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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.

  • 83% of Spaniards aged 20-29 say the sustainability strategy of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting (32% even say it is a top priority).
  • 59% of Spanish respondents would be in favour of a carbon budget system to set a cap on the most climate-damaging consumption (73% of people under 30).
  • 66% of Spaniards say they would pay more for climate-friendly food.
  • 84% of Spanish respondents are in favour of labelling all food to help limit the impact on climate and the environment.
  • 74% are in favour of stricter government measures to impose a change in personal behaviour (79% 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 in Spain. However, climate change remains the third biggest challenge for the country after economic and employment concerns, according to Spanish respondents. Over three-quarters of respondents (80%, or 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. Most Spaniards (74%) are in favour of stricter government measures imposing a change in people’s behaviour to tackle climate change (79% of respondents under 30 would welcome such measures).

>@Graphic workshop/EIB

Capping individual consumption

A majority of Spanish respondents (59%) 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 French people share this opinion (57%), whereas a higher percentage of Portuguese and Italian respondents would be in favour (over 68% and 64%, respectively).

It is noteworthy that a majority of Spaniards favour this measure regardless of income (65% of lower-income, 60% of middle-income, and 57% of higher-income respondents). Age is a determining factor though: many more respondents under 30 (73%) would be in favour of introducing a carbon budget system than their elders, with only 56% of respondents over 65 supporting such a measure.

>@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 Spanish respondents (74%) say it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability. For 21%, 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 job — more than three-quarters (83%) say that sustainability is an important factor in their choice of employer, and 32% say it is a top priority.

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, 84% of Spaniards are in favour of labelling all food products with their climate footprint. This is similar to the rate in France (83%), but 6 percentage points below the rate in Portugal (90%).

In addition, 66% of Spaniards say they would be willing to pay slightly more for food that is produced locally and more sustainably (a similar share to Portuguese people, with 67%, but 6 percentage points more than French people, with 60%). This willingness to pay more for food spans all age groups (71% of lower-income, 62% of middle-income and 66% of higher-income respondents).

Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products would be another efficient way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Spaniards are split on this issue, with 50% in favour of limiting the amount of meat and dairy products that people can buy (7 percentage points less than Portuguese and French people, with 57% in favour in both countries).

This figure varies considerably by income, with 57% of lower-income respondents in favour, compared to only 47% of higher-income respondents. There is also a clear generational gap, with 66% of people under 30 in favour of capping individual consumption of meat and dairy products, as opposed to only 41% of those over 65.

In the words of EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, “The outcome of the EIB Climate Survey shows that Spaniards are more than willing to help fight climate change. As the EU climate bank, we welcome this commitment, an involvement that is even more evident among young Spaniards entering the labour market —the young people who will lead our society in the future with their talent and determination. At the EIB we enable people to take action against the climate crisis, and we do this by financing green services such as sustainable transport, the circular economy, renewable energy and energy-efficient buildings. In 2022, Spain was among the top three countries in the European Union in terms of the volume of EIB financing received. 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.