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Sustainability standard-setters

The everyday habits of people turning climate ambition into action

22 APRIL 2022: What we buy, where we work and what we expect from our leaders can all be influenced by our attitudes to climate action. So what can individuals, businesses and governments learn from what shapes our behaviour?

The Deloitte Sustainable Actions Index has been created to help provide the answers. Using data collected from a survey of 23,000 people across 23 countries, it shows what motivates people to act more sustainably and how those decisions impact the choices we make.

A “typical” sustainability standard-setter identifies as female, 25-44 years old, high income, has at least one child at home, has experienced at least one climate event in the last six months and has felt worried or anxious about climate change recently.

The results highlight the impact life-changing moments have on attitudes to climate and the decisions people make as they take stock of their own actions and how they are shaping the future. 63% of respondents with children at home felt worried or anxious about climate change compared to 55% among those without children.

Despite 72% of overall respondents describing climate change as an emergency, the report shows a strong link between action and optimism with 72% of sustainability standard setters saying they are optimistic about the world’s climate prospects.

Deloitte Climate and Sustainability Executive Leader, David McCarthy said: “As business leaders, there is a real opportunity to create a narrative of hope that will drive widespread behavioural change.

“As the report says, we shouldn’t sugar coat the challenges but emphasise a way forward rooted in action.”

Deloitte Asia Pacific Climate & Sustainability Leader, Will Symons said: “Action on climate change has gone from being Australia's most divisive issue to being something that we (almost) all agree upon.

“Action on climate change is good for the economy and good for jobs and we should never underestimate the impact individual attitudes and actions can have.”

Deloitte National Consumer Product and Retail Lead, Vanessa Matthijssen said: “It’s not surprising that the Australian sustainability standard setters are those with children who care deeply about their kids’ future. This is a substantial part of the population making key purchasing decisions.

“There’s a real opportunity for those businesses who offer sustainable products supported by sustainable practices as the trend of conscious consumption continues to gather pace.”

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