New research reveals consumers prioritise forests in sustainable shopping
One of the world’s most extensive consumer studies on forest products reveals that biodiversity loss, climate change, and deforestation are persistent top concerns. While ongoing global economic instability and conflict appear to have shifted consumer priorities, issues relating to the environment have not fallen off the radar.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) commissioned IPSOS to carry out one of the world’s biggest consumer studies of its kind, surveying 26,800 consumers across 33 countries. Ipsos is a leading global market research and polling company operating in 90 markets and employing nearly 20,000 people.
The FSC survey provides new insights into consumers’ concerns, who they trust to address them, and how they act individually through their purchases to affect change.
When it comes to forests, consumers’ connection to biodiversity is strong, with biodiversity loss being a top forest concern in most countries sampled in the study. It indicates that the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt on the ground in events like flooding in Indonesia or wildfires in Spain and the USA.
One of the ways in which consumers are addressing their forest concerns is through their purchasing decisions.
Nearly three-quarters (71%) claim they would rather choose products that do not damage plants and animals, while almost two-thirds (63%) try to buy products packaged with renewable materials. Nearly as many (59%) prefer to choose products that do not contribute to the climate crisis.
When it comes to protecting forests, consumers currently put the highest trust in independent and credible certification systems and environmental NGOs, where most have high or moderate confidence in certification labels to ensure that forests are protected.
On the other hand, half (49%) of the consumers surveyed have little to no confidence in government bodies to protect forests.
Across 33 countries globally, nearly half (46%) of consumers surveyed recognised the FSC logo, higher than any other forest certification system tested. Recognition is highest among 18 to 24-year-olds. FSC is especially well-recognised in China, the UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Denmark and South Africa. In South Africa, 59% of consumers recognise the FSC logo.
Similarly, over three-quarters of consumers (77%) show moderate to high confidence in FSC to protect forests, considerably higher than in governments or businesses that make/sell wood/paper products and packaging. And even though economic hardship is the top global concern, half of consumers who recognise FSC claim to be willing to pay more for a product if it is FSC-certified.
FSC CHECK TREE LABEL
This trust extends to brands that choose FSC, with most consumers (80%) saying they are more likely to trust a brand if it offers FSC-certified products, and in South Africa, this was 84%.
FSC is a non-profit organisation widely regarded as the most rigorous forest certification system among NGOs, consumers, and businesses to tackle today’s deforestation, climate, and biodiversity challenges. The FSC forest management standard is based on ten core principles designed to address various environmental, social and economic factors. FSC’s “check tree” label is found on millions of forest-based products. It verifies that they are sustainably sourced, from forest to consumer.
Companies and products that carry the label have a shared commitment across all operations to protect forests for future generations. FSC provides organisations and consumers worldwide with the confirmation that the forest products they buy and sell come from responsibly managed forests that meet strict environmental, social and economic standards.
Source: WoodBiz Africa (Page 32 – 33)
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