PwC: Consumers put biodiversity loss on the never-never for business and other generations to solve
26/05/2010
Most Britons between 18 – 55+ think it’s an issue for people in 20 – 30 years time, rather than one for business or individuals to tackle now.

Fuente: www.consultant-news.com    Fecha:  26.05.2010

 PwC: Consumers put biodiversity loss on the never-never for business and other generations to solve

Almost half of Britons claim to understand biodiversity issues, yet almost a third do not think the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water, wood, farm land, parks and countryside will affect them personally. Most adults between 18 – 55+ think it’s an issue for people in 20 – 30 years time, rather than one for business or individuals to tackle now.

The results, from a study commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP into awareness of biodiversity and the impact of its loss, underline how misunderstanding and confusion amongst business and consumers alike is masking the true economic cost and impact of biodiversity loss in the UK.

One in three – 34% - admit they still do not understand biodiversity, encompassing the UK’s environmental assets, and the ‘services’ the country takes from them including water, wood, food, and land usage for farming and leisure.

Jon Williams, partner, sustainability and climate change, said: “Accounting for the true economic and environmental price of goods is already coming at a cost to businesses and consumers alike, with shortages identified in goods ranging from nuts to fish to wood. The longer we ignore the links, the bigger the wallet we’ll need to deal with its implications for the long term prospects for the economy.

“We’re effectively in an environmental recession, for which few businesses appear to have real accounts or a recovery plan for. Identifying and managing the risks that arise from our impact on biodiversity in the UK is not about CSR it’s about the current and future economics of supply and demand.”

When prompted about the likely impacts of biodiversity loss in the UK, respondents admitted price increases on day to day food items like fish, fruit, bread, vegetables and meat were the most likely. Changes to the range of UK species, less choice in supermarkets, and increased costs for business for basic supplies of water, wood and oil were all predicted to have an impact as well.

Regional and age variations highlighted:

• Over 55s are the most worried about price increases and more limited ranges of food in the supermarket

• Londoners are the most worried of all regions about water shortages (18%) and amongst those most concerned nationally reduced choice in supermarkets

• 18-34 year olds believe most strongly amongst all age groups that big business will be affected

Agriculture, farming and supermarket retailers were identified as the leaders behaving responsibly on ecology and biodiversity issues, but by less than a third of respondents respectively. Almost a quarter of respondents think there are no areas of business or the economy that can claim leadership on the issues.

Paying the true price for products that account for their full impact on the UK’s biodiversity and eco systems comes at a cost over 40% say they would not be willing to pay on items at price points between £5-£1000. However around half indicated that they would be willing to consider paying between 10% and 25% more for purchases up to £100 in order to account for their true eco - impact. Across all the price points examined (£5, £20, £100, £500 and £1000), over 40% refused to consider paying any more.