Beyond Carbon: What Matters Most to Consumers

A Summary of Earthly’s “Beyond Carbon” Survey Report

Shelby Torrence

Shelby Torrence

06 Nov, 2023

Beyond Carbon: What Matters Most to Consumers

We asked 300 people what matters most when is comes to supporting nature-based projects

From our inception, Earthly has been dedicated to nature-based solutions because they go beyond carbon to bring a multitude of environmental and social benefits. As we’ve grown, we often discuss among our team and with our customers, which impacts matter the most? What is most important across the interlinked pillars of climate, biodiversity, and social benefits? 

We decided to ask the public and conducted

a survey of 300 people

to ask what they believe businesses should focus on when investing in nature-based projects. The responses were insightful - not just the responses but the comments and reasoning of the respondents. It's a treasure trove of knowledge that will empower businesses to make informed decisions that resonate with their customers, partners, and employees.

Demographic overview

The Nature-based Projects survey collected responses from a diverse group of individuals representing various countries and backgrounds. Respondents came from the United Kingdom, Rwanda, the United States, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Kenya, Togo, and more. The diverse response pool offers a comprehensive understanding of opinions from a wide range of perspectives.

Consumer Purchasing Behaviour and Sustainability

The survey highlights the growing importance of sustainability in consumer purchasing decisions. More than 66% of respondents prioritise sustainability, and over half are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Sustainability has become a critical factor in the decision-making process for consumers.

Age-wise, the survey also encompassed a broad spectrum of participants, ranging from 18 years old to 75 years or older. The data reveals that willingness to pay more for sustainable products actually increases with age, challenging the assumption that it's primarily younger consumers who focus on sustainability. A factor to consider here is that generally people at the younger end of this range are students or in entry-level jobs, so will have less money to invest in sustainable products.

It’s clear that people across all age brackets are concerned with helping make a positive impact to benefit the generations to come. 

Selecting the best nature-based projects

The heart of the survey focuses on questions around what companies should focus on when selecting

nature-based projects

, respondents were given three key factors to consider:

  • Carbon reduction/removal

  • Biodiversity

  • People/social

We’re happy to see so many comments about the importance of balancing all these factors. Clearly, people understand that climate, biodiversity, and social benefits are interrelated and equally important. One respondent said it very well:

"No one area operates in a silo - they are interrelated and companies need to recognise and act on that fact."

Priorities in nature-based project selection

This is where the survey gets harder and more complex, and we appreciate all of the respondents who took the time to provide input and share their reasoning. 

We asked people to rank the benefits according to the priority they should have with businesses as part of investments in nature-based projects. The majority of respondents expressed a belief that companies should focus on impact and results. It’s clear that impact is paramount, and verifying that impact is crucial. 

We were pleased to see this because we often hear from businesses that they feel it’s important to prioritise projects in the region(s) where they have their HQ or offices. And we get it - it feels more tangible and relevant when it’s close to home. But we’re excited to see that so many people get that these are global challenges that require us to work as a global community to drive the greatest impact. 

Please do take them time to read the survey report in its entirety and share it with your leadership, colleagues and connections. Knowledge is power and, when it's shared, it becomes a force for change. Let's read, learn, and act together for a brighter, more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future for all.