At Recipro we like to think we know about carbon offsetting. All respondents in the omnibus survey were asked how much they knew about carbon offsetting. Figure 13 summarises responses to this question compared with data from the 2007 Defra survey.
Respondents’ perceptions of how much they knew about carbon offsetting have decreased since 2007. In the current survey a little over a third (37%) of respondents said they knew at least a little about carbon offsetting’ down from 43% in 2007. The proportion of people saying they knew nothing and had never heard of the term had increased from 35% in 2007 to 40% in 2009. Respondents who said they knew at least a little about carbon offsetting were asked whether they had ever paid into a scheme personally. This question was followed up using a stages of change response scale to assess the extent to which respondents had considered paying into such a scheme. The results for both questions are presented in Table 34.
Of those who knew at least a little about carbon offsetting, 6% said they had paid into a scheme at some point in the past (the equivalent of 2% of all respondents). This represents a statistically significant increase from 3% in 2007.
The second question presented in Table 34 was asked after providing all respondents with a description of what carbon offsetting was, to help assess willingness to act. This suggests a slightly different picture, with 14% of those who knew at least a little about carbon offsetting saying that they were at the maintenance stage of carbon offsetting (having either ‘done this before and intending to do it again’ or ‘done this before though not as much as I’d like’). This may reflect a difference in what is understood by ‘paying into’ a carbon offsetting scheme rather than ‘using’ a carbon offsetting scheme. One third of respondents (33%) were at the pre-contemplative stage (having either never heard of it or thought about it), while around one quarter (27%) had thought about it but rejected it and 17% were contemplating it but had not yet used a scheme. Only 2% of respondents who knew at least a little about offsetting had used a scheme previously but stopped.