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Put your money where your morals are

7 January, 2022

When it comes to consumer goods, the ethical choice is not always as simple and clear cut as it sounds. You could also be forgiven for saying that ethics haven’t been your top priority when it comes to spending choices over the past two years, given there’s been quite a lot of other stuff going on.

With all that being said, Co-op recently published their ethical consumerism report for 2020 and the good news is ethical spending continues be high on the agenda for lots of us. From food and drink to ethical investments, people are more and more interested in and concerned with the ethics of products and services, and more importantly, they’re willing to back this up with their purchasing choices. We like this report because it looks at actual spending, rather than – as so many studies do – attitudes or intention.

The report finds that the average household spend on ethical goods has increased a whopping 113% between 2010 and 2020, from £1,028 to £2,189. The figures show that when consumers are provided with an ethical choice, they are very receptive to it. Not only this, but consumers are increasingly willing to boycott brands that fail to recognise and act on social or ethical concerns. Once again, hammering home the point that companies of all shapes and sizes must play their part in global environmental and social issues or risk huge reputational and commercial losses.

The biggest ethical spending increase was seen in the Eco-Travel and Transport sub-category, which increased by over 72% from 2019, largely attributable to rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) as well as an increase in bikes sales; the change in transportation habits as a result of the pandemic could resemble the tiniest slither of a silver lining.

What will be the biggest ethical spending increase in 2022? Green electricity tariffs? Plant-based meat alternatives? We’ll be watching eagerly…

By Budd Nicholson

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