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The second part of the 2022-2023 European Investment Bank (EIB) Climate Survey explores people’s views on climate change in a rapidly changing world. The results from this release focus on people’s individual behaviour and the actions they are taking to combat climate change.

  • 72% of Austrians under 30 say the climate impact of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting, and 21% say it is even a top priority.
  • 54% of Austrian respondents would be in favour of a carbon budget system to set a cap on the most climate-damaging consumption (63% of people under 30).
  • 65% of Austrians say they would pay more for climate-friendly food.
  • 78% of Austrian respondents are in favour of labelling all food to help limit the impact on climate and the environment.
  • 59% are in favour of stricter government measures to impose a change in personal behaviour (72% of people under 30).

These are some of the results from the latest yearly EIB Climate Survey, conducted in August 2022 and published today. The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects.

Individual behaviour and stricter government measures

The war in Ukraine and its consequences, including rising energy prices and inflation, have dramatically increased concerns about declining purchasing power. However, climate change and environmental degradation remain the biggest challenges for Austria, according to most Austrian respondents. A sizeable majority of respondents (70%, 2 percentage points above the EU average) say they are convinced that their own behaviour can make a difference in addressing the climate emergency.

For many, the government has a role to play in encouraging individual behavioural change. A majority of Austrians (59%) are in favour of stricter government measures imposing a change in people’s behaviour to tackle climate change (72% of respondents under 30 would welcome such measures).

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Jobseeker priorities

A growing number of people entering the workforce each year are looking at employers’ climate credentials when job hunting. Most Austrian respondents (54%) say it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability. For 14%, it is even a top priority. Of people aged 20 to 29 — typically those looking for their first job — more than two-thirds (72%) say that sustainability is an important factor in their choice of employer, and 20% say it is even a top priority.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Capping individual consumption

A majority of Austrian respondents (54%) say they would be in favour of a carbon budget system that would allocate each individual a fixed number of yearly credits to be spent on items with a big carbon footprint (non-essential goods, flights, meat, etc.). Nearly the same rate of German respondents share this opinion (56%).

It is noteworthy that a majority of Austrians favour this measure regardless of income (53% of lower-income, 53% of middle-income, and 58% of higher-income respondents). More people under 30 (63%) are in favour of introducing a carbon budget system than their elders, with 54% of respondents over 65 opposed to such a measure.

Food labelling and pricing

Food production accounts for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions. To help people make more sustainable choices when grocery shopping, 78% of Austrians are in favour of labelling all food products with their climate footprint. This is similar to the rate in Germany (80%).

In addition, 65% of Austrians say they would be willing to pay slightly more for food that is produced locally and more sustainably (slightly more than Germans would, with 61%). A majority of respondents, irrespective of income, voice this willingness to pay more for food (ranging from 61% of lower-income respondents to 72% of higher-income respondents).

Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products would be another efficient way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Just under half of Austrians (48%) would be in favour of limiting the amount of meat and dairy products that people can buy to fight climate change (a similar share to Germans, with 49%).

While there is only a slight gap across income groups, with those on higher incomes generally in favour (54%) and those on lower incomes less so (49%), there is a clear generation gap, with 56% of people under 30 in favour of capping individual consumption of meat and dairy products, as opposed to only 37% of those over 65.

In the words of EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, “The outcome of the EIB Climate Survey shows that Austrians are more than willing to help fight climate change at the individual level. As the EU climate bank, we welcome this commitment. It is our role to enable people to take action against the climate crisis. We do this by financing green services such as sustainable transport, renewable energy and energy-efficient buildings. In 2022, we supported green projects in Austria with €377 million. We will continue to support projects and initiatives that accelerate the green transition and are looking for innovative ways to contribute to a prosperous future that leaves no one behind.”

Background information

About the EIB Climate Survey

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has now performed the fifth annual EIB Climate Survey, a thorough assessment of how people feel about climate change. Conducted in partnership with the market research firm BVA, the fifth edition of the EIB Climate Survey aims to inform the broader debate on attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action. More than 28 000 respondents participated in the survey in August 2022, with a representative panel of people aged 15 and above for each of the 30 countries polled.

About the European Investment Bank

The EIB Group has adopted a Climate Bank Roadmap to deliver on its ambitious agenda to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030, and to deliver more than 50% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. As part of the roadmap, all new EIB Group operations have been aligned with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement since the start of 2021.

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world

About BVA

BVA is an opinion research and consulting firm recognised as one of the most innovative market research firms in its sector. Specialised in behavioural marketing, BVA combines data science and social science to make data inspiring and bring it to life. BVA is also a member of the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WIN), a global network of some of the world’s leading market research and survey players, with over 40 members.