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Generation G - are over-55s the greenest of us all?

Over-55s are leading the way when it comes to green living, a new study reveals today.

Research from Aviva finds that UK people aged 55+ are more likely to recycle their waste (84%), avoid single-use-plastic (66%) and buy only seasonal fruit and vegetables (47%), compared to UK adults in any other age group.

A survey of c.4,000 UK adults found that when asked about climate-conscious actions, in almost every category, over-55s were most likely to be taking steps already.

Their behaviours also include shopping at local stores (63%) using LED light bulbs (88%) and growing their own vegetables (37%).

One notable exception relates to people adopting a vegan diet. Over-55s are least likely to be vegan, at just 2% of this age group, while 9% of under-25s say they eat a purely plant-based diet.

Activity to reduce environmental impact

16-24 years

25-34 years

35-44 years

45-54 years

55+ years

All age groups

Recycling through local bin collections

54%

66%

71%

79%

84%

73%

Giving unwanted items to charity shops

55%

57%

64%

74%

76%

67%

Avoiding single-use plastic items

55%

54%

58%

66%

66%

61%

Turning down the thermostat at home

44%

49%

59%

67%

68%

59%

Buying second-hand items / up-cycling

38%

40%

43%

42%

37%

40%

Using energy-saving LED light bulbs

59%

72%

78%

85%

88%

78%

Eating only seasonal fruit and vegetables

33%

35%

43%

42%

47%

40%

Reducing car usage

26%

31%

33%

36%

38%

34%

Planting trees / growing own vegetables

23%

25%

28%

32%

37%

30%

Reducing meat eaten in household

31%

28%

33%

32%

34%

32%

Buying from local suppliers

41%

45%

52%

57%

63%

54%

Reducing plane travel

21%

18%

20%

22%

24%

22%

Becoming vegan

9%

8%

6%

3%

2%

5%

Environmental consciousness is also influencing which brands UK adults choose, with two thirds (68%) more likely to pick brands with sustainable or climate-aware credentials.

Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Sustainability for Aviva says: “Green living and climate-conscious behaviours are often seen as the domain of the young, but this research suggests that older people are quietly leading the charge and taking steps to care for the planet.

“Whether we’re reducing plastic, growing our own food or reducing how often we travel - or even what we purchase or how we invest our money - we can all take small steps which can add up to a big difference.”

Aviva is also taking actions to make its own contribution to tackling climate change:

  • For Aviva home contents claims, all white goods replacements are A or AA energy efficient and boilers are AA or A grade.
  • The insurer offers a paperless option for customers on sales and renewals documents.
  • Solar panels are covered as standard in Aviva buildings policies.
  • Aviva was the first financial services company to become carbon-neutral in 2006.

-ENDS-

Media enquiries:

Sarah Poulter

Group External Communications

Notes to editors:

  • Aviva is a leading international savings, retirement and insurance business. We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’.
  • Our vision is to earn our customers’ trust as the best place to save for the future, navigate retirement and insure what matters most to them. In 2019, we paid £33.2 billion in claims and benefits on behalf of our 33.4 million customers.
  • We operate through five business divisions: Investments, Savings & Retirement; UK Life; General Insurance; Europe Life; and Asia Life; and focus on three strategic priorities: deliver great customer outcomes, excel at the fundamentals and invest in sustainable growth.
  • Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £510 billion and our Solvency II capital surplus is £12.6 billion (FY19). Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
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