Deloitte finds less energy consumption is key for consumers

Consumers are prioritising cutting energy consumption over investing in longer-term energy efficiency solutions including solar panelling, finds Deloitte

Consumers are cutting back on energy consumption, Deloitte, a top 10 energy consulting firm, has found in its recent research. This is the fourth year that the consultancy has conducted the survey into consumer attitudes to sustainability and sustainable behaviours, gaining insight from more than 2,000 UK adults in July 2023. 

The report headlines that many consumers are cutting back on energy use rather than converting to long term renewable energy options, opting for short term sustainability and financial benefits over long term sustainable energy. 

Understanding consumers’ attitudes to sustainability and how to influence change is important, as consumer spending accounts for over a quarter of all UK emissions and is the single largest contributor to total UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the past four years of research, Deloitte has found that consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious

However, given inflationary pressures, the increasing adoption of sustainable lifestyles may be more about saving money than saving the planet. This year, more consumers are adopting sustainable lifestyles by choosing goods that are more durable or that can be reused or repaired easily. With economic uncertainty continuing, the question is: how much of this behavioural change will become permanent?


Short term energy reduction or long term energy transition?

Deloitte finds that 23% of consumers have made the switch to what they believe is a renewable energy supplier in the past 12 months. While most consumers have tried to lower their energy consumption by cutting things like heating (81%) and washing clothes at a lower temperature (74%), a third or less have invested in longer term energy-saving solutions such as home insulation (25%), solar panels, energy-efficient appliances (36%) or double glazing (31%).  

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the majority of consumers intend to continue to reduce their energy consumption wherever possible, but just over one in ten plan to install solar panels or replace their boiler with a heat pump. 

In response to this research, Deloitte has some advice for businesses looking to act reactively to consumer habits and shape the contents of next year’s report: 

  • Lead with transparency to allow consumers to make educated decisions. 
  • Think sustainability first to create value and cut costs, demonstrating the value creation of strong ESG initiatives.
  • Bring circularity into the value chain to achieve strategic and commercial objectives.
  • Transform while building risk resilience.
  • Navigate and influence the wider system-level change.
  • Get ahead of regulatory change — this can provide the opportunity to mobilise for change and offer early inception advantages.
  • Empower your finance function by embedding sustainability into processes. 


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