By Anders Lorenzen
While there are clearly issues with the increased levels of consumption during the Christmas period the latest version of the Ethical Consumer Markets Report for 2017, drawing on the UK experience, suggests this Christmas is set to be the most ethical ever recorded.
The report which looks at the spending trends for 2017 points towards an increase in ethical spending.
Merchandise shopping led the chart, arguably because it represents a huge part of spending. According to the report, for the fourteenth year in a row, sales of ethical products are continuing to grow faster than ordinary products. The new trends point particularly to the clothing industry, which has huge environmental and carbon footprints, and indicates that there is a strong demand for a more ethical approach. According to the report, sales of ethical clothing increased significantly this year by 22.4%, and the sector is now worth £36 million. In relation to this, a recent YouGov survey found a swing to shopping locally for environmental reasons has increased by 16%.
Also in the food and drink sectors, has there been a move towards more ethical spending. While conventional food struggles, ethical food, and drink have seen a 9.7% growth. Thus the organic food and drink market grew 3.8% to a whopping £1.81 billion. There is clearly an increased demand for food and drink products produced in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Sales of sustainable fish have also increased to 36.9% and are now worth £694 million.
It has been argued that if we are really serious about tackling climate change we need to move away from diets based on meat consumption and switch to more plant-based options. In the same YouGov survey, it was found that this is actually starting to happen as the number of vegetarians in the UK grew by 30% in 2017.
The report was released in partnership with Ethical Consumer and Triodos Bank UK.
Co-editor of Ethical Consumer, Rob Harrison said about the positive food trends the report showed: “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.
And Managing Director at Triodos Bank UK, Bevis Watts hinted that the report showed that more people are starting to reject endless consumerism: “It is encouraging to see that more and more people are consciously choosing ethical and local options at Christmas and rejecting mindless consumerism.
While it is still unclear if these trends will carry on into the Christmas period, it is hoped that these trends will be an indicator for a more ethical Christmas.
While the report only represents UK spending choices, many will hope that a new trend to more responsible consumerism with the planet in mind is on the rise.