In the wake of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble being embroiled in a row over sourcing, and many other cosmetics companies highlighting their sustainability commitments, the Union of Ethical BioTrade has released the latest figures from its biodiversity survey.
It found that while 87% of consumers surveyed worldwide want companies to adopt sourcing policies that respect biodiversity, only 27% of the top 100 beauty and personal care companies actually mention biodiversity on their websites or in their corporate sociability reports.
So more needs to be done in the cosmetics industry according to the report, as more than 85% of surveyed consumers want companies to provide more information on the concrete actions they are taking to respect biodiversity in their sourcing policies.
Emerging market knowledge
Conducted in February 2014, some 7,000 consumers in Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, France, UK, USA and Vietnam participated in the survey.
The study confirms that biodiversity awareness is particularly high in emerging markets, as more than 90% of respondents in Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam and China have heard about biodiversity, and half are able to correctly define biodiversity; twice the number of that in developed countries.
“Consumers in emerging markets show a good understanding of biodiversity and a high interest in ethical sourcing. With market growth increasingly realized in these countries, these findings are of strategic importance for companies investing in emerging markets,” says UEBT Executive Director Rik Kutsch Lojenga.
“Consumers are also increasingly looking for transparency. In 2014, 87% of consumers surveyed for UEBT say they buy cosmetic products that use natural ingredients, while 77% pay attention to the origin of such ingredients,” adds Remy Oudghiri, Director of Trends and Insights at Ipsos.
The positive news from the 2014 study is also that biodiversity awareness has increased since 2009. However, since 2012, growth in understanding of biodiversity has slowed down. To reach the 2020 targets, UEBT says that additional awareness raising efforts are required.
“84% of respondents say it is important to personally contribute to conserving biodiversity,” says Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary.
“This highlights the importance placed on biodiversity and provides us with a tremendous opportunity to work together to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably and in a fair and equitable way and address the biodiversity loss and its benefits to society.”