Ethical consumerism has become mainstream, especially in emerging economies, as consumers increasingly pick products that have ethical credentials such as supporting social justice or paying fair wages to workers. As of 2016, 40% of global consumers mostly or always check on-pack ethical or sustainability logos when shopping, with an additional 31% of consumers occasionally checking. This is a reflection of consumers increasingly “voting with their wallets” to support business practices that tie into their own beliefs and ethical concerns. This growing awareness of ethical issues has been fuelled by the rise of globalization, the internet, and greater media coverage of unethical business practices. Recent scandals involving labor exploitation, unfair wages and environmental degradation have also been a driving factor for consumer behaviour in this area.
According to GlobalData’s Q3 2016 survey 40% of global consumers would consider buying a product that supports Fair Trade; indicating widespread popularity for ethical consumerism on a global level. Fair Trade successfully engages with consumers, particularly millennials, by emphasizing their quality, virtues and how it effectively empowers local communities. In fact, ethical products are so popular with millennials that 50% of global 25-34 year olds are willing to pay more for goods that support certain social causes or beliefs, like Fair Trade, compared to only 32% of over 65s.