Value of UK Ethical Market Grows to Double that of Tobacco
Latest Ethical Consumer markets report shows steady growth
The value of all ethical spending in the UK grew to a robust £38billion in 2015, making the ethical goods and services sector worth almost double the tobacco market in the UK.
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.
It was clear from the research that 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.
This is the thirteenth consecutive year of growth for our Ethical Purchases section, reﬂecting the continued appeal of ethical markets in the UK.
This continued growth in ethical buying is also an encouraging trend at a point in time where global political developments, for those concerned about environmental and human rights issues, are not all that positive.
With people now able to choose ethical alternatives for pretty much everything they need from morning to night, this growth in ethical buying is also, arguably, beginning to help us sketch out a more optimistic counter-narrative of what a more sustainable and socially just future might look like at a moment when this kind of vision is most needed.
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.”
Key Trends from the report
1. Ethical Food bucking the trend. Strong sales of Organic and Freedom Food (RSPCA)-certifed products helped Ethical Food & Drink sales grow by 5.3%, despite a 0.9% decline in the value of the overall UK food & drink market.
2. The Green Car revolution. The Green Car industry (which includes electric and hybrid cars, as well as cars that emit less than 100g of CO2 per km) continued to boom and is now worth £8.4 billion, owing to improvements to infrastructure and increased consumer awareness.
3. Local Shopping for ethical reasons grows signifcantly in 2015. Consumers increased ethical spending in their community by 11.7%.
What we expect next year
- Green scheme cuts by the government are likely to have a significant impact on 2016’s ethical markets. Most affected are likely to be microgeneration and green cars, all of which have recently experienced a change in grant schemes.
- Strong sales for household appliances have been predicted as smarter technology is set to boost high-end sales, the vast majority of which are rated A to A+++ for energy efficiency.
- Small suppliers continue to plug the gap as the ‘Big Six’ energy companies have cut their Green Energy Tariffs. Expect next year’s report to include up and coming suppliers such as Bulb Energy, Octopus Energy and Green Star Energy.
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certifed product sales are set to continue their meteoric rise as the UK’s biggest supermarket Tesco commit to signifcantly expanding their Sustainable Fish range.
Find out more and download the Ethical Consumer Markets Report 2016