We are all ethical consumers now
At a recent conference we said that we are all ethical consumers now and even when times are tight, leading retailers and their suppliers are increasingly focused on ethical consumerism. Why?
Because ethical products in the UK have increased by 18% over two years, much faster than consumer markets overall*. Retailers are also increasingly concerned about their reputation, and not only from the positive growth point of view. A number of retailers and suppliers have suffered reduced sales when questionable, non-ethical behaviours have hit the headlines. The evidence is that, faced with the right choices, almost every consumer in the UK will choose ethically, whether selecting locally grown vegetables or boycotting brands associated with child labour.
The number of changing and interconnected factors is growing too; from organic sales (decreasing) to rainforest damage awareness (increasing) to products that are designed to reduce water in use, it's a complex field to navigate. In our view, there's no one right answer, but each retailer and supplier will need to develop their own approach which is coherent, even if work in progress, and which stands up to scrutiny.
*source: Co-operative Bank Ethical Consumerism Report 2010