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‘Ethical’ shopping overtakes booze and fags

Boom in ethical spending hits milestone


The amount spent on ‘ethical’ products in the UK has outstripped sales of beer and cigarettes for the first time, a report out today says.

The value of ethical shopping hit a record high of £29.3 billion in 2005, according to the Co-op, overtaking the £28 billion worth of retail sales for booze and cigarettes.

The Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism Report evaluates the value of consumers’ ‘ethical spending’ on food, transport, energy, holidays and financial products.

It says the total spend in 2005 rose by 11 per cent on the previous year.

That increase outstripped the 1.4 per cent increase in overall UK household expenditure.

Organic products, Fairtrade goods, free-range eggs and other so-called ethical food products enjoyed an 18 per cent year-on-year boost to £5.4 billion, the report says.

Energy-efficient electrical goods, ‘green’ mortgage repayments, wind-turbines and other green energy products rose to £4.1 billion compared to £3.8 billion the previous year.

Money spent on ethical banking and investments rose from £10.6 billion to £11.6 billion.

The Co-op’s executive director of business management Craig Shannon said: ‘The fact that the value of ethical consumerism is now higher than the retail figures for cigarettes and beers is a milestone.’

But he warned that ethical spending had only become the norm in a minority of markets.

The Co-op’s report draws on general spending figures from the Office for National Statistics. Its ethical spending figures were sourced from company sales figures plus a variety of trade bodies.

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