Environmental concerns fuel growth

A new report by market analyst Datamonitor reveals that Brits' spend per head on fair-trade products outstrips that of the rest of Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

In Europe, the UK remains the largest market for fair-trade products with a value of £395m (£6.50 per capita) in 2007, followed by France and Germany with a value of £125m (£2.50 per capita) and £99m (£1.20 per capita) respectively.

By 2012, Datamonitor expects the UK market for fair-trade goods to exceed £800m.

Nick Beevors, consultant market analyst at Datamonitor, said: "Environmental concerns represent the most important issue in ethical consumption today, helping to drive the growth of ethical markets such as fair-trade."

He added: "Consumers are becoming more concerned with how their actions are affecting the world around them even eclipsing general concerns about society, economic and animal cruelty issues."

Beevors explained that as more businesses adopt more ethically sound policies. transparency and trust will become an increasingly important currency as manufacturers attempt to cool a potential consumer backlash to 'greenwashing' in the search for a clear, honest and effective environmental benefits.

He said: "Consumers increasingly want to become enagaged with issues such as origin and production details. Fair-trade labelling is something that gives them a degree of confidence over these issues."