Ethical spending hits ‘record highs’, Co-op reveals

The Co-op has revealed ethical consumer spending and finance in the UK is at its record high, accounting to £122 billion.

However, brand boycotts on ethical grounds have also increased by 18% to almost £4 billion, according to the Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism Report.

The supermarket’s study, which has tracked consumer shopping habits since 1999, revealed in just 10 years, the UK ‘green pound’ has more than doubled from £51 billion, despite Britons withholding cash to boycott brands due to social or environmental concerns.

The report also revealed ethical shoppers have moved towards the vegetarian and plant-based food and drinks sector which experienced a 34% sales increase to almost £1.5 billion.

READ MORE: Consumers to demand drink cans should be ethically sourced, ex-minister says

Sales data from the symbol group retailer revealed plant-based burgers out-performed meat-based counterparts by 24% in 2021.

“Our Ethical Consumerism Report is a barometer on consumer behaviour and shoppers are turning up the heat to boycott businesses which fail to act on ethical or social concerns,” Co-op’s chief executive Steve Murrells said.

“The report is a warning to brands that they must do business in a better way for workers, communities and the planet but it offers clear evidence to policy-makers that they can positively influence change.”

“We know that we can achieve greater things together, which is why we’ve promised with our supermarket counterparts to halve our environmental impacts by the end of this decade,” he added.

Moreover, the report unveiled concerns over Fairtrade, animal welfare and sustainable food sourcing accounts for almost £9 billion.

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