Dreaming of an ethical Christmas


Ethical shopping is growing at more than three times the rate of general retail spending, and local shopping is fighting back against online.

So says the annual report published in the run-up to Christmas by Ethical Consumer magazine and Triodos Bank.

It claims to have found “dramatic growth across key sectors of Christmas shopping” reflecting a rising rebellion against the culture of Black Friday and blind consumerism.

In a YouGov survey carried out as part of the report, local shopping for environmental reasons was up by 16%, and there was a 30% rise in vegetarians.

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.”

The latest 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%.

In the past year, sales of ethical clothing increased by 22.4% and the sector is now worth £36 million.

Ethical food & drink sales were up almost 10% against a background of static sales in the conventional  market. 
The organic food and drink market grew to £1.81 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.8%.

Sales of sustainable fish jumpedby 36.9% and the sector is now worth £694 million.

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. Where we spend, save and invest has a huge impact on our environment and the world around us.

“However, at just 1.3 percent 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.”

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.

The full report is at www.ethicalconsumer.org/researchhub/ukethicalmarket.aspx

Our picture shows Rachel Farey, business manager at One World Shop in Edinburgh, which has just reopened beneath St John’s Church on Princes St/Lothian Road.

Rachel says:  “The One World Shop started in 1983, trading in a quiet room of St John’s when fair trade products were barely known to the public. It expanded to a larger shop space at the site and enjoyed 30 years of trading at St John’s before it had to move out for two years. Helping promote Fair Trade and providing a market place for economically disadvantaged communities across the world is the mission of the shop, a charitable enterprise dedicated to the relief of poverty in the poorest parts of the world.”

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