The Dutch are ready for climate-friendly exercise

4 June 2020


Many Dutch people have become more conscious of climate change due to the coronavirus crisis and want to do something to make things better. Flying less and driving less are a couple of examples. Recent research supports this trend. Earlier this year, online pension administrator BeFrank surveyed public opinion on climate-friendly exercise. It turned out that the vast majority of Dutch citizens (82%) are willing to take climate change into account when exercising or playing sports.

BeFrank asked Dutch people whether they realised they could do something to improve the climate while getting physical exercise. Only one in five of those surveyed had realised this option. Among young people under the age of 30, that percentage is somewhat higher, around one in four. But perhaps surprisingly, a full 80% are prepared to actually do something. Again, those in their teens and twenties are even more open to this. A whopping 96% said that they would be willing to consider their impact on climate and the environment when exercising or playing sports.

Top 5 concessions
1. Less time showering (80%)
2. Not using plastic bottles (74%)
3. Car-pooling or cycling to the gym (52.1%)
4. Cleaning up litter (50.3%)
5. Exercising in nature more often (42%)

Other contributions mentioned by those surveyed include saving energy while exercising, buying environmentally friendly sports gear, and actively thinking along with their gym about ways of saving energy.’We see that young people are more often willing to take their impact on the environment into consideration than older people’, BeFrank’s Commercial Director Jan Hein Rhebergen explains. ‘We also see this coming up in our conversations with customers and participants. We get lots of enthusiastic responses to our environmental solutions, which allow you to contribute to a better world through your pension scheme. We believe that physical fitness and financial fitness are closely connected. Both are important components of a good life and a healthy life, without financial worries and with an environmentally responsible retirement’.

Climate-friendly exercise
Exercising without equipment is often the best choice for climate and the environment. Think here of running and hiking. It’s true that swimming is good for maintaining a healthy body, but on the other hand big swimming pools are incredible resource guzzlers. The water has to be regularly refreshed and kept at a certain temperature. Golf also can’t really be considered a climate-friendly sport. According to a report by Scottish Golf History, there are more than 34,000 golf courses in the world, representing about 20,000 square kilometres which could have been planted with trees. Skiing also doesn’t do the climate any good. In the past 40 years, enormous areas have been cleared of trees and greenery. Moreover, modern snow machines consume huge amounts of energy.

BeFit Playlist
Running, hiking and cycling are the most environmentally friendly sports for keeping fit. You also know that you won’t be contributing to CO2 emissions. ‘In order to help motivate you when exercising, we’ve compiled a BeFit Playlist on Spotify. Perfect for when you go for a run. With this playlist full of power songs you can keep going for a bit longer. The list was compiled by everyone at BeFrank’, Rhebergen says.

Financial and physical fitness
BeFrank has been encouraging people to stay healthy and fit for quite a while. With its BeFit programme, the online pension administrator has developed a tool that inspires Dutch people with interesting articles on the topics of leisure, exercise, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find things like the latest trends in food, how to stay fit on holiday, and how to deal with stress at work. At you can take a simple test to find out the status of your physical and your financial health.

About the survey
In February 2020, BeFrank commissioned a survey from Factsnapp of 400 Dutch people aged 16 to 60 and over on the topic of exercise and making a contribution to helping improve climate.
BeFrank also recently had research conducted into the physical fitness of Dutch people in these times of coronavirus.
The research on climate in times of coronavirus was carried out by Ipsos and was commissioned by ABN AMRO.

About BeFrank
BeFrank has been operating in the group pension market since 2011 and was the first Premium Pension Institution (PPI) to be established in the Netherlands. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the NN Group, BeFrank offers online pensions, clear communications and innovative services.

For more information contact Isabelle van Ast. E-mail:, Tel: +31 (0)20 5621118.