I have declared this the decade of sustainability—as enterprises, cities, and everyone in between hurries to meet carbon neutrality and net zero goals by the elusive 2030 target many have set. But is there one subset that is hurdling toward this faster than others? If so, then how can we get everyone on the same page? A recent survey looks to provide some insights.
At least that is the case in Sweden, where 1,000 people between the ages of 16 and 70 were interviewed during April and May 2021. The research shows women are more worried about climate change and live more sustainably than men. This is the third year in a row that the survey “Swedes and Sustainability” has been conducted.
First, a little bit of background about sustainability in Sweden. In general, the proportion of Swedes who say they live sustainably continues to increase. Roughly 73% say they do so, which is an increase of seven percentage points over the past year. In parallel, the proportion who do not believe they are living sustainably continues to decrease by the corresponding 10 percentage points during the same period.
What’s more, roughly 90% of Swedes think it is a good thing that companies take a stand on societal issues and the same amount say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services. Almost every other person acknowledges they are prepared to do their part to a large extent. Quite simply, sustainability is king in Sweden.
When looking at the numbers by gender, an interesting story about sustainability unfolds. While almost everyone thinks sustainability is important (95%), women believe to a greater extent (88%) than men (73%) that there are major climate problems, and they are also significantly more worried about climate development (70%) than men (51%). Women answer to a greater extent (78%) than men (69%) that they live sustainably today. Despite this, women, to a greater extent than men, answer they want to live more sustainably than they do today. Perhaps we need to take a moment and consider what this research is telling us or not telling us?
With this information in hand, how then can we get everyone on the same page and to move forward in harmony? This is a topic I tackle in depth in my book, Sustainable in a Circular World, where I talk about the importance of generations and genders coming together for a change. The only way we are going to move forward is if we all do it together and listen to what the other has to say about climate and sustainability. Perhaps recognizing this is the first step to change.
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