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News - 18 July 2008

Majority of shoppers think ethically

Research by The Co-operative Bank has revealed that the majority of Brits (61%) now consider ethical issues when shopping.

The research highlights that the vast majority of people who are looking to shop ethically will do so at their weekly shop to the local supermarket (53%). However more than one in ten people now take ethical factors into consideration when taking a trip down the high street (14%), shopping online (17%), or thinking about a major purchase such as a car or holiday (14%).

With the local supermarket the most popular outlet for ethical shoppers, it follows that the findings reveal the category where shoppers are most influenced by ethics is food and drink (60%). However more than a fifth of consumers also weigh up ethical factors when purchasing cosmetics (25%), clothing (21 %) and home cleaning products (17%).

Furthermore, when looking at specific items in more detail, the findings show that coffee (35%), eggs (34%) and tea (31%) are the most likely products, which trigger ethical purchasing decisions.

With the recent Government calls for a reduction in plastic bag consumption, the findings also highlight the ethical topic of most concern for people is the use of plastic bags (52%). This is followed by fair-trade issues (42%) and animal testing (37%).

The study also reveals the main motivation for people to make ethical choices is to ensure the world is a better place for future generations (38%), although one in ten people admit that shopping ethically makes them feel good about themselves (10%).

Conversely the main reason for not shopping ethically is that people feel it is too expensive (48%) or they feel that there is a general lack of information about which products are ethical (24%).

Maxine Xodo, Product Manager for The Co-operative Bank think credit card comments: “ The research clearly shows that ethical issues are now much more front of mind for consumers when they are shopping. With a much wider selection of ethical options than ever before, customers now have the option to make choices, which can really make a difference.”

The top ethical concerns for shoppers

1. Use of plastic bags

2. Fairtrade issues

3. Animal testing for cosmetics

4. Climate change

5. Energy ratings of household applianc

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