Green Britain

By February 27, 2018

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Part of our mission is to help you travel the world, but more importantly to travel the world and have an as little impact on the environment as possible.

As the dominant species on planet earth, we are responsible for climate change at a rate never seen before and it’s really only us which can impact reduce the impact.

We are looking at “Green Britain” and reveal thanks to a Hitwise report and some other third party data, what people are searching for when it comes to a “greener lifestyle”. The data in this report only relates to UK searches.

 

UK Greenest regions:

 

Frist of all let’s define a green person, in terms of the data.

 

  • Would buy fair trade products when available
  • Think it’s worth paying more for organic food
  • Would be prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly products
  • Would be prepared to make lifestyle compromises to benefit the environment
  • Would buy products from a company whose ethics they agree with
  • Are prepared to pay more for foods that don’t contain artificial additives

 

To make a difference and be more environmentally friendly you don’t need to do all of the above, even just making one small chance like buying products from companies who ethics you agree with can make a difference.

 

So the results, which region in the UK is the greenest.

 

Wales followed by the South West of the UK are the “greenest”.

 

A map of Britains Greenest regionsA list of Britains Greenest regions

What’s really interested in that Northern Ireland is the least green in the region but that London is the second least green region in the entire UK.

The Media:

 

The media has quite a bit of an impact on how people are informed about the impact the environment.

The Blue Planet 2 series was not just the UK most-watched TV show of 2017 but was the most watch programme of the last 5 years. An amazing 14.1 million people tuned into the first episode.

 

Search term "Blue Planet 2"  over time

 

The effort it had:

Measuring the impact can be quite difficult, we are going to look at some of the changes which happened online comparing the data from 4 weeks before the first episode to 4 weeks after, but this is just online – the show will have had a greater impact on sparking conversation offline and changing people’s habits, but this is more difficult to measure.

 

Searches for the term “Blue Planet” increased by over 200% but you would expect this with more people watching the show and looking for reruns on IPlayer and online.

 

One of the key messages from the series was the impact we are having on the oceans with plastic waste being dumped into the seas. Plastic Oceans Foundation saw a 35% increase to their website; however, it was the marine conservation society which saw the biggest increase with a rise of 169% in website visits.

 

In fact, the number of people searching around the topic of plastic in our oceans doubled in the time period – the programme really did touch a nerve with the audience and wanted to make people change.

 

Most engaged places:

There were two towns which were more engaged than most.

Cambridge was 91% more engaged than before the series and 110% more likely that the standard online population, but the big difference was Blackpool.

 

They were 180% more likely than before and 160% more likely that than standard online population to search for “oceans” – I guess the town does rely upon the ocean for attracting thousands of tourists every year, so it needs a clean ocean to keep the town thriving.

 

One of the interesting stats to come of the research was that after the conclusion of the show searches for “plastic recycling” rose by 55% as more people looked to do their part.

 

Luke Upchurch, who is WWF’s Head of Communications and Digital said “The results for us were impressive… some of the best social media engagement figures we’ve ever seen and a significant increase in new WWF members during and after each episode.

 

We saw Blue Planet 2 as a fantastic opportunity to engage the public on conservation issues.

 

For us, this is yet further evidence that the UK public care immensely about our planet and when presented with easy and inspiring ways in which they can help are very keen to play their part in protecting our oceans.”

 

Blue Planet 2 wasn’t the only media event which saw a spike in engagement. The below tweet from Donald Trumps saw a huge jump in searches for “Trump” and “climate changes” in the two weeks which followed. In fact, the numbers increased by 1976%, so whether you like the guy or not at least he gets people engaged and doing their own research.

 

Again after he pulled the US out of the Paris agreement this drove people to search for terms around it. While this policy shift had the ability to impact the environment on a large scale and still does, it was very interesting to see certain states and cities ignore him and say they will carry on with the agreement, this is partial because some of these cities rely on “eco-tourism” and partly because it’s the right thing to do.

 

With the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement can never be seen as a good move, the drive-in searches both here in the UK and worldwide has increased so more people are now aware.

 

Google trends data showing spike in Paris Agreement after Trump pulled out

 

Food and Drink:

 

We covered this in our guide to green travelling, food and drink can play a huge role in damaging the environment, where possible always try to eat locally sourced food. Firstly its great for the environment as its not transported far and secondly it allows you to try new food and tastes. If you’re travelling halfway around the world just to eat the same food as at home, it seems a wasted journey.

 

As well as the impact on the environment consumers are also more interested now in the impact the food will have on their body which has meant the food and drink industry has experienced a huge shift in recent years.

 

One of the huge shifts has been to Veganism, personally speaking, I would never go Vegan, so long as animals are killed in a humane way I am more than happy to eat them, they offer us great source vitamins and irons. However, the number of people visiting the Vegan Society website has risen by 30% in the first two weeks of 2018 compared to last year.

 

Dominika Piasecka from The Vegan Society said “New research from Hitwise proves just how much veganism has grown, particularly in the recent years as shown by the impressive figures.

 

The image of veganism is undergoing the most radical change in its history; people now closely associate it with health, fitness and well-being”

 

While I started this section off by saying I could never go Vegan, since Jan 2017 I have tried a most week to have at least 1 meat free day and another day where I have fish. It’s not always been possible, but I have made the efforts for health reasons.

 

The top questions people are asking around Veganism in the UK compared to the US is quite interesting, rather than try and explain in this article we have created a top Vegan questions articles which covers them all.

 

With the increase in Veganism, there has been an increase in meat alternatives.

 

A spokesperson for Quorn said “We’ve been monitoring and anticipating this accelerated rise of veganism for some time and have been working hard to ensure our expanding Vegan range is meeting the taste criteria of this fast-growing audience”

 

They went onto say “With our Vegan Range now certified by the Vegan Society, we are truly passionate about our offering – whether people are making the switch for health or environment reasons.”

 

It’s not just Quorn which has seen a change in customers, the global coffee chain Starbucks is having to change it menu to meet its customer’s requirements.

 

Alex Whittle a Senior Manager, Food Product Innovation said for the Seattle based business

 

“The most important thing for us is to create new food and drink options that we know taste great and offer those looking for vegan options a variety of choices”.

 

Alex went on to say, “For us, that means we’ve been working on a range of really delicious vegan choices, including a brand new Jackfruit and Slaw wrap and a new oat drink dairy alternative that we introduced at the start of this year”.

 

It’s not just these companies which are changing – the UK restaurants and takeaways are having to evolve with new demands.

 

Even traditional meat restaurants like Nando’s is evolving its menu to meet these new customer requirements but is also see the benefits too.

 

Image showing change in consumer behaviour around environmental and green shopping

 

Home

 

This is the biggest impact most people can have on the environment and it only needs to be a small change which adds up to make a significant impact. More people than ever before are now recycling at home, while most councils offer recycling options, there has been an increase in searches for recycling as well as energy consumption.

 

There has been a significant shift in people searching for “smart meter” year on year, but this will partially be driven by the radio campaign offering you a free smart meter.

 

Part of the reason for the increase searches will be people attitudes changing, but it will be also driven by demand as more and more eco-friendly products are released on the market.

 

TOP 5 WEBSITES RECEIVING TRAFFIC FROM SMART METER SEARCHES

 

 

Transport

 

As we become “greener” in our homes and what we eat, there is also a change in how we commute and travel, we covered in our green travelling guide that travelling on land is a lot less damaging to the environment compared to flying but there has been a significant shift in the mode of land vehicles people are choosing to become greener.

 

There has been a rise in Electric cars, and this is partially driven by the great Elon Musk – he has made huge strides in making electric cars performance making them a lot more useful.

 

In the last week of July 2017 compared to the first, there was an increase of 345% of searches for “Tesla Model 3” with 18-24-year-olds leading the charge. It’s not just Tesla which seeing an increase, both the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf saw online searches for their terms increase by over 100%.

 

Jeremey Clarkson of The Grand Tour is famous on Top Gear for slating the original Tesla car and being sued by Musk – but when he reviewed the latest car in the latest series it saw a spike in searches not just here in the UK but Globally – but the Grand Tour is a globe programme.

 

Auto Express the motoring site, saw a 162% increase in “best electric cars” articles and us Britons are asking search engines “what electric cars are available in the UK?”.

 

While environmental impact is helping drive this change, there are other factors which are driving the demand, no congestion charge in London, the government announcing no new diesel cars by 2040 (a target we think is too far off and should be 2030, but that’s for a different debate). That announcement alone drove an increase of 346% in searches for “electric cars”.

 

It wasn’t just in searches, but in the 11 months to November 2017 – the sale of diesel cars had fallen 16% YoY (source SMMT 2017) so consumers are really making a switch.

 

There is so much you can do to help improve the environment whether that’s at home, whilst travelling or just the way you commute to work, all it takes is small steps by everyone and it can make a difference.

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