We know we must do better by the planet, but when will we start? As Aotearoa’s awareness of climate change and its impact increases, Stuff’s latest NowNext survey asked Kiwis how that knowledge is influencing decisions in their everyday lives. The findings shine a light on how important sustainability really is to Kiwis.

Almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) believe we need to act immediately to address the threat of climate change, but when it comes to taking action at an individual level, not all are making changes to lifestyle, home, or how they live. Only 57% intend to make at least one major change in their home, car or commute.

NowNext is a powerful tool to deeply understand how New Zealanders think. The current survey attracted more than 10,000 Kiwis across New Zealand, demonstrating the reach and engagement of Stuff’s platform. It included questions on housing, retirement, food, shopping, politics, employment and travel. Respondents shared their concerns about climate change, and the actions they’re making in their daily lives to address its impacts.

What it uncovered was that almost as many respondents (43%) see climate change as the biggest threat to society as Covid-19, social inequality and housing affordability combined (46%). And more than half believe New Zealand is not doing enough.

Stuff climate editor Eloise Gibson said while it’s good to see Kiwis taking the threat of climate change seriously, it’s taking action that’s key – and letting businesses, investment managers and elected leaders know people expect action from them, too. “Personal action alone can’t solve the climate crisis, but it can help make lower-carbon living feel normal and let politicians and companies know they have people’s support to do more, and faster.”

Housing-wise, 54% of respondents said they will consider the climate when making their next house move. Residents in Tasman, Nelson and Wellington are the most likely to take climate change into account when looking for a new abode.

Food shopping is an easy win, with 61% happy to fill their trolleys with the climate in mind. Women scored higher for environmental consideration at the grocery store at 71%, vs 51% of men. And nearly half of Kiwis (46%) consider climate and environmental impacts when booking travel.

Almost half (46%) are also prepared to walk the talk with their savings, choosing a Kiwisaver provider based on their environmental policies and approach. Ethical investing was higher for younger respondents – 57% aged 18-44 years confirmed they’d factor environmental issues in their Kiwisaver plans.

Stuff chief revenue officer, Andy Symons, said the survey provides invaluable insights for businesses and brands wishing to capture the market share. “As the survey has confirmed, Kiwis will increasingly choose products and services based on climate change considerations. Kiwis are telling us that now is the time to consider the impact we’re all having – and to take action.”

The survey ran across three weeks in October and was sponsored by Pathfinder Asset Management and Hawke’s Bay Tourism. Learn more here.