Biodiversity awareness grows across the globe

New research demonstrates we are more clued up about biodiversity than ever before, and we want companies and products to get on board too

Consumers worldwide are becoming more aware of biodiversity and are calling for companies to source their products more sustainably, according to a new study by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT).

The 2013 UEBT Biodiversity Barometer reveals that 75% of consumers are now aware of biodiversity, while 48% can give a correct definition of the term. Six thousand people were surveyed in six countries.

Over the last five years, international research institute Ipsos, on behalf of UEBT, has surveyed 31,000 citizens in 11 countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Brazil and China scored particularly highly in 2013, with 96% of respondents in Brazil having heard of the term biodiversity and 64% of those surveyed in China correctly defining biodiversity. In the UK awareness rose to 64%, up from 59% in 2009.

The increase is thought to be due to more media coverage. UEBT communications manager Karin Kuechler says: “Traditional media remain by and large the key sources of awareness: 51% of all surveyed consumers learned about biodiversity through television, 33% through newspapers and magazines.” Other sources of learning include campaigns such as the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010.

The study also shows that 87% of consumers now want to be better informed about how companies source natural ingredients, with 84% willing to boycott brands that damage the environmental or fail to follow ethical trade practices in sourcing and production.

According to Rik Kutsch Lojenga, executive director of UEBT, many companies are beginning to take notice of this trend: “Today 32 of the top 100 beauty companies in the world refer to biodiversity in their corporate communications such as sustainability reporting and websites,” says Lojenga. “This is considerably higher than in 2009.”