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UK consumers not ethical when it comes to toilet paper

10 September 2014

Although consumers think it is important for grocery manufacturers to act in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner, they are not aware or interested in ethical certifications for toilet paper, finds new survey by Canadean.

According to a 2014 survey of 2,000 UK adults, only 6% of UK consumers are aware that they have toilet paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – a nonprofit NGO which promotes the responsible management of the world's forests. When asked if they knew what the FSC stood for, only 16% of respondents said that they did. Moreover, of those that did know they had FSC certified toilet paper, only 38% said that they had switched brands intentionally to ensure they only purchased toilet paper carrying the logo. To put this into context, only 2% of UK adults say they have adjusted their purchasing behaviour in the toilet roll category in favour of FSC certified paper. However, when shown the logo of the FSC, almost half (45%) of the 2,000 respondents said that they had seen the logo on toilet paper before. This highlights how a considerable proportion of consumers have seen the logo on toilet rolls, but do not feel inclined to research the logo to find out what it stands for.

Recognisable logo without education does little to sway consumer behaviour

Michael Hughes, lead analyst at Canadean, says: “Although consumers attach importance to ethical and environmentally friendly behaviour, they are less willing to spend time researching different certifications. While the fair-trade symbol is more established and recognisable, this research shows that other less established ethical organisations need to do more to raise awareness of their organisation and objectives.” According to Canadean this is particularly important in product categories such as toilet roll, where consumer behaviour is generally driven by routine and familiarity. Hughes says: “Making a direct link between ethical certification and superior quality offers a win-win scenario for both manufacturer and consumer and could help enhance value perceptions among consumers.”


Procter & Gamble's 'Cushelle' toilet paper features the FSC logo on its packaging. 


All numbers used in this text are based on a recent Canadean consumer survey of 2,000 UK-based adults.This survey was conducted in August 2014. 

Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Canadean reports. Analysts are available to comment. Contact the Canadean press office on

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