Plug surrounded by greenery

Consumers want planet-protecting eco-tech above flashy gadgets

British consumers care more about technology that can reduce carbon emissions and remove plastics from the oceans than space travel or house robots, according to engineering consultants Expleo.

The report, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, suggested that people prefer “powerful, but boring” tech that solves real-world problems over flashy gadgets or novelties such as home robotics, virtual reality or home entertainment.

In tandem with the desire to reduce ocean plastics and carbon emissions, 41 per cent of people specified that they would like to see an advance in renewable energies over the next decade.

Smart meters – which legally must be in every home by 2024 – were praised by over 80 per cent of people for adding value to their lives, due to their long-term potential to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions through better energy management.

On the other hand, interest in “headline grabbing” technology was low. Just 15 per cent of people surveyed expressed an interest in space tourism, and even fewer (11 per cent) said that they wanted to see robotics carrying out domestic chores in their homes in the next decade. Only 19 per cent of respondents are optimistic about the prospect of self-driving vehicles, but slightly more (22 per cent) said they’d be open to introducing more smart technologies, such as voice assistants, into their homes.

More than ever businesses should focus on green technology and innovation to positively influence the planet

Stephen Magennis, UK Quality MD, Expleo

“The results of our research suggest that consumers are keen to see technology being used to improve society as a whole and not just bring comfort in our life,” explained Stephen Magennis, UK Quality MD, Expleo. “This topic is not new, but I think that the coronavirus pandemic has opened many people’s eyes to the transformative role technology can play in solving real-world problems, whether that’s streamlining the transition to remote working or accelerating innovation in the medical sector.

“By ignoring this today’s businesses risk a serious consumer backlash,” said Magennis. “More than ever businesses should focus on green technology and innovation to positively influence the planet. This is particularly true for businesses in the energy and mobility sectors: reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption, or driving electric vehicles, are top of consumers’ minds.”

The findings come as the UK government continues to be under increased pressure to embrace a ‘green’ recovery post COVID.

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