As we approach the two year anniversary of the first national lockdown, we can safely say that the pandemic has been a life-changing period for us all.
But have our experiences of the past two years led to positive changes for the environment? And, as a nation, are we now more sympathetic to the climate crisis?
Well, our latest study sought to answer exactly these questions – and our data insights team found that, in fact, the pandemic has accelerated Britain’s journey to greener living.
The research shows that more than a third of Brits (38%) are living more sustainably, such as buying more plastic-free products and recycling more, since the Covid-19 pandemic.
And being more environmentally conscious in 2022 may well be a New Year’s resolution for many, with a further 35% of people saying they’re likely to live more sustainably in the future.
What are the key takeaways from the study?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, millennials are most likely to have made the switch to greener living since March 2020, with people under 35 – specifically students – significantly more likely to be living more sustainably compared to two years ago.
We also found that 26% of us are now more likely to buy an electric car, up from 17% in May, whilst 54% of Brits are planning to buy more sustainable products in the next three months.
Since the pandemic, environmentally friendly transport has become more popular, too. People are now more likely to buy an EV (26%) than use public transport (24%), or buy a petrol or diesel car (19%).
And all of this re-emphasises the importance of private vehicles, with less than one in five (17%) saying they are comfortable using public transport in the current climate.
On the other hand, 68% of Brits feel very comfortable driving in their own car.
Demand for electric cars more than doubled in 2021 and we saw a 112% annual increase in the number of EVs we financed last year versus 2020.
In fact, with over 37,000 battery electric car sales last year, the Volkswagen Group became the clear market leader in the growing zero emission battery electric vehicle sector in 2021.
What do the experts say?
Our CEO Mike Todd explained that the pandemic appears to have positively impacted many people’s environmental sensibilities.
He said: “The pandemic has been a life-changing experience for everybody and as we collectively acclimatise to a new normal, lots of people are making a proactive effort to create a greener, more sustainable future.
“From an automotive perspective, the UK’s electric vehicle revolution is accelerating like never before and I’m really excited to say that mainstream adoption of EVs is getting closer every month.
“Of course, there is a long way to go on our journey to zero-emissions transport, but the British public have put down a clear marker in this research that they’re enthusiastic about living more sustainably.”
For more information on electric vehicles, visit our dedicated EV hub.
*The data for this study was collected in December 2021 and comprises responses from 2,012 British respondents.