UK Ethical Sector Grows To Almost Double The Tobacco Industry

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Electric car charging station by Hakan Dahlstrom via flickr

The ethical goods and services sector worth almost double the tobacco market in the UK as the value of all ethical spending in the UK grew to £38billion in 2015.

This reflects an average 8.5% growth in total sales of everything from electric cars to sustainably sourced fish, and is the 13th consecutive year of growth according to the

2016 Ethical Consumer Markets Report from Ethical Consumer and Triodos Bank.

Released today, this year’s Ethical Consumer Markets Report reveals three stand-out trends likely to shape markets into the future:

  • The Green Car revolution continued to boom and is now worth £8.4 billion owing to improvements to electric charging infrastructure and increased consumer awareness. [2]
  • Local shopping for ethical reasons grew significantly in 2015. Consumers increased ethical spending in their communities by 11.7%. [3]
  • 53% of the UK population are choosing to avoid buying products and/or services over concerns about ethical reputation.[4]

Rob Harrison, editor of Ethical Consumer magazine said: “More companies, from small entrepreneurs to large multinationals, are bringing more ethical choices than ever before to modern consumer markets. These range from tiny, one person, operations making organic food products in their own kitchens to Nissan’s latest range of electric cars.

The increasing availability of positive alternative products in many markets means that consumers are finding it easier to make more ethical choices

“The increasing availability of positive alternative products in many markets means that consumers are finding it easier to make more ethical choices. This in turn allows the whole ethical market to grow much faster than the rest of the economy, which will be encouraging news for many people in these otherwise troubled political times.”

Huw Davies, Head of Retail Banking at Triodos Bank UK said: “What this report shows is that people are increasingly choosing to spend their money in ways that line up with their values. The growth of ethical and sustainable markets is an important reminder of the relevance of our financial decisions; where we spend, save, and invest. Our money really can work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.”

The Ethical Consumer Markets Report is an annual survey of the value of UK sales from a wide range of products considered to be more ethical choices in a range of consumer markets. It has been run every year since 1999.

The report is available free to download from www.ethicalconsumer.org from December 28th