Consumers Choose Animals Over Planet

UK - Animal welfare and fair trade are far bigger concerns to UK consumers than climate change, according to a huge new poll of UK shoppers.
calendar icon 6 February 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Only 4% rate climate change as their top ethical priority, compared with 21% who think animal welfare is the most important issue and 14% who rate fair trade as their key concern. .

"People can choose to buy Fairtrade or Freedom Food labels, but there is no carbon label yet."
Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-operative Group

The findings come from a survey conducted by the Co-op grocery business that has been used to draw up a "responsible retailing" policy, designed to reflect shoppers' concerns.

The Co-op claims the survey is the biggest poll of consumer ethics ever undertaken. The supermarket group analysed responses to a detailed, four-page questionnaire from more than 100,000 members and customers. It intends to use their responses to guide changes to the way it does business.

As a result of the survey the Co-op is halting the sale and use of eggs from caged hens with immediate effect. The 2,700-strong supermarket chain is also ensuring all its own-brand tea - including its 99 brand - becomes fair trade. The customer-owned grocery business, which made all of its coffee fair trade five years ago, intends to absorb the extra costs so that prices do not go up.

Three main categories emerged from the survey as the key areas of concern: ethical trading (27%), animal welfare (25%) and environmental impact (22%).

Shoppers' worries about the environment are focused on issues other than climate change. Twice as many are concerned about the amount of packaging on their food as think global warming is the most important issue.

Source: TheGuardian
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