Barometer highlights need to raise awareness of biodiversity

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability

The 2012 biodiversity barometer published by the Union for Ethical BioTrade has found that awareness of biodiversity is lagging behind sustainability, highlighting the need to improve this.

The barometer surveys 8000 consumers in Brazil, France, Germany, India, Peru, Switzerland, UK and USA, and provides insights on the evolution of biodiversity awareness among consumers and how the beauty industry reports this.

“Only 19 per cent of people have heard about biodiversity through business communications,”​ said UEBT executive director Rik Kutsch Lojenga.

Untapped potential

“So far, the potential contribution of the private sector towards biodiversity awareness remains largely untapped. To understand the vast potential one only needs to look at Brazil​ [where awareness of biodiversity was highest] where consumers say that advertising is the second most important source of information on biodiversity.”

The 2012 barometer findings show that 76 per cent of all respondents were aware of sustainable development and only 64 per cent were aware of biodiversity.

Of the top 100 beauty companies in the world, 54 mentioned sustainability in their reporting and web site, whilst 31 referred to biodiversity.

“The first target of 2020 is raising awareness on the values of biodiversity. To reach these targets we need to regain the momentum created by 2010 International Year of Biodiversity,”​ commented Braulio Ferrera de Souza Dias, executive director of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Consumer attitude

Other findings from the barometer showed that 85 per cent of consumers look for natural ingredients in cosmetics products and 69 per cent track where these ingredients come from.

Despite only 31 companies referring to biodiversity as mentioned above, 80 per cent of consumers say they would like to be more informed about company’s sourcing practices.

“Many consumers in emerging economies are interested in environmental and social issues,”​ added Lojenga.

“When asked about their purchasing behavior, 41 per cent of consumers in Brazil, India and Peru indicated they pay attention to a brand’s social and environmental values. Levels that are higher than those in Western markets.”

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