Cost of living and Christmas concerns still take priority over climate issues in the wake of COP27

Published  05 December 2022
   3 min read
  • 65% of UK adults admit to being concerned about the rising cost of living
  • More than a quarter (26%) plan to economise at Christmas by buying fewer/cheaper presents
  • A third (35%) are cutting back on leisure time luxuries such as streaming subscriptions, meals out and day trips
  • A third (34%) are more concerned with their energy bills over living sustainably

Financial pressures and affordability woes are leaving the majority of the UK (65%) concerned over how they will meet the rising cost of living. More than a quarter (26%) are already anticipating the need to cutback at Christmas with fewer and cheaper presents. In addition, nearly one in ten (8%) are no longer hosting friends and family because they can’t afford it, according to new research from mutual life and pensions company Royal London, which is introducing new social enterprises to its Changemakers Programme.

Despite the headlines generated by COP27, which recently saw the United Nations recommit to the keeping the 1.5 °C target for global temperature rise, four in 10 (38%) think it’s too expensive to live more sustainably and a third (34%) expressed greater concern over their energy bills than climate change. While nearly a third (32%) of people say that “ordinary people like them” are responsible for helping to tackle climate change, they may be in danger of abandoning their green goals to get by this winter.

Sarah Pennells, Consumer Finance Specialist at Royal London, said: "Times are tough but now is not the time to ignore sustainability issues. Living sustainably doesn't have to cost more and some measures, such as reducing the food and heat you waste, can save money. However, many of us need a helping hand to get started. We believe that these inspiring social enterprises can provide real solutions to these issues, which is why they’ve been chosen as our Changemakers this year. We are delighted to support people who are looking at new ways to ensure that a just transition and moving fairly to a sustainable world is a possibility for everyone."

To help bridge the gap between living sustainably while combating the cost-of-living crisis, Royal London has announced 10 new social enterprises as part of its Changemakers Programme, now in its second year. This year’s enterprises have been chosen based on the unique solutions they provide to help people move fairly to a sustainable world and promote financial resilience. Each Changemaker will benefit from a £20,000 grant, as well as extensive business support from The School for Social Entrepreneurs, which will continue for two years. This year’s cohort include: Bristol Green Capital Partnership (BGCP), Pocket Forests, Croydon Community Energy, Community Retrofits Ireland, Remake Scotland, Circular 11, Energise Sussex Coast, Lendology, NEMI Teas and Migrateful.

Notes to editor

Find out more about each of the Changemakers and the programme at

This is the second year the programme is running. Existing Changemakers have been helping wider society to improve their financial resilience, whilst this year’s focus is on helping everyone move fairly towards a sustainable world (the ‘Just Transition’).


Royal London surveyed 2,000 nationally representative UK adults aged over 18. Research was carried out by Opinium between 14 October and 18 October 2022.

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About Royal London

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £147 billion, 8.7 million policies in force and 4,232 employees. Figures quoted are as at 31 December 2022. 

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