AN ANALYSIS OF WILLINGNESS TO PAY AND REASONS FOR PURCHASING CERTIFIED FOREST PRODUCTS
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Currently, around half a billion acres are certified around the world by the world’s top three certification organizations and this number continues to grow rapidly every day. However, consumer knowledge of sustainable forest management and forest certification does not appear to be growing. This lack of consumer awareness could be the reason why there is little evidence of a price premium for certified forest products in the market. The non-existence of a price premium may discourage landowners from electing to have their forest certified as sustainably managed. In order to encourage consumers to pay more for certified forest products, it is necessary to disseminate information about the benefits of forest certification and how certified forests are managed sustainably. This study aims to determine how much a typical household consumer knows about forest certification and whether or not they would prefer certified forest products over non-certified products. To answer these questions, 100 individuals were surveyed in Durham, North Carolina during the spring of 2014 to determine their preferences for printer paper, which is a frequently purchased forest product. The results indicated that 48% of respondents have not heard of forest certification and only 3% knew a lot about it. This demonstrates that there are great marketing opportunities for certification organizations, manufacturers of certified forest products, and certified forest product carriers (e.g. Home Depot and Staples). In addition to surveying for knowledge about certification, respondents were given a hypothetical purchasing scenario where they were asked to either purchase a ream of certified paper or a ream of non-certified paper. The only things that varied about these types of paper was 1) the price of certified paper and 2) whether the paper was certified or not certified. 73 respondents stated that they preferred the certified paper over the non-certified paper and they would, on average, pay an additional $2.67 for certified paper. Of the respondents who chose the non-certified paper, they indicated that the reason they selected it was because the certified paper was too expensive and that they did not know enough about how certified forest management differs from non-certified forest management.
CitationJason, Elliott (2014). AN ANALYSIS OF WILLINGNESS TO PAY AND REASONS FOR PURCHASING CERTIFIED FOREST PRODUCTS. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8562.
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