Ethical Consumer Issue 183 - March 2020 3 ETHICAL CONSUMER Editorial TIM HUNT EDITOR WHO’S WHO THIS ISSUE’S EDITOR  Tim Hunt PROOFING  Ciara Maginness (Little Blue Pencil) WRITERS/RESEARCHERS  Jane Turner, Tim Hunt, Rob Harrison, Anna Clayton, Joanna Long, Josie Wexler, Ruth Strange, Mackenzie Denyer, Clare Carlile, Francesca de la Torre, Alex Crumbie, Tom Bryson REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS  Simon Birch, Colin Birch DESIGN  Tom Lynton LAYOUT  Adele Armistead (Moonloft), Jane Turner COVER  Tom Lynton CARTOONS  Marc Roberts, Andy Vine, Mike Bryson AD SALES  Simon Birch SUBSCRIPTIONS  Elizabeth Chater, Francesca Thomas PRESS ENQUIRIES  Simon Birch, Tim Hunt ENQUIRIES  Francesca Thomas WEB EDITOR  Sophie Billington THANKS ALSO TO  Marlous Veldt, Emma Kerrison All material correct one month before cover date and © Ethical Consumer Research Association Ltd. ISSN 0955 8608 Printed with vegetable ink by RAP Spiderweb Ltd, c/o the Commercial Centre, Clowes Centre, Hollinwood, Oldham OL9 7LY. 0161 947 3700 PAPER  100% post-consumer waste, chlorine-free and sourced from the only UK paper merchant supplying only recycled papers – Paperback ( RETAIL DISTRIBUTION  is handled by Central Books on 0845 458 9911. Ethical Consumer is a member of INK (independent news collective), an association of radical and alternative publishers. We are a Living Wage employer, a multi-stakeholder co-op, and Fair Tax Mark accredited. ABOUT THE ADVERTISERS ECRA checks out advertisers before accepting their ads and reserves the right to refuse any advert COVERED IN PREVIOUS PRODUCT GUIDES  Abundance (177), Kingfisher Toothpaste (165), Mooncup (179), Natracare (179), Suma (178), Vegetarian Shoes (162), Wainwright’s Honey (183), Windmill Organics (178), Infinity Wholefoods (178). OTHER ADVERTISERS  Book Aid, Energy4All, Green Building Store, Investing Ethically, Shared Interest, Womankind. I t’s great to start this issue’s editorial with some good news. For the first time in our long history we’ve broken the 10,000 paying- subscriber barrier. Now it’s just a matter of persuading some of the other 150,000 online readers to join our paying reader community! Thanks to all those who have supported us over this period. It’s been a long road but it’s fantastic that we’ve reached this landmark in our 30th anniversary year. Thanks also to the new members of our community who have subscribed more recently. You’ve joined a committed group of readers who are changing the world at the checkout and beyond. More good news! Since the last issue, we’ve released our annual ethical consumer markets report. For 20 years this has been a barometer of ethical spending in the UK. Back in 1999, the total size of ethical consumer markets in the UK was just £11.2bn. Today the figure is almost four times that at £41.1bn. We’d like to think that we’ve helped to nurture this market and have played some part in its growth (see page 42). Latest guides In this issue we cover two markets that are set to grow exponentially over the next few years, that of plant milks and vegan cheese. In 2019, 23% of UK consumers used plant-based milk alternatives, up from 19% in 2018. For example oat milk sales surged by 71% last year, as consumers bought over £36m worth of the dairy alternative. The trend looks to set to continue as the number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians continues to rise in response to the climate crisis. We look in detail at the climate impact of different milks on page 33. However plant-based milks still make up just 4% of the milk market, with dairy milk accounting for 96% of sales. With this in mind we also decided to update our dairy milk report again this year. You won’t find any Best Buys in the guide, as our feature on page 30 points out the climate impact of dairy cattle makes it unsustainable in its current form. But we felt that it was important to draw attention to some of the issues in the market, not least the plight of the badgers, and showcase some truly alternative models of dairy farming. In this issue we also cover another staple of the UK food shopper, bananas. They have a long and troubled history (see republics-colonial-control) and human rights abuses are sadly still rife in the industry. Luckily Fairtrade and other accreditation schemes have brought some benefits especially to smallholders in Latin America where the majority of the UK’s bananas are imported from. Our Best Buy recommendations can make a real difference to the lives of workers. Bruce Bingham We learned earlier this year that Bruce Bingham had died in January at the age of 56.  Longer term subscribers and supporters may remember his name from articles and other communications.  Bruce worked for Ethical Consumer for its first ten years between 1989 and 1999, at a time when the project was precarious and the pay was very low.  His dedication to Ethical Consumer in these early years played an important part in helping it grow to where it is now.  Thanks Bruce. We are an independent, not-for-profit, multi- stakeholder co-operative founded in 1989 and based in Manchester. Our primary goal is making global businesses more sustainable through consumer pressure. Our mission is to: 1 Help consumers to challenge corporate power by using their economic vote every time they go shopping. 2 Democratise the market by enabling consumers to assert their own ethical values by using our shopping guides. 3 Have a fully transparent ranking system. All our data is available to subscribers. 4 Engage with companies by telling them why we are buying or not buying their products. We also send them detailed questions about their policy and practice on ethical issues. 5 Push for wider political action and legislative change. Ethical consumerism is not a replacement for other forms of political action. But it is an important additional way for people to exert their influence. HOW TO CONTACT US Unit 21, 41 Old Birley Street, Manchester, M15 5RF 0161 226 2929 — 10-5pm — general — subscriptions WHAT IS ETHICAL CONSUMER?