Dramatic growth across key sectors of Christmas shopping indicates that this year will be the most ethical Christmas on record according to the latest Ethical Consumer Markets Report published today by Triodos Bank and Ethical Consumer.
- Sales of ethical products in the UK are continuing, for the fourteenth year in a row, to grow faster than those of ordinary products.
- Sales of ethical clothing increased by 22.4% and the sector is now worth £36 million.
- In a YouGov survey carried out as part of the report, local shopping for environmental reasons was up by 16%.
- Ethical food & drink sees 9.7% growth, while conventional foods struggle.
- The organic food and drink market grew to £1.81 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.8%.
- Sales of sustainable fish increased by 36.9% and the sector is now worth £694 million.
- In a YouGov survey carried out as part of the report, the number of vegetarians increased by 30%.
Rob Harrison, co-editor at Ethical Consumer, said: "The growth in local shopping is a particularly significant trend in a world where it can feel like everything is going online. It appears that demand for locally produced artisan food, from bread to craft beer, is driving a revival of local shopping. Shoppers increasingly want to know where their food comes from, and that it's come from somewhere as local as possible to reduce its carbon footprint.
"There has also been a big trend away from meat consumption generally. At Christmas time this could be, as they say, good news for turkeys."
The latest Ethical Consumer Markets Report reveals that the UK's ethical market is now worth £81.3 billion across 27 business sectors. The overall ethical market grew by 3.2% in a year when growth generally was just below 1%.
Bevis Watts, Managing Director at Triodos Bank UK, said: "It is encouraging to see that more and more people are consciously choosing ethical and local options at Christmas and rejecting mindless consumerism. The Ethical Consumer Markets Report is incredibly important in helping understand and promote the shift that is happening towards ethical purchasing and behaviours. Where we spend, save and invest has a huge impact on our environment and the world around us.
"However, at just 1.3 per cent growth, the report shows that ethical banking is still lagging behind other ethical sectors. This might have been because the options just haven't been there. While for many years you have been able to align your values with the food you buy, the transport you take and the energy you consume, it is not until the Triodos current account launched this year that you could do the same with your daily finances."
A recent Impact Investing survey by Triodos Bank revealed that two thirds (64%) of people believe individuals have the power to have a positive impact through the way they use their money.
Karn Shah, aged 28, is a Triodos Bank customer. Karn says: "I try and keep shopping to a minimum - all the frenzy around Christmas is quite stressful, both mentally and on the planet! The drive towards online shopping means people inevitably buy much more than they need, just because it's convenient. After all, if we end up changing our minds, we can just send it back. But all that shipping leaves a huge carbon footprint. When I shop for Christmas gifts for family and friends, I try to do it in an environmentally friendly way, for example buying books from a local bookstore which supports small businesses and avoids unnecessary shipping."
The Ethical Consumer Markets Report has been acting as a barometer of ethical spending since 1999 by tracking sales data across a wide range of consumer sectors from food to fashion.
The full report is available to download from the Ethical Consumer website.
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Notes to editors:
1. Case studies / top tips
Case studies of ethical businesses supported by Triodos Bank and customers who are planning to take a more ethical approach to Christmas this year, are available upon request. A guide to having an ethical Christmas can be found on the Ethical Consumer website.
2. About the YouGov research
Total sample size was 2,030 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th-31st October 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
3. About the market size research
Figures represent actual sales from the 2016/17 financial year or nearest period available.
About Ethical Consumer
Launched in 1989, Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading ethical and environmental magazine. In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks. For more information, visit www.ethicalconsumer.org.
About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €13.5 billion (2016) in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way.
With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 43 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.
Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request.