sustainable living canada

Most Canadians think you can't live sustainably unless you're rich

With the ever-growing threat of climate change and global warming, many Canadians have asked themselves what actions they can adopt for sustainable living to help reduce their ecological footprint and environmental impact. 

However, a new survey reveals that most Canadians think this lifestyle is reserved explicitly for — or only accessible to — the richest in society. 

ESG reporting software company Onyen conducted the survey, which asked Canadian investors and consumers several questions about sustainable living. 

The survey aimed to discover their personal commitments to everything from workforce diversity to ethical supply chains and their obligations to the communities in which they operate. 

In total, Onyen asked 1,506 Canadians questions related to their intentions as consumers, and investors about companies' labour, diversity, and environmental factors. 

The survey found that four-in-five Canadians feel sustainable living is much easier for wealthy people. According to findings, young adults between the ages of 18-34 believe this with a much greater frequency (83 per cent) than adults aged 55-plus (75 per cent). 

"The onus of sustainability has often been placed on consumers, but that has changed," said Laurie Clark, founder and CEO of Onyen. "As companies seek greater access to capital, and now $175 Trillion dollars in financial assets targeting Net Zero, they will need to consider their ESG strategies and reporting to ensure their ongoing viability."

Another key takeaway was that three-quarters of those surveyed — or 76 per cent — expressed concern about the environmental risks of transporting hazardous materials

However, when taking a closer look at the numbers, only 31 per cent of respondents felt strongly about this category. 

"In my view, while many people want manufacturing jobs in their communities, they often don’t want to inherit the risks of transporting those goods," Clark said.

The survey also found that four-in-five consumers — or 81 per cent of respondents — are willing to extend the life of their cell phone an extra year or more if it benefits the environment. 

However, only 38 per cent of those surveyed felt strongly about this commitment. 

"While the numbers are heartening, the truth is in the details here for many of the responses," Clark said. "Real change happens when people move from feeling strongly about something to acting on it."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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