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In the Co-Op Bank study, ethical consumerism in 2005 was said to be up 11% per cent on the previous year, even though UK household expenditure increased by only 1.4% per cent during the same period.
According to the report, demand is so strong that ethical consumerism exceeded sales of ‘vice’ sales for over-the-counter cigarettes and alcohol.
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 beer is a milestone.” He added that “the efforts of far-sighted, highly motivated consumers” need to be supported by “business innovation and government intervention.”
Although the report included ethical products as a whole, most significant increases were in sales of beverages and foods, with fair trade goods and free-range eggs up 18% per cent in 2005 up from £4.6 billion to £5.4 billion.