According to the European Investment Bank's (EIB) annual Climate Survey, 83% of Cypriots under 30 consider the environmental impact of their future job to be a significant factor in their career choice, while 25% consider it a top priority.
According to the findings of the latest EIB Climate Survey, conducted in August 2022 and published on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, roughly three-quarters (71%) of respondents believe their actions can make a significant contribution to addressing a climate emergency. According to a press release analyzing the EIB survey, the war in Ukraine and its consequences, such as rising energy prices and inflation, have sharply increased concerns about the country's purchasing power. Climate change, on the other hand, remains one of the three most important challenges for the country according to respondents.
72% support stricter state measures to force people to change their behavior (79% of Cypriots under 30), while 60% of Cypriots say they would pay more for environmentally friendly food.
Women (80%) and young people under 30 (78%) polled in the survey believe that their individual behavior has more of an impact on the current situation than men (62%) and respondents aged 30 and up (69%). As highlighted in the analysis, the state has the potential to influence individual behavior change for many. A majority of Cypriots (72%) support more robust state measures to force people to change their behavior in response to climate change (79% of respondents under 30 would welcome such actions).
According to the survey, the climate factor is playing an increasingly important role in choosing an employer. The largest share of the population (77%) says that it is important that a prospective employer prioritizes sustainability. For 20% of candidates, this is a top priority. Among Cypriots under 30 - the age group usually includes first and second-time job seekers - more than three quarters (83%) say that sustainability is an essential factor in their choice, with 25% saying that this is a top priority.
In favor of a carbon budget
As highlighted in the survey, most of the Cypriot respondents (62%) say they are in favor of introducing a carbon budgeting system, which would allocate annually a certain number of carbon credits to be used for products or services with a high carbon footprint (non-essential products, flights, meat, etc.). Italian respondents share this view to the same extent (62%) compared to 57% of Greek and Maltese respondents who say they would welcome the introduction of such a system. Based on the analysis accompanying the survey, the majority of Cypriots are in favor of this measure regardless of income (62% of low-income respondents, 62% of middle-income respondents and 64% of high-income respondents).
Labeling and pricing
As the analysis accompanying the research states, food production is responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to be able to choose more sustainable products when shopping, 85% of Cypriots are in favor of labeling all food products to identify their climate footprint. This is similar to the percentage in Greece (82%), but 8 percentage points higher than the percentage in Croatia (77%).
In addition, the survey highlights that 60% of Cypriots say they would be willing to pay more for food items produced locally and using more sustainable methods (similar to 59% of Greeks, but 9 percentage points lower than 69% of Croatians). All income groups are willing to pay more for such food items.
It goes on to say that reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products is another cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Well over half of Cypriots (58%) are in favor of limiting the amount of meat and dairy products that consumers can buy (slightly higher than 54% of Greeks, but 9 percentage points higher than 49% of Croats).
"Although this figure represents all income groups, there is a clear intergenerational gap as limiting individual consumption of meat and dairy products is supported by 62% of respondents aged 30 and over, but only 47% of respondents aged under 30," the survey comments.
They want to fight
According to a statement by Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice-President, accompanying the analysis of the survey, "The result of the EIB Climate Survey proves that Cypriots are more than willing to contribute to the fight against climate change at an individual level. As the EU's climate bank, we are delighted by this commitment. Our role is to encourage citizen mobilization to fight the climate crisis. To this end, we finance green services, such as sustainable transport, renewable energy and energy efficiency in buildings. In 2022, we signed a €150 million urban regeneration project, which aspires to help Cypriot municipalities become greener, stimulate the economy and improve the lives of citizens. This financing represented 60% of all EIB financing activities in Cyprus last year and is accompanied by the provision of important EIB-sponsored technical advisory services that will facilitate implementation and help identify other green investment opportunities in the future. Through both our financing and advisory services, we will continue to support projects and initiatives that accelerate the green transition and seek innovative ways to ensure a prosperous future for all."
[This article was first published in the printed edition of 'Oikonomiki' and was translated from its Greek original]