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.
Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?
Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?
But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?
The Big Picture
The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.
That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.
One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.
As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.
Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.
Make and Model of Car
Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.
On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.
The Bottom Line
Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?
Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.
Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family
When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?
What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?
As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.
Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.
5 Good Options
As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:
1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country
Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.
2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.
3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.
4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.
5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel
If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?
Putting it All Together
You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.
You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.
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