UK households slowly going green

Nia Williams

December 11, 2009

Despite the recession, spending on sustainable products and services over the past year has increased by five per cent with each UK household now spending on average £251 per annum on green items.

The data from The Co-operative Bank’s annual Ethical Consumerism Report, which will be published later this month, highlights that expenditure on environmentally friendly products and services such as energy efficient appliances, green energy and carbon offsetting now amounts to more than £6,400 million.

Tim Franklin, chief operating officer at The Co-operative Bank, said: “This report acts as a timely reminder to political leaders that many people in the UK are working hard to adopt a greener lifestyle.

“However, whilst ethical consumers are playing a vital role in the early adoption and development of environmental products and services and now spend more than £6 billion per annum, this still accounts for less than one percent of total household expenditure.

“In order for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 there will need to be a step-change in take-up of low carbon technologies, and this will need a new contract between business, government and the consumer.

“The leadership of ethical consumers and the innovation of business work best when backed up by thoughtful government intervention. This has happened with white goods, boilers and light bulbs – where inefficient laggards have been phased out. We now need to see such initiatives in a raft of new areas, such as transport and electronic goods.”

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