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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.

  • 84% of Latvians aged 20-29 say the climate impact of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting, and 35% say it is even a top priority.
  • 74% of Latvian respondents in their 20s believe personal behaviour can make a difference in tackling the climate emergency, vs. 42% of those over 30.
  • Over half of Latvians in their 20s (53%) would be in favour of a carbon budget system limiting non-essential consumption, vs. 43% of those over 30.
  • 61% of all Latvians say they are in favour of labelling food products to better inform consumers about their environmental impact.

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 Latvia. Economic and financial issues (financial crisis, increased cost of living and unemployment) are now a major challenge for the country, according to 90% of Latvians (up 20 percentage points from the previous year).  

Nevertheless, most Latvians in their 20s (74%) say they are convinced that their individual behaviour can make a difference in tackling climate change. Survey participants over 30 are much more divided, with only 42% saying they believe they can have a positive impact.

The majority of Latvians also feel their government has a role to play in encouraging individual behaviour to change. 58% of Latvians say they are in favour of stricter government measures imposing changes on people’s behaviour to tackle the climate emergency.

>@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 Latvian respondents (72%) 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. Of people aged 20 to 29 — typically those looking for their first or second job — most (84%) say that sustainability is an important factor in their choice of employer, and 35% say it is a top priority.

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Capping individual consumption

A slim majority of Latvians in their 20s (53%, compared to the 62% average for Europeans in the same age group) say they would be in favour of a carbon budget system that would allocate each individual a fixed number of yearly credits to spend on items with a big carbon footprint (non-essential goods, flights, meat, etc.) to reduce the impact of consumption on climate. At the same time, only a minority of Latvians over 30 (43%) would welcome 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, 61% of Latvians are in favour of labelling all food products with their climate footprint (18 percentage points below the EU average of 79%).

Only a minority of Latvians (47%) say they would agree to pay slightly more for food that is produced locally and more sustainably. This is a stark contrast with European respondents as a whole, of which 62% say they are willing to pay more.

Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products is another efficient way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. However, less than a third of Latvians (32%) would be in favour of limiting the amount of meat and dairy products individuals can buy, versus more than half of Europeans (51%, 19 percentage points above Latvia).

EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros remarked, “The outcome of the EIB Climate Survey shows that, despite a fierce economic and geopolitical context, many Latvians — especially the younger generation — are 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 or energy-efficient buildings. In 2022, we supported green projects in Latvia with €103 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 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.