The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) commissioned IPSOS to carry out one of the world’s biggest consumer studies of its kind, surveying 26,800 consumers across 33 countries. It provides new insights into what consumers are concerned about, who they trust to address these concerns, and how they are acting individually through their purchases to affect change.
The study reveals that biodiversity loss, climate change, and deforestation are persistent top concerns for forests among people. While ongoing global economic instability and conflict appear to have shifted consumer priorities, issues relating to the environment have not fallen off the radar.
When it comes to forests in particular, consumers’ connection to biodiversity is strong, with biodiversity loss being a top forest concern in most countries sampled in Europe and the Americas. In countries where local forestry issues are prevalent, concerns about them are reflected in the results. This indicates that the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt on the ground in events like floodings in Indonesia or wildfires in Spain and the USA.
One of the ways in which consumers are addressing their forest concerns is through their purchasing decisions. Nearly three quarters (71%) claim they would rather choose products that do not damage plants and animals while nearly two thirds (63%) try to buy products packaged with renewable materials. Almost as many (59%) prefer to choose products that do not contribute to the climate crisis.
When it comes to protecting forests, consumers currently put the highest trust in independent and credible certification systems and environmental NGOs, where most have high or moderate confidence in certification labels to ensure that forests are protected. On the other hand, half (49%) of the consumers surveyed have little to no confidence in government bodies to protect forests.
Across 33 countries globally, nearly half (46%) of consumers surveyed recognise the FSC logo; higher than any other forest certification system tested. Recognition is highest among 18 to 24 year olds. FSC is especially well recognised in China, UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy, and Denmark.
Similarly, over three quarters of consumers (77%) show moderate to high levels of confidence in FSC to protect forests, which is considerably higher than in governments or businesses. And even though economic hardship is the top global concern, half of consumers who recognise FSC claim to be willing to pay more for a product if it is FSC certified.
This trust extends to brands that choose FSC, with most consumers (80%) saying they are more likely to trust a brand if it offers FSC certified products.
Being part of FSC means striving for better. Companies and products that carry the label have a shared commitment across all operations to protect forests for future generations. FSC provides organisations and consumers worldwide with the confirmation that the forest products they buy and sell come from responsibly managed forests that meet strict environmental, social and economic standards.