The most pressing issues currently facing the average UK consumer are animal welfare and promoting fair trade, with climate change barely raising a concern in comparison.
According to a new survey by the Co-op, only 4% rate climate change as their top ethical priority.
This is way below animal welfare (21%) and fair trade (14%) in a survey that gathered information from around 100,000 customers and members – from grocery shoppers to bank account holders – on what they regard as their own ethical priorities.
The Co-op is now using the information to shape its own policies, but the survey also highlights that although general awareness about ethical consumerism is rising there are still large gaps in the public’s understanding.
Three main categories emerged from the survey as the key areas of concern – ethical trading (27%), animal welfare (25%) and environmental impact (22%). And yet despite the awareness of environmental issues, the fact that only 4% highlighted climate change as a major concern suggests that the public remains confused about what the issue actually means.
It certainly adds weight to claims that with two very distinct sides to the climate change argument jostling for position, the lack of clear, concise and impartial information is antagonising the public. To make matters worse, those supposedly on the same side of the climate change debate have a tendency to argue amongst themselves.
So the good news appears to be that the UK’s consumers level of ethical awareness is continuing to rise.
The bad news is that confusion remains the dominant characteristic of one of the biggest debates of all – the future of our planet.