Increasing support for MSC ecolabel

An independent survey commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) shows that 30% of consumers who buy fish at least once every two months, are aware of the MSC ecolabel – up from 23% in 2010.

In the 2012 consumer survey 5,977 interviews were completed in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, USA, Canada, Japan and Australia. 

When shown the MSC ecolabel, stripped of all the text, 30% of respondents said they had seen it before, and over 9% of all respondents were then able to accurately describe, without any prompting, what the MSC ecolabel stands for – up from 5% in 2010. 

Recognition of the MSC ecolabel is going from strength to strength in Northern Europe. It has leapt to 55%in Germany (up from 36% in 2010), 44% in the Netherlands (up from 34% in 2011), 38% in Sweden (up from 28% in 2011) and 31% in the UK (up from 18% in 2010).

In Japan and France there is a small but encouraging increase in recognition: just over one in six Japanese and just over one in five French consumers recognise the MSC debranded ecolabel.

In the first survey carried out in Denmark and Australia, 35% and 12% of consumers respectively reported awareness of the MSC ecolabel for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

In a test to ensure consumers fully understand the significance of the ecolabel on-pack, respondents were also asked to describe the debranded MSC ecolabel in their own words. In the six European countries tested, 14% of consumers accurately described the blue ecolabel – up from 8%in 2010 (UK, France and Germany tested). German and Dutch consumers are leading the way in 2012; close to one in four respondents in both countries, described the blue logo correctly (an increase of 6% in Germany since 2010 and 12% in the Netherlands since 2011).

Across the 10 countries surveyed, consumers reported an increasing value placed on ‘independent ecolabels’; 54% of respondents believe ecolabels are effective in ‘helping bringing changes to environmental/social problems’ and 59% agree that ‘a product that carries an ecolabel has less impact on the environment’.

The research also reveals that the presence of an ecolabel on products continues to make a positive impact on consumers’ perception of the host brand; 44% of consumers reported a higher level of trust for brands that use ecolabels.

In the UK and the Netherlands, ‘ecolabels on products’ rank as the most trusted source of information on socially and environmentally responsible goods. Ecolabels rank second in Japan, Australia, France and the US; recommendation by friends and family’ is considered the most trusted source of information in 5 of the 10 countries surveyed – this is also an indication of how much sustainability issues are part of everyday conversations.

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