Attitude toward biodiversity
In order for people to support measures for conserving biodiversity and adapt their own behaviour accordingly, it is crucial that they are aware that the insight that the decline in biodiversity represents a serious threat.
However, a positive attitude does not necessarily lead to the corresponding behaviour. When different behaviour is perceived as more advantageous – for example, cheaper, less time-consuming or more convenient – this can outweigh the desire to “conserve biodiversity”. Bad habits and social expectations can also hinder the corresponding behaviour.
As was the case four years earlier, in 2015, 80% of the respondents were of the view that the loss of diversity of animal and plant species is dangerous or very dangerous for human beings and the environment. Hence the decline in biodiversity is considered as dangerous as climate change. Other environmental impacts like genetic technology, traffic and mobile phone antennae are perceived as posing less of a threat.
In accordance with the perceived threat, in another survey carried out in 2016, 86% of participants declared themselves willing or more likely to be willing to pay more for products if biodiversity could be conserved as a result. Although this does not necessarily mean that all of these people would behave accordingly, it is a good indicator of the general attitude.
People who are aware of the problem of biodiversity loss tend to be more open to measures for its conservation. With greater awareness, people’s willingness to reconsider and adapt their behaviour should also increase. For this reason the status is assessed as positive. Nonetheless, a further increase in the number of people who are aware of the risk would be desirable. In view of this, the stabilisation that has set in during the past few years is regarded as unsatisfactory.
The data for the perceived threat are taken from the Switzerland-wide environmental survey carried out by the ETH Zürich (1994 and 2007) and the Federal Statistical Office’s survey “Wahrnehmung von Umweltqualität und Umweltverhalten” (“Perception of Environmental Quality and Environmental Behaviour”) (2011 und 2015). All surveys were carried out by telephone and covered a range of topics relating to environmental pollution, environmental awareness, environment-relevant behaviour and lifestyle. The samples (2015: N=3000) meet the criteria of representativity; participation is voluntary.
The data on willingness to pay come from the “Univox Umwelt” (“Univox Environment”) survey, which was carried out by the market and social research agency gfs-zürich in 2016. The survey was carried out by telephone and covered a range of topics relating to environmental pollution, environmental awareness and environment-relevant behaviour. The sample (N=1013) meets the criteria of representativity.
The percentage of people who would be willing to pay more for products if biodiversity could be conserved as a result was surveyed.