How do Danish consumers see, understand and act upon sustainability issues and challenges?


These are the broad questions Epinion investigate in collaboration with the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies (CIFS). The main challenge is to obtain a deep and broad understanding of consumers’ perspectives of sustainability. These insights can for instance be used in policy discussions on the possibilities of establishing an incentive structure that makes sustainable goods and services cheaper than they are today or to provide guidance to consumer goods producers in implementing clear labelling of their products' sustainability profile.


Epinion and CIFS is conducting a cross-methodical study on the perspective and experience of the ordinary Dane with sustainability. As a first step, Epinion ran a mobile ethnographic survey where Danish consumers shared their view on sustainability in their everyday lives. The study consisted of eight thematic topics such as food and shopping, transport, energy, holidays and travel etc. Alongside, we have set out specific scenarios where consumers had to deal with what this might mean for Danish consumers if Denmark is to achieve the reduction target of a 70% CO2 reduction by 2030. An example of a scenario could be that taxes are raised on meat, with a pack of minced beef rising from DKK 30 to DKK 39. At the same time, the authorities encourage eating meat only once a week. These insights from the mobile ethnographic survey will be followed up by a broad survey among Danish consumers quantifying the findings and providing broader insights into the sustainability area.


For most Danes, sustainability is associated with climate and the environment, which is reflected in the choices made in everyday life. Sustainability is reflected in transport, food, use of plastic and waste sorting. These areas are also characterized by the fact that they are activities that consumers meet every day. Especially young consumers make focused, sustainable choices in their everyday life and often refrain from purchases and actions lacking an aspect of sustainability. However, sustainable choices must feel meaningful both at the society level and on a personal level. Sustainability is therefore rarely the primary driver for the choices made, whereas factors such as price often come first. Overall, Danes are looking for knowledge and guidance for a more sustainable lifestyle and feel the responsibility for a more sustainable world lies both with themselves, with companies, and especially with politicians. Because of this, there is a broad acceptance of taxes as a behavioral regulatory tool towards a sustainable transition in combination with subsidy schemes, offers of alternatives and the development of technologies.