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FSC Global Consumer Research Highlights

FSC’s participation in Sustainable Brands London resulted from a comprehensive, global study of consumer attitudes towards sustainability, conducted by GfK in 11 countries. The study aimed to profile the green values and purchasing habits of global mainstream consumers; investigate loyalty to green brands; look at the influence of for-profit brands on purchasing of FSC certified products; and investigate barriers to green behavior.

FSC’s Business Development Director, Marcelle Peuckert, hailed FSC’s participation in Sustainable Brands London as a strong indication of the global recognition of the FSC trademark as a trusted mark of forest products sourced through responsibly-managed forestry practices.

“With this research, FSC has gained crucial insights that demonstrate what we can all be doing to better reach global consumers and encourage more sustainable consumption habits. Ensuring the health of our forests is the planet's best defense against climate change, and consumers have told us clearly that partnering with for-profit brands to share this message can be good for people, the planet and the bottom line,” said Ms. Peuckert.

The research found many of the world’s consumers laid the responsibility of solving the global environmental crisis mostly at the door of businesses. In addition, consumers better trusted companies’ environmental claims when they were backed up by certification marks indicating products were responsibly sourced. Similarly, certification marks were more compelling to consumers when they were endorsed by every day, trusted brands.

The research showed that 80% of consumers strongly or slightly agreed that companies should be responsible for fixing the environment. The credibility of a certification seal together with the consumer equity of a trusted brand equaled an influence that was greater than either group could exercise alone.

Other findings included:

  • Most consumers were concerned about environmental pollution and global climate change, and believed they could make a difference by increasing their spend on eco-friendly products. Most consumers rated environmental pollution (84% of consumers) and global climate change/global warming (82% of consumers) a high concern. Above average concern was shown in Brazil, South Africa and India; while below average concern was found in China, Hong Kong and Japan. European and Australian consumers set the average for belief in the seriousness of environmental pollution and climate change. 
  • The consumer responded to his or her concern about pollution and climate change by acting green. However, the motivation was highest if the green behavior was easily incorporated into everyday life. There was a tendency that green behavior was most likely if the consumer gained a direct benefit. Green actions were least likely when the consumer had to invest time and energy into the behavior. 
  • Globally, most consumers believed their purchases could make a difference and many intended to increase their eco-spending in the next year. Most consumers were willing to pay more for eco-friendly products and were less likely to switch from a green brand to one that was not green.
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