what steps to take to limit global warming. This year it is held in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt. It comes after a troubled year for worldwide sustainability efforts and a less than successful previous summit held in Glasgow last year. At VPI we questioned the UK public about their thoughts on the Climate Pledge and Cop 26, as we did this year with the 27th summit. The contrast in belief is instant and worrying. Last year many answers were filled with voices of hope and importance, that we are making movements in the right direction and that such meetings are crucial to development. This year told a different story. Yes, the consumer voice is aligned in ambition to make the world a better and more sustainable place, but there is less and less faith that governments are actually helping the cause.
Key factors of travel, alongside admissions from Greta Thunberg that last year’s summit was ‘all talk and no action’ has left the UK public scratching their heads. The location was obvious cause for concern from a UK perspective due to the it’s distance. However, when put into a global perspective it still raised eyebrows. “I don’t understand why, in this day and age, people have to fly to a meeting about climate change”, commented one participant. A point echoed throughout opinions and leading to accusations of hypocrisy as world leaders fly into Egypt on their private jets, omitting a bigger carbon footprint than most of us will in a lifetime.
Another key juxtaposition to last year’s findings was a failure to understand what COP 27 was actually for. Perhaps this is as a result of last year’s non-performance and a lack of serious change seen throughout the following year. We also noticed through-out the day that many of our respondents were unaware of what Cop 27 actually was and stood for, despite their knowledge of general climate crisis. This could suggest either Cop 27 is not widely spoken about or that the public are more concerned, perhaps understandable, on more immediate issues such as the cost of living crisis. All our respondents were passionate about the environment and believed it is important for world leaders to come together to tackle the crisis. Take a look below at our findings from both 2021 and 2022.
We also questioned the UK public about their thoughts towards brands in the same subject of sustainability. Specifically whether they actually thought any businesses had been making a difference. “It is really upsetting to me that none are coming to mind”, said a comment from one participant which perfectly highlights both the want from consumers for brands to better, and their inability to do so. There were some nods towards the efforts of Supermarkets and Automobile companies for their efforts. However, questions arise to whether these are due to market changes or an actual want to do better. In reality consumers just don’t know how brands are trying to be more sustainable. While there are often clear efforts in the right direction, the perception is that individuals don’t trust the movements of brands enough to believe that they are making these efforts purely for the sake of the planet.