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18 June, 2008

Scale of the problem

Contrary to marketing claims, 'ethical' fairtrade and organic goods are still failing to make any genuine impact on the UK's mainstream retail market, partly because retailers aren't reinvesting excessive prices in developing products people actually want.

A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, reported by the Guardian (ordinarily a bastion of slacktivist propaganda, I'd have thought) found that:

  • Almost half of 4,000 consumers questioned said they were unwilling or unable to pay more for environmentally sustainable food and consumer goods.
  • On average, suckers shoppers paid 45% more for 'environmentally friendly' and fair trade goods.
  • Shoppers said they are only willing to pay a premium of about 20% for greener products.
  • Organic and fair trade products only have a 4% share of the total UK retail market.

I hope it's clear that I oppose two specific schemes (organic agriculture and Fairtrade) and self-satisfied Green rhetoric: more meaningful, more rational measures such as reduction of packaging do have my support.



that's interesting. what's your objection to Fairtrade? of all the various Worthiness/Virtue schemes, it's always seemed to me to be the least toxic/most genuinely aligned with its stated aims. which aims i find worthy.

Posted by Saltation at June 24, 2008 01:37 AM
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