In 2015, an average of 69% respondents in nine countries say they have heard of biodiversity, according to IPSOS research conducted for the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) among 9,000 persons in Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, UK and USA. Growth in awareness on biodiversity is rising in general, with Millennials showing a particularly high degree of awareness.
Over 80% of consumers expect companies to respect biodiversity, would like to receive information on such efforts and would be more interested in buying a product if they knew it respected biodiversity. Deeper analysis shows that younger generations are particularly aware of biodiversity, as well as interested in contributing to its conservation. UEBT surveys show that same holds true for consumers in emerging markets such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and China.
However, only 42% of consumers trust that companies are respecting biodiversity!
“As consumers grow more aware, opportunities exist for brands that respect biodiversity to position themselves around this issue. They can respond to demand for information, while offering them a way to contribute to biodiversity conservation when purchasing products,” said Rik Kutsch Lojenga, UEBT Executive Director.
Limited attention from companies
For the 3rd year in a row the UEBT Biodiversity Barometer therefore asked respondents to list those brands that they think respect biodiversity most. An average of 60% was able to provide brand names, but often on grounds of general environmental reputation, rather than for respect for biodiversity. Consumers particularly associate beauty companies with respect for biodiversity, although this year more consumers mentioned food and household brands.
These finding are in line with the UEBT’s review of corporate reporting on biodiversity, which found limited attention is paid to the issue. Only 36% of the top 100 beauty companies and 60% of food companies mention biodiversity in their annual sustainability reports.
In only four countries consumers strongly identified companies with biodiversity: Brazil (Natura Cosmetics), France (Yves Rocher), India (Dabur), and UK (Body Shop). Yet, few companies have gained international recognition around respect for biodiversity. In Latin America Natura Cosmetics leads the way, as consumers rank it among the top three of companies that respect biodiversity in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
"To respond to consumer expectations, companies need to step up and improve their biodiversity reporting. In addition, more direct consumer communication on biodiversity is required to increase the trust of consumers," concludes Rik Kutsch Lojenga UEBT Executive Director.