Climate Change Is Impacting the Consumption Choices of Every Second Person

The ongoing debate on climate change is having a major impact on consumption habits in Sweden. But it is affecting women and men differently. The shifts in consumption are most pronounced among city-dwellers, young people and women. The figure for women is 66%, while for men it is 46%.

Yet although awareness of the climate crisis is growing, six out of ten women are still purchasing products that they don’t have room for. This is one of the findings of a survey conducted by Elfa.

Climate change awareness has altered women’s consumption habits the most

Many Swedes (56%) say they are modifying their consumption habits as a result of the debate on climate change. It has generally led to a reduction in purchasing, unused items being sold or donated to a greater extent, and a surge in recycling among the public.

This is according to a survey commissioned by Elfa and conducted by Yougov. The survey found that it is predominantly women who have changed their consumption behaviour. Two out of three women (66%) responded that the climate change debate is shaping their consumption habits. Just under half the men (46%) who were interviewed said that this is the case.

There are also far more (67%) people in the youngest age group, 1829 years, who say that their consumption habits are influenced by climate change than in the 5059 age group, where the figure is 50%. An overwhelming majority of students and urban residents also answered that the climate change debate has affected their consumption choices, with the figures being 73% and 62% respectively.

‘We can see that the debate on climate change is having an increasing effect on women’s consumption habits, but men are still better at using the space in their wardrobe and not buying items that they don’t have room for. We need to inspire one another in order to make a real difference,’ says Christine Dalman, Storage Expert at Elfa.

Not practising what we preach

Although many of us claim that the climate crisis debate is having an influence on how we consume, the survey also reveals that many Swedes are over-consuming. Almost half (48%) the men and more than half (58%) the women say they have bought products for which they don’t have storage space. One in three people says they only use half of their clothes and shoes on a regular basis.

Four out of ten people send clothing and footwear that they don’t use to recycling centres in order to make room for new items. Nearly one in four people (24%) throw the items away, while one in five people (21%) sell the things they don’t use. Young adults and families with children are among those who are best at recycling clothing and footwear, while pensioners and the elderly without both work and children were found to recycle the least.

Fashion expert Nina Campioni, who is a member of Elfa’s think tank ‘Studio Elfa’, shares her thoughts on our new consumption patterns.

‘Paradoxically, we are spending more than ever on Black Friday, but the interest in sustainability is growing noticeably. This is something I’m seeing both as a consumer and from the perspective of the fashion industry. It is an incredibly exciting and crucial time for the paradigm shift and the massive changes that need to occur.’