Sustainability was found to be a key driver for seafood purchasers, a new global independent research has found. Overall across 21 countries, sustainability is rated as more important than brand and price, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of seafood consumers agreeing shoppers should only consume seafood from sustainable sources in order to protect the oceans.
This is in contrast to purchasing motivations among shoppers of other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), where price and brand typically outrank sustainability in driving purchase decisions.
The consumer perceptions survey is the largest ever global analysis of attitudes to seafood consumption and was carried by independent research and insights company GlobeScan, on behalf of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Over 16,000 seafood consumers in 21 countries took part in the research, which ensured a statistically representative sample in each country.
Sustainability influences actions of consumers of all ages with over four in five (85%) households purchasing seafood regularly, concern about ocean sustainability is influencing shoppers’ actions. 68% said people should be prepared to switch to more sustainable seafood.
Older consumers demonstrate a greater concern for sustainability. 75% of seafood consumers aged 55 and over agreed with the need to eat seafood only from sustainable sources, compared with 67% of 18 to 34 year olds.
These insights demonstrate that seafood consumers are attuned to the need for sustainability and that they are prepared to change shopping habits to protect the oceans.
Citizens feel empowered to vote for sustainability with their wallets.” says MSC CEO, Rupert Howes.
Independent labelling increases brand trust. More than two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed said there is a need for brands and supermarkets to independently verify their claims about sustainability, with 62% agreeing that by buying ecolabelled seafood they are helping to ensure plenty more fish for future generations. The same number (62%) agreed that ecolabels on seafood products raise their trust and confidence in the brand.
Whilst 10% of the world’s wild caught seafood comes from MSC-certified fisheries, 37% of all consumers said that they have seen the MSC ecolabel. Awareness varies across the 21 markets surveyed, from 13% in Canada up to 71% in Switzerland. Respondents aged 18 to 34 are more likely to recall seeing the MSC label (41%) compared to older respondents (30% of those 55+). Of those who have seen the blue MSC label more than six in ten (64%) are likely to recommend it to people they know.
More than half (54%) of seafood consumers said they are prepared to pay more for a certified sustainable seafood product. Those who have seen the MSC label place the value of the MSC label at an average premium of 11% globally.
When asked which institutions they believed were contributing the most to protecting the oceans, respondents ranked NGOs (41%) and scientific organisations (36%) highest, with governments and business ranked as least effective.
These results are consistent with consumers’ perception of the MSC, where 86% of consumers who have seen the label say they trust it and are positive about the organisation’s impact.
As the world’s most recognised seafood ecolabelling and certification program, consumers are positive that the MSC, and the fishers, retailers and brands committed to MSC certified seafood, are contributing to the health of the world’s oceans. More than eight in ten (81%) of those who have seen the label say that the MSC helps recognise and reward sustainable fishing. The same proportion (81%) say the MSC encourages people to shop more sustainably.
“Collaboration between scientists, NGOs, retailers and industry is delivering positive impacts on the water, but unsustainable fishing is still a significant challenge. Consumers who recognise the blue MSC label, trust it. However there’s still more we can do to deliver on demand for sustainable seafood, and empower shoppers to make positive choices. The MSC is therefore increasingly focused on working with our partners and the wider industry to raise awareness of the blue MSC label” Howes added.
Caroline Holme, Director at GlobeScan said: “This survey gives us a detailed insight into just how different the seafood category is compared to others. In a category with relatively few trusted brands, third party claims on sustainability and traceability can help consumers navigate their choices better. Ocean sustainability is proven to be a topic with real relevance in this category and consumers prioritise it more than we suspected in their seafood purchase decisions.”
These figures support findings of the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report which showed that, over the previous year, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability grew by more than 4% globally, while those without grew less than 1%.
This year’s survey uses the latest methodologies, sampling and question wording, developed by independent research and strategy consultancy, GlobeScan. It adds to the growing evidence that ocean sustainability is a topic with global relevance and ranks high in seafood purchase decisions.
The survey was carried out between January and February 2016 using large and reliable national consumer research online panels to recruit respondents, with a minimum of 600 seafood consumers surveyed per country.
Consumers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA took part. Belgium, China, Austria, Italy, Norway and South Africa were surveyed for the first time this year.
The main sample of fish and seafood consumers comprised a total of 16,876 consumers who said they or someone in their household had purchased fish or seafood in the last two months, out of a total sample size of 21,877. The figures were weighted to be nationally representative by gender, age, region and education.
How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener
Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.
Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner
There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.
A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.
As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.
Better Port Management
As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.
Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.