Last updated: December 2016
Key moments from 2016
“It is clear that the world is changing in a variety of ways and at a pace perhaps never experienced in human history. In 2016 the result of those changes have been keenly felt.
In many ways it is beginning to feel like the perfect storm as new and competing forces wrestle for supremacy. The most startling examples have been the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, CO2 concentrations reaching 400 ppm in the atmosphere, and new technologies changing the economic and social fabric of our lives in ways that we are yet to fully understand.
At Ethical Consumer we have watched events unfold with some alarm but never passively and our mission remains the same, to make business more sustainable through consumer action.
We have tried to make our voices heard above the noise, actively campaigning on many issues that are of concern to our readers in this altered reality.
We have engaged in a range of debates from Brexit to climate change to advance a progressive agenda and continue to offer people a range of unique tools for consumer action.”
Tim Hunt - Co-editor Ethical Consumer.
Below we highlight some of our key interventions in 2016:
Ethical Consumer Markets Report
At the beginning of the year we released our annual markets report. The good news was that it showed that last year the value of ethical sales grew by 8%, during a period when inflation barely rose above 0.5%.
And the overall value of the ethical market grew from £35bn to £38bn showing a continued commitment from consumers across all sectors to support more ethical products and services. Read more about our markets report here.
Save Our Bank campaign
In February, a union of the customers of The Co-operative Bank was established following a crowdfunder campaign.
The Customer Union has turned the Save Our Bank campaign into a formally constituted co-operative organisation, owned by its members, to keep up the pressure on the bank and to build a new co-operative shareholding. The union is the first ever ‘customer union’ and is now 1,500 strong.
Read more >
Also in February we launched our work on optics. Sports optics, such as binoculars, spotting scopes and monoculars, are used by many keen birders and wildlife watchers. They are also essential pieces of equipment for hunters, resulting in some optics companies marketing products at both conservationists and sport hunters.
The report highlights which optics companies support and sell hunting products and those that don’t. Read the full report here.
Fashion Revolution Research
In April we teamed up with campaign group Fashion Revolution to release the Transparency index. This research project rated fashion brands on their transparency. It was released to coincide with the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh.
Read the full Transparency Index report.
Carbon Divestment Campaign
In May, we launched our divestment campaign. With climate change posing a clear and present danger to the health of the planet, we need to take all possible action to avert climate catastrophe.
Our campaign focuses on switching your current accounts, savings accounts, cash ISAs and investment funds away from companies still funding fossil fuel projects.
Find out which banks and building societies we recommend.
Collaborating For Change Conference
In September, we held our biggest annual conference to date. Over 200 delegates participated in discussions on topics as varied as Brexit and supply chains. We were delighted to be joined by some excellent speakers including Marilyn Croser of the CORE Coalition and Jonathan Bartley co-leader of the Green Party.
Find audio and images from the event in our conference section.
Internationalisation of Lush Prize
Also in November the Lush Prize became truly international with prize events in North America and Asia for the first time, in addition to the fifth annual London prize awards. This year the winners represent 11 countries and share a total £330,000 of prize money.
We were especially pleased to have our first winners from China, South Korea and the Middle East.
Find out more on the Lush Prize website.
Spring Prize launch
In December Lush Cosmetics and Ethical Consumer launched a new annual prize fund. The Lush Spring Prize will award £200,000 to projects around the world that are working towards environmental and social regeneration.
Read more about the Lush Spring Prize in our latest blog.