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The ‘COP26 effect’

New polling shows green boost this Christmas thanks to increased nature and climate coverage
The COP26 effect

Recent reporting on the climate and nature crises has led to a green boost this festive season, which WWF has labelled the ‘COP26 effect’.

New polling, commissioned by WWF from Opinium Research, shows that nearly two-thirds (64%) of UK adults who celebrate Christmas will try to be more ‘environmentally friendly’ this year compared with last, with 35% of those polled inspired to act by recent news about the climate and nature crises.

Environmentally friendly changes that people are increasingly likely to make include opting for Christmas gifts that use less packaging (38%); using LED lights on Christmas trees (30%) and purchasing FSC certified, recyclable wrapping paper and/or Christmas cards (30%).

A greener 2022

The shift is particularly notable among younger people: seven in 10 of those aged 18 to 34 (70%) who celebrate Christmas said they will be trying to be more environmentally friendly this festive season, with nearly half (46%) of those polled inspired by recent news.

These environmentally conscious trends look set to continue into the new year with 71% of UK adults reporting that they will try to be more environmentally friendly in 2022.

Over a third (37%) of those polled say they’ve been inspired to do this by recent coverage of the climate and nature crisis.

If you want a greener Christmas but aren’t sure where to start, click here to get some inspiration from the gift section of our online shop. You’ll find everything from organic wine and prosecco to recycled (and recyclable) gift wrap in gorgeous Christmas designs, plus plantable Christmas cards and ethical gifts for all ages.

‘It’s clear from this data that there’s been a tangible COP26 effect in the UK. Without urgent action, we’re facing a code red for the planet, and the public have heard that message loud and clear. People care and are ready to adjust their habits over the festive season to help tackle the twin threat of climate change and nature loss.

‘The UK Government must show it’s also ready to deliver on its climate and nature promises as it looks towards 2022. Committing to a net zero test to ensure government investments align with climate goals, strengthening measures to tackle deforestation and conversion in UK supply chains, and supporting farmers to become stewards of nature would signal that Ministers are prepared to match the public’s appetite for action.’

Executive director of advocacy and campaigns, WWF

Government climate targets

WWF is now calling on the UK Government to match the public’s appetite to go greener by setting ambitious climate and nature commitments for the new year.

The charity was to see a net zero test for all Budgets and Spending Reviews, to ensure that government investments help accelerate progress towards the UK’s climate promises and build the green economy of the future.

It’s also calling for a legally binding target to significantly reduce the UK’s global environmental footprint by at least 75% by 2030.

It wants due diligence measures in the Environment Act to be strengthened to eliminate all deforestation and conversion – legal and illegal – from UK supply chains.

Finally, WWF wants to see a Land Use and Decarbonisation strategy for agriculture to bring the sector into line with legally binding net zero targets.

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