Friday, January 21, 2005

Fair Trade Consumerism

For those of you who shop with an eye to ethics, today's Guardian has an article on fair trade consumer products:

Ethical consumers are spoiled for choice. Fairtrade, organic, local, second hand, vegan, animal friendly, environmentally sustainable - the list for socially-minded shoppers is constantly growing.

The amount spent on ethical consumerism adds up to £24.7bn a year in the UK, according to the Co-operative Bank's recent ethical purchasing index. While the figures remain low when compared to total domestic consumption (about £1 in every £29 is spent ethically), market growth rates of 40% since 1999 show a strong upward trend for buying ethical goods and services.

The willingness of UK consumers to take action through their wallets is seen most obviously in the uptake of Fairtrade-certified goods, such as tea, coffee and chocolate. This grew by 40% in 2004, and now represents an expenditure of £85m a year.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Fairtrade helps relatively affluent countries like Mexico stay in the coffee business. The consequence is that the oversupply in coffee in maintained. That hurts the price of coffee on the world markets. Fairtrade is making matters worse, not better. Instead of Fairtrade, we should be helping coffee farmers switch to more profitable products.