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Overall Value Of UK 'Ethical Market' Rises As Consumers Choose

Posted on January 1, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Consumer choice continues to fuel demand for 'ethical products' in the UK, despite the challenges, which include the current government's attitude to renewable energy.

Ethical spending has continued to grow despite difficult market conditions, according to the Ethical Consumer Markets Report released at the end of 2015 by Ethical Consumer and Triodos, which brands itself as the 'ethical' bank.


These numbers are not piffling : the overall value of the ethical market grew from £35bn to £38bn in the UK,  and the combinaton of ethical money invested and ethical spending totals rose from £78bn to £80bn - so still rising, against the odds. (emphasis in case you need help on Jan 1).

"The value of ethical sales grew by 8%, during a period when inflation barely rose above 0.5%" says the report. The overall growth in the value of the ethical market showed "a continued commitment from consumers across all sectors to support more ethical products and services" it adds.

Sales of electric, hybrid and other tax-band A-rated cars grew by 40% to nearly £7bn, and spending on solar panels rose by nearly 25% to £716m, it reveals.


Disastrous corporate governance at the Co-operative Bank, and its fall-out, had an inevitable impact. The value of money held ethically fell by 2%, largely caused by accounts being closed or moved from the Co-operative Bank, according to the report.

All other elements in the sector - including savings and investments with Triodos Bank - showed year on year growth. Ethical investment grew by 9% to £13bn.


 “Every one of has a role to play in tackling the pressing social and environmental challenges facing us, and making conscious choices about how we use our money is one of the most powerful ways each of us can make a difference. This includes the products we buy, the companies we buy from and the banks we entrust our money with. The report’s findings are a very positive sign for ethical consumption, demonstrating that despite continuing economic hardship, people are making conscious choices, and at a growing rate” says Charles Middleton, Managing Director,  Triodos Bank.

Do you want the person who heads your bank to sound like that? Tweet at me @dinamedland.


“Disappointing changes to government incentives for home renewable energy installations and lower impact motoring in 2015 will threaten the strong growth in sales of lower carbon choices identified in this report" says Rob Harrison, editor of Ethical Consumer magazine.

"Successive reports have shown that government incentives to encourage ethical behaviours can bring the most dramatic changes in consumer impacts and should be used more rather than less" he adds, qualifying well for a place in David Cameron's much-loved Nudge Unit.

Since 1999, The Ethical Consumer Markets Report has been tracking sales data across a wide range of consumer sectors from food to fashion.


Categories: Behaviour, Green Issues, Investors