The UK’s annual spending on ethical products such as free-range eggs, electric cars and plant-based foods has hit a record Â£ 122 billion in 2020, according to a new report.
The value of the ‘green pound’ has increased 90% since the figures were first recorded in 1999, when consumers spent Â£ 11.2 billion on ethical products, according to the 2021 Co- report. op on ethical consumption.
The amount of money people withholding from companies under ‘brand boycotts’ has also increased by 18%, to a total of almost Â£ 4 billion.
A sharp increase in ethical spending was seen in the food industry, with sales of plant-based foods and beverages increasing 34% to almost Â£ 1.5bn.
The most popular meatless options were plant-based burgers, which outperformed other products by 24%.
Co-op reported that its own numbers revealed that vegetarian ready meals were 15 percent more popular than those that contained meat.
In addition, sales of eggs from free-range hens exceeded Â£ 1billion for the first time.
Concerns over the climate crisis have also influenced other areas of spending. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, 75 percent of UK adults are concerned about its impact.
This was reflected in sales of electric cars, the value of which nearly doubled from Â£ 5.4bn to Â£ 10.4bn – the biggest increase in ethical spending across any industry.
The fashion industry, which accounts for 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions, has also been affected by a shift in the spending habits of UK adults. More and more people have chosen to buy second-hand clothes, with sales reaching Â£ 846million.
Additionally, people are spending more money on ethical cosmetics, such as those that are cruelty-free and have not been tested on animals. Sales of these products increased by 11% in 2020, reaching a total of almost Â£ 1 billion.
Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op Group, commented: âOur report on ethical consumption is a barometer of consumer behavior and buyers are pushing up the pressure to boycott companies that do not act on ethical or social issues .
“The report is a warning to brands that they need to do business in a better way for workers, communities and the planet, but it offers policymakers clear evidence that they can positively influence change.”