Over a third of Britain’s want to do more for the planet but don’t know how

A YouGov survey of more than 2000 GB adults shows that although 73 per cent of British citizens consider sustainable living to be important to them, more than a third (36 per cent) admit being confused about what they should or shouldn’t do to do more for the planet. In response to the growing need to change consumer behaviour, and specifically the role businesses can play in inspiring people to do more with less, an IBM (IBM:NYSE) summit is bringing together some of the biggest brands in the UK on 1 November to discuss new ways that businesses can empower consumers to achieve sustainable behaviour change.

This event follows the success of last year’s IBM Summit at Start held in association with Start, a charitable initiative by HRH The Prince of Wales to inspire people with simple steps for sustainable living. Last year’s summit saw 1000 British business leaders collaborate over nine days to discuss some of the key business, economic, societal and environmental issues of the 21st century.

“We believe the imperative for sustainable action is strong and businesses have a real hunger to make a difference. No one organisation can do this alone and collaborative approaches are now needed to discover new ways for businesses to empower consumers to create a new era of innovation and growth” said Stephen Leonard, Chief Executive, IBM UK and Ireland. “To help make the planet smarter IBM is uniting powerful brands and some of Britain’s leading business figures to identify how they can play their part in driving social change by encouraging customers across the UK to think, act and live more sustainably.”

This year’s summit – START Now START Today! – has been organised by IBM, The Marketing Society, and Start. The summit will see some of the UK’s best-known brands including P&G, M&S, Asda and British Gas join forces to discuss how to engage consumers on sustainability issues, while providing real value back to business, with the ultimate goal of driving social change and encouraging the British public to live more sustainably.

“Start Today aims to unite powerful brands to inspire behaviour change in the UK public towards more sustainable living. The IBM Summit is central to this mission as it brings together some of the UK’s leading brands to examine the role of businesses in driving change for a sustainable future.” said Joey Tabone, CEO of Start. “Small changes in behaviour when multiplied by millions of consumers can make a real difference and show that marketing and marketers can be a force for good.”

The research, commissioned by Start, also found that although just under half (49 per cent) of those surveyed believe they themselves (i.e. the general public) are ultimately the most responsible for encouraging others in the UK to live more sustainably, a quarter (25 per cent) feel this is the responsibility of the Government, and one in six say it should be the role of British businesses (17 per cent).

Additionally, just over a third (34 per cent) said a simple idea to help them live more sustainably from a company whose products they already buy would make them more inclined to try the idea than if the Government suggested it. However, if multiple companies came together with a set of ideas, this number rose to almost three in five (57 per cent), highlighting the power of collaboration and working together to tackle this important issue.

During the course of the day attendees will discuss how businesses can reach out and influence consumers, ultimately driving social change to start building a smarter planet. They will be addressed by inspiring keynote speakers including Stephen Leonard of IBM and David Green, CEO of Ecolsland. Delegates will then break into smaller groups to debate key issues such as ‘how to engage and empower customers’, and what ‘incentives will be effective in accelerating behavioral change’.

At the end of the conference each delegate will be given a summary of the actions and decisions taken to help put these ideas into practice and make the UK smarter and more sustainable.

For further information please visit: www.ibm.com/uk/start/

Join the conversation : Click Here

Notes to Editors  

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2107 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th – 12th October 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).