UK Shoppers Opt for Ethical Consumption

27 February 2007

LONDON: UK consumers are increasing their spending on ethical products, according to the Fairtrade Foundation. Latest figures show sales of such goods surged 46% last year to £290 million ($569m; £432m).

Market research firm Mintel expects ethical consumers to spend £2 billion on Fairtrade, organic and locally-sourced products this year, a rise of 62% since 2002. The company believes the market will be worth £547m by 2011.

However, warns the organization's executive director Harriet Lamb, many businesses are not coping fast enough to meet demand from those eager to engage with ethical consumption.

She says: "Way too many companies have yet to wake up to the public's changing expectations. Fairtrade is beginning to move from being an 'optional extra' to a 'must-do'."

The UK's biggest Fairtrade retailer, supermarket Sainsbury's has further embraced the cause by selling only Fairtrade tea, coffee and hot chocolate in its in-store restaurants, and is planning to sell an apparel range made from ethically produced cotton.

Fellow retail giants Marks & Spencer and high street fashion chain Top Shop are also stocking Fairtrade clothing.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff