The results are part of a study performed by Ipsos and the Union for Ethical Biotrade to investigate consumer awareness on biodiversity and its relationship with the cosmetics industry.
More than half of the 4,000 respondents had heard of biodiversity, according to the study which was conducted in France, Germany, the UK and the USA.
In addition, 85 per cent of respondents said they wanted to know more about the sourcing of natural ingredients in the sector.
Proof of ethical sourcing
According to the Union for Ethical Biotrade, which aims to promote the ethical trade of biodiversity-based products, this illustrates a need for cosmetics brands that emphasise a natural message to provide proof of the ethical sourcing.
Full results of the survey will be presented at the Union’s ‘Sourcing with Respect’ conference to be held in Munich on April 24.
The consumer study is part of a larger project launched by the Union to determine the position of the industry and consumers on ethical matters.
The ‘barometer’ will also explore how companies are communicating the issues of biodiversity and how the press are reporting it.
“We will be repeating the barometer every year to track where the personal care sector is moving vis a vis ethical biodiversity,” the Union’s executive director Rik Kutsch Lojenga told CosmeticsDesign.
The barometer and the upcoming conference are part of the Union’s commitment to work with the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) to encourage the cosmetics industry to adhere to the benefit sharing principles of the convention.
Cosmetics and fragrance companies were highlighted by a CBD report as a particularly bad offender when it comes to sharing benefits with source communities, with one expert quoted saying “the fragrance and flavour companies actively search out innovative new ingredients in nature, in particularly the ingredient supply companies, and they don’t feel any need to sign agreements, pay royalties, or otherwise provide benefits. Most have never heard of the CBD.”