Emerging Eco-Warriors: 22% of Germans Take Charge of their Carbon Footprint

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Approximately one-fifth, or 22 per cent, of individuals in Germany are aware of their personal carbon footprint.

It seems the younger demographics are showing more interest in this topic than older generations, according to an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of the technical inspection association TÜV.

The survey found that those residing in urban areas and individuals with higher educational qualifications, at 27 per cent each, are more likely to know their carbon footprint compared to the national average.

Among age groups, those between 30 and 39 years of age are the most engaged, with 35 per cent of them concerned about their personal carbon footprint, while only 13 per cent of people aged 60 and older are similarly engaged.

Juliane Petrich, the policy and sustainability officer at TÜV, emphasised the potential for everyone to make a small contribution to environmental and climate protection through individual lifestyle and consumption choices.

“Knowing one’s personal carbon footprint is a crucial step toward reducing it, but barriers such as higher prices for eco-friendly products and a lack of information often hinder sustainable consumption.”

The term “carbon footprint” has previously been associated with promotions by major oil companies.

Critics argue that this can be seen as an attempt to shift blame and responsibility from large corporations to individuals.

While personal behaviour changes are significant in the fight against climate change, it’s essential to acknowledge that companies and governments have more substantial roles to play.

A personal carbon footprint indicates the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for which an individual is accountable due to their lifestyle and consumption decisions.

Germany’s Environment Ministry (BMUV) reports an annual average carbon footprint of 10.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per capita in the country.

Surveys have shown that a majority of Germans believe in taking individual responsibility for climate change, with 56 per cent expressing this view in a 2021 Eurobarometer survey.

Furthermore, 56 per cent of respondents in the 2023 TÜV Sustainability Study indicated that they had adjusted their consumption and mobility behaviours in response to climate change. Examples of these changes include reduced meat consumption and increased consideration of the environmental impact of dietary choices.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.