The Dutch hold large companies and government most responsible for nature conservation

The Dutch realize that nature has great value for our society. Nature also makes almost everyone happy. This is the result of new research from ASN Bank among more than 3,000 Dutch people on the occasion of World Biodiversity Day. Many Dutch people are concerned about the deterioration of nature, but especially about threats that are a little further away. Large companies and the government are held most responsible for measures to reduce our negative impact on nature. The Dutch consider it important to take sustainable steps themselves, but do not want to make too much effort.

Research shows that the Dutch realize that nature has valuable functions for our society. Examples are: forests are important for water management, food crops can not grow without pollinators, and green areas in the city provide cooling during warm times. 57% of Dutch people also know that nature gives society ‘more than nature conservation costs us’.

More appreciation since corona measures

In addition, nature makes (almost) everyone happy. On average, Dutch people spend 7 hours a week in nature, 61% prefer to do even more. Since the corona measures, 55% of respondents have come to appreciate nature even more. In addition to being important, nature is or feels close to many Dutch people. Even a large part of the population in highly urbanized areas believe that they live in ‘a green living environment’.

The farther away, the more worries

The Dutch are also very concerned about nature. 80% believe that we are all responsible for the damage to nature and find the damage we cause ‘problematic’ and with all our knowledge ‘incomprehensible’. At the same time, we do not let those concerns get too close. Most concerns are about global problems that are further away, such as the plastic soup (76%), the disappearance of rainforests (75%) and the disappearance of insects and other pollinators (70%).

Waste the biggest concern

Closer to home, in our own residential environment, we are primarily concerned with waste (67%), air pollution (52%), nature that threatens to disappear for industry (52%) or housing (50%), but also if possible arrival of wind turbines and solar parks and their impact on nature (34%).

‘Higher taxes for polluting companies’

Large companies (75%) and the government (72%) are most responsible for measures to protect and restore nature. 61% of Dutch people believe that the government should tax companies that harm nature more, while 54% are in favor of stricter laws and regulations. For companies, recycling of raw materials and products (circularity) is seen as the most important measure (59%). At present, there is little confidence that these parties will or will take the necessary action.

Banks and pension funds are held accountable by 49% of Dutch people for taking action. The majority (64%) of this group believe that banks and pension funds should stop investing in nature that harms nature.

The Dutch also want to contribute to some extent

ASN Bank also asked the Dutch about their own behavior. This shows that we trust our own actions (85%), but that we hold ourselves less responsible for taking measures to protect nature (50%). 77% of Dutch people make sustainable choices every day, especially if it requires little effort and / or provides direct benefits: we separate our waste, throw out as little food as possible, choose sustainable transport and dispose of road purchases correctly.

Answer ASN Bank

According to Arie Koornneef (Director of ASN Bank), the study clearly shows that the Dutch understand how important nature is to us and that more action is needed for nature conservation and restoration.

“It is urgent, and rightly so. Many economic sectors are (in) directly dependent on the diversity of plants, animals and insects in the world. It is estimated that 50% of what we earn worldwide from each other depends on nature. In addition, nature is healthy: Green makes us happy and reduces stress. It is really necessary for the government, business and the financial sector to take more action to protect biodiversity. In addition, it must be made as easy as possible for everyone to take sustainable steps. ”

The financial sector plays a major role

‘Remarkably,’ says Koornneef, the Dutch primarily hold government and large corporations accountable and have limited expectations of the financial sector. “Banks, insurance companies and pension funds can do much to help tackle this complex problem, primarily by stopping investment in the fossil fuel sector and examining their impact on the nature of other investments.”

Nature is under pressure worldwide

Biodiversity is the diversity of life and ecosystems – the areas where this life occurs, such as forests and gardens. Globally, biodiversity is declining rapidly, the Netherlands is even a leader in biodiversity loss. Studies show that the lives of 1 million plant and animal species and therefore the ecosystems on earth are in danger of disappearing at a rapid pace.

ASN Bank is actively committed to protecting and restoring nature. In 2030, the bank aims to make a positive net contribution to biodiversity with its total investments and loans. In addition, ASN Bank works closely with the social partners to strengthen nature in the Netherlands.

About the research

On behalf of ASN Bank, Motivaction asked 3,111 Dutch people aged 18 to 80 how they experience nature, what they are concerned about and who they believe are responsible for nature conservation and restoration. The sample recruited from Motivaction’s StemPunt panel is representative in terms of age, gender, level of education and region.

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