Social & environmental research for good.

Australia – July 2021.

This data is for public usage of Catalyst Supporters and Partners subject to the terms of usage outlined  here.

July data release.

  • Responses from industry-leading online research panels via the Glow platform.
  • 1,216 interviews with a representative sample of Australians aged 18+
  • Fieldwork was conducted w/c July 12 2021.
  • Responses reviewed by a human for quality & consistency.


Welcome to the July data release. Each month we’ll be monitoring consumer attitudes to more than 30 social and environmental issues and tracking how people feel over time. In addition, we’ll dive into a selection of issues more deeply to better understand the challenge, identify current behaviour and seek inspiration from people about how to address these challenges. This month, we focused on climate change, gender inequality and plastic usage. 

In this update you’ll also find guest analysis from Research experts Lewers providing insight into how Australians feel about the future of this country and we’ve provided over 20 ‘infographics’ that barely scratch the surface of the data gathered. 

We hope that the following excerpts spark intrigue, create conversation and give you ideas for moving your own business forward. 

Don’t forget to share the data and submit your own questions for consideration by Thursday August 5 for the August research wave.

If you have any specific issues you’d like to understand more deeply then contact

Thanks for your support,

The Catalyst Team   

The most pressing issues this month:

Covid-19 looms large:

Unsurprisingly, given the country’s state of lockdown, this month’s data highlights that COVID-19 is our single greatest concern, with related issues, the cost of living, mental health and housing affordability, also featuring in the top five. Concern about climate change in general is also top of mind, while de-forestation and ocean pollution are additional environmental concerns.

Focus issues.

Here’s a selection of statistics from this month’s data. Given the breadth of the questions asked – attitudes, current behaviour, potential solutions – we can’t hope to present it all here, so reach out if you have specific areas of interest.  

Industry responsibility:

Australians believe there is a significant role for businesses to play to address climate change. Airlines, automotive manufacturers, electronics manufacturers, natural resource extraction companies and energy retailers are key industries expected to act in this area. In contrast, specific industries were expected to address particular challenges – fast food outlets are expected by 38% of consumers to play a role in reducing the impact of plastic waste. Private health insurance providers are expected to address health and wellbeing challenges including COVID-19 (24%) and mental wellbeing (21%).

Cost of living:

The high cost of living is an issue that Australians believe demands urgent action, falling only behind the pandemic in our list of concerns and of equal importance to climate change.  

40% of Australians believe we need to focus on addressing the cost of living – with the issue generating greatest concern among women at 46%, compared to men at just 34%. The 45 to 54-year-old age group were the most worried about the cost of living at 48%, with the least worried – perhaps unsurprisingly – being 18 to 24-year-olds, at 31%.

Gender inequality:

We still have work to do in the workplace. 53% of our respondents say they believe that their employers see gender inequality as an important issue to solve. However, 17% of them reported seeing someone being – or had themselves been – treated differently “because of their gender” in the previous four weeks.

On a more positive note, 68% of Australians aged 18 to 34 would be more likely to invest in a company that takes action to tackle gender inequality. This was a higher rate than any other age group, with just 38% of over-65s expressing the same preference.

This data suggests that while we have taken some significant steps towards gender parity in boardrooms, the economic shocks of COVID-19 continue to challenge progress across the broader workforce, as evidenced  by recent figures from the Bureau of Statistics showing young women particularly hard hit by job losses during the pandemic.

Plastic waste & climate change:

It appears we are consciously voting with our wallets to reduce plastic waste.

Eco-conscious seniors aged over 65 lead every other age group when it comes to their willingness to pay a premium for a product or service that reduces the impact of plastic waste.

Fifty-five percent of over-65s would pay more for a product with less plastic packaging – well ahead of all other age groups, including 18 to 24-year-olds who were next at 45%.

Climate change was also a priority for over-65s, with 38% saying they would pay a premium for a product or service that reduced the impact of climate change. Only the 18 to 24-year-olds were ahead of them at 43%.

Encouragingly, all age groups are united when it comes to their  willingness to buy from a business with a clear plan for reducing its environmental impact. 71% of all Aussies said they were likely to shop from such businesses, with support peaking at 82% of 18 to 24-year-olds. 

Investing for good

During the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Australians have started to invest in shares on the ASX. The Catalyst survey showed that our prioritising of ethical products and services carries through to our investment choices – with the majority of investors saying they’d prefer to invest in companies that take action to solve climate change and plastic waste.

The survey found that 72% of respondents who hold company stocks would be more likely to invest in companies that are taking action to tackle plastic waste, with 67% saying they would invest in companies that are addressing climate change.

Women expressed the greatest commitment to environmentally-conscious investing – with 70% of female investors being more likely to invest in companies that tackle climate change (compared to 66% of men) and 75% being more likely to invest in companies that tackle plastic waste (71% of men).

Additional areas of investigation:

Questions in the July survey also addressed sentiment towards the future, corporate responsibility for addressing issues (by company size) and tested a potential solution to reduce plastic waste. All data is able to be cross-analysed against other variables and responses. Please contact the team with any specific enquiries.        

Media coverage.

Examples of Catalyst media coverage


Catalyst, a not-for-profit open-source research and insights initiative...


Many business owners believe that they are too small to have an impact on global environmental issues...


Leading Australian research company Glow has launched a new monthly survey called Catalyst...


This month innovative Australian research agency, Lewers, provide their perspective on how Aussies are feeling about the future, using a bespoke question from the Catalyst study. 

Access the data.

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Thanks to our Catalyst Partners:

These businesses are helping to fund and promote this program, so that more people are aware of and acting to address these issues.

Shareable content:

Please feel free to share the data from Catalyst and the images below. Whenever you do please attribute to ‘Source: Catalyst Sustainability Research July 2021 ‘, use the hashtag #Catalystdata and link back to   

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