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Carbon Offsetting, a Massive Opportunity for Retailers

carbon offsetting retail

The latest Catalyst research looks at awareness and interest in carbon offsetting among consumers across 3 markets (Australia, UK and the US). This finds awareness is relatively low but a large proportion of consumers are interested in offsetting their emissions, especially at checkout.

Across Australia, UK and the US, less than half of consumers are aware that it is possible to offset their carbon emissions through the purchase of Carbon Credit Units. The figure is even lower in the US where awareness is only 30%.

Aware of carbon offsetting


However 30%-40% of Aussies say they are likely to offset their emissions if given the chance when shopping for various products or services.

Carbon Offsetting Net Likely Region Comparison

The intention to offset emissions however is highest in the US and UK than in Australia, across all product types.

Young people are significantly more likely to offset emissions than the older demographics, with baby boomers the least likely. In fact, the younger the demographic group, the higher the intention to offset.

For example, in Australia, when it comes to food and groceries, 63% of Gen Z (18-24 year olds) indicate they are willing to offset carbon emissions associated with their purchases, 45% of Millennials (25-44), 34% of Gen X (45-54) and 30% of Baby Boomers (55+).

We have these figures for each product type and within each market, so please contact if you would like to investigate demographic breakdowns for your industry / market.

We also asked respondents how they would prefer to pay for offsets and found that the vast majority across the three markets would prefer to pay for carbon offsets at checkout. A much smaller group want deferred payments (21%-23%) through a monthly or yearly plan.

How consumers would pay for carbon offsets

This indicates that whilst awareness of carbon offsetting is fairly low, there is an enormous opportunity for retailers to use offsetting as part of their impact plan by simply providing customers with the option at checkout to offset the emissions associated with purchases.

This data also indicates that there is a broader need to educate consumers about carbon offsetting as a tactic for reducing their carbon footprint.

By Eddie Kowalski
Catalyst Program Director

About Catalyst

Catalyst is an open-source research program investigating consumer concerns about social and environmental issues. The program is building a body of knowledge to fuel conversation, action and behavior change by supporting businesses with insights that fuel their own programs of action.  

Access the data free by signing up to the email alerts here.  

The Catalyst program would not be possible without the support of our partners. Special thanks to Cint for providing respondents to the program and to all our other partners including: