>@Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images
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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.

  • 70% of Belgians aged 20-29 say the climate impact of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting, and 24% say it is even a top priority.
  • 72% of Belgians are in favour of labelling all food to help limit the impact on climate and the environment.
  • 62% of all Belgian respondents say they are convinced that their own behaviour can make a difference in addressing the climate emergency.

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 in Belgium. However, climate change and environmental degradation remain among the top three biggest challenges, together with the increased cost of living and the financial crisis, according to most Belgians respondents. Most Belgians (62%) are convinced that their own behaviour can make a difference in addressing the climate emergency (although less so than people in Germany (75%), the Netherlands (69%) and France (63%)).

More women (65%) than men (58%) are convinced that their individual behaviour can have an impact.

For many, the government has a role to play in encouraging individual behavioural change. A majority of Belgians (59%) are in favour of stricter government measures imposing a change in people’s behaviour to tackle climate change (65% of respondents under 30 would welcome such measures).  

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Jobseeker priorities

A growing number of people entering the workforce each year are looking at employers’ climate credentials when job hunting. Most Belgians (52%) say it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability (10 percentage points below the EU average of 62% but close to the rate in the Netherlands (55%) and France (48%)). For 13% of Belgian respondents, it is even a priority (vs. the 16% EU average).

Of people aged 20 to 29 — typically those looking for their first job — more than two-thirds (70%) say that sustainability is an important factor in their choice of employer (6 percentage points below the EU average of 76% but close to the rate in the Netherlands (69%) and France (67%)), and 24% say it is even a top priority (2 percentage points above the EU average of 22%, close to the rate in France (23%) but well above the Netherlands (13%)).

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

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, 72% of Belgians are in favour of labelling all food products with their climate footprint. This is more than the rate in the Netherlands (67%) but less than in Germany (80%) and France (83%).

However, less than half (49%) of Belgians say they would be willing to pay slightly more for food that is produced locally and more sustainably (a similar level to Dutch people, with 52%, but 11 percentage points less than French people, with 60%).

Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products would be another efficient way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. However, just under half of Belgians (48%) would be in favour of limiting the amount of meat and dairy products that people can buy to fight climate change (9 percentage points less than French people, with 57%, but on a similar level to Dutch people, with 45%).

In the words of EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters, “The outcome of the EIB Climate Survey shows that Belgians are willing to help fight climate change at the individual level and are attentive to the impact of their jobs and prospective employers. 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 investment in energy-efficient buildings. In 2022, we contributed to green projects in Belgium with €1.59 billion, creating many meaningful jobs for young people. We will continue to stand alongside companies 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 European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. 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.