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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.

  • 81% of Italians in their 20s say the climate impact of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting, and 25% say it is even a top priority.
  • 85% of Italian respondents are in favour of labelling all food to help limit the impact on climate and the environment.
  • 64% say they would pay more for climate-friendly food.
  • 64% would be in favour of a carbon budget system to set a cap on the most climate-damaging consumption.

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 remains one of the biggest challenges for Italy (56% of Italians rank climate or environmental degradation among the top three major challenges for the country). Over three-quarters of Italian respondents (80%, 8 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. Three-quarters of Italians (76%) are in favour of stricter government measures imposing a change in people’s behaviour to tackle climate change (82% 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 Italian respondents (75%) say it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability. For 25%, it is even a top priority. This majority holds across the political spectrum and at all income levels.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Capping individual consumption

Nearly two-thirds of Italian respondents (64%) 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.). This opinion is shared by a majority of French and German participants (57% and 56%, respectively).

It is noteworthy that most Italians favour this measure regardless of income (70% of lower-income, 63% of middle-income, and over 63% of higher-income respondents).

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, 85% of Italians are in favour of labelling all food products with their climate footprint. This is close to the rate in France (83%), but 5 percentage points above the rate in Germany (80%).

In addition, 64% of Italians say they would be willing to pay slightly more for food that is produced locally and more sustainably (a similar level to French and German respondents, with 60% and 61%, respectively). This willingness to pay more for food spans all income groups (ranging from 62% of lower-income to 68% of higher-income respondents).

Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products would be another efficient way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Over two-thirds of Italians (68%) would be in favour of limiting the amount of meat and dairy products that people can buy (19 percentage points more than Germans, with 49%, and 11 percentage points more than French people, with 57%). This response spans all income groups and ages.

In the words of EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti, “The outcome of the EIB Climate Survey shows that Italians are more than willing to help in the fight against 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 to reduce CO2 emissions and encourage a more sustainable day-to-day life. We do this by financing green services such as sustainable transport, renewable energy and energy-efficient buildings as well as by promoting green investments by small businesses. In 2022, we supported green projects in Italy with nearly €5.5 billion. We will continue to support 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 new specialised arm devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnerships 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 around 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.