Christmas shopping set to be the most ethical on record

Chocolate tree ethical Christmas shopping

Good news for ethical business and the planet – this year could be the most ethical Christmas on record, according to the latest Ethical Consumer Markets Report published by Triodos Bank and Ethical Consumer, which shows how sales of ethical goods have grown dramatically over the last year.

The overall ethical market grew by 3.2% in a year when growth generally was below 1%. The UK’s ethical market is now worth £81.3 billion across 27 business sectors, according to the latest edition of the report, which has tracked ethical spending since 1999.

Greenhouse worked with Triodos Bank to promote the report findings:


  • Sales of ethical products in the UK are continuing to grow faster than those of ordinary products, for the fourteenth year in a row.
  • Sales of ethical clothing increased by 22.4% and the sector is now worth £36 million.
  • In a YouGov survey carried out as part of the report, local shopping for environmental reasons was up by 16%.

Food and drink

  • Ethical food and drink has seen 9.7% growth, while conventional foods struggle.
  • The organic food and drink market grew to £1.81 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.8%.
  • Sales of sustainable fish increased by 36.9% and the sector is now worth £694 million.
  • In a YouGov survey carried out as part of the report, the number of vegetarians increased by 30%.

Rob Harrison, co-editor at Ethical Consumer, said: “The growth in local shopping is a particularly significant trend in a world where it can feel like everything is going online. It appears that demand for locally produced artisan food, from bread to craft beer, is driving a revival of local shopping. Shoppers increasingly want to know where their food comes from, and that it’s come from somewhere as local as possible to reduce its carbon footprint.”

Bevis Watts, Managing Director at Triodos Bank UK, said: “It is encouraging to see that more and more people are consciously choosing ethical and local options at Christmas and rejecting mindless consumerism. The Ethical Consumer Markets Report is incredibly important in helping understand and promote the shift that is happening towards ethical purchasing and behaviour. Where we spend, save and invest has a huge impact on our environment and the world around us.”

Our top three gifts for an ethical Christmas

Triodos Bank has a history of working with some of the UK’s foremost ethical companies. We pick out three of the bank’s clients which sell great Christmas gifts:

Neal's Yard production line ethical Christmas gifts

  • Neal’s Yard Remedies (above) has some great options friends or relatives who value good toiletries. The award-winning organic health and beauty company was one of the original pioneers of ethical cosmetics when it opened its doors in 1981. It now offers the largest selection of organic, natural and chemical-free beauty products in the UK.
  • Sweet-toothed relatives are sure to appreciate a gift from award-winning craft chocolate producer Chocolate Tree. They use heritage cacao varieties farmed without pesticides from farms in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Madagascar. This allows them to create fine flavour chocolate while protecting biodiversity and rewarding farmers with a premium price for their produce.
  • For coffee lovers, there are now many Fairtrade and organic options available. Cafédirectwas the first 100% Fairtrade hot drinks brand in the UK. The social enterprise goes further than many others, investing 50% of its profits to date into the Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation, a UK-based charity that is run by farmers, for farmers, in 14 countries across the world.

At Greenhouse, we support a wide variety of organisations pioneering new standards of sustainability across multiple sectors. Whether it’s fashion, finance or farming, we’re always on the look-out for new opportunities to reach our clients’ target audiences. If you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, we’d love to hear from you.