Corporation Institute (ECI) has found the current economic climate is having little effect on consumer desires towards making ‘ethical’ purchases. Demand for produce certified by organisations like the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade is soaring in 2009. We can expect further growth in the market for industry standards and certification.
Rob Cameron, head of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, told the Annual Responsible Business Summit in London last month that consumption of products under the Fairtrade label is continuing to rise. Retail sales volume is expected to increase from €2.4 billion in 2007 to €3 billion when the 2008 figures are released. This rise will have been aided by partnerships with the likes of Starbucks and Cadburys.
Last month the Rainforest Alliance reported that the amount of forest and farmland certified by Rainforest Alliance will continue to soar along with demand for products that meet standards for social and environmental sustainability.
“The drive is coming from all along the value chain and especially companies. We’ve never seen more interest from companies, from consumers and from producers,” said Chris Wille, Rainforest Alliance chief of Sustainable Agriculture.
It’s clear retailers seeking to cut costs in the economic downturn, need to continue investing in environmental sustainability to retain customers.
Sharon Greene, Managing Director of RISK International told ECI that their recent studies show 72% of European consumers prefer ethical brands.
‘In order to keep customers and other stakeholders engaged with their brand, companies need to stay abreast of the recent developments in this sector’ says Pam Muckosy, Head of Research at the ECI.’