Spending on green goods has increased by 5%, with each household spending an average of £251 on environmentally friendly products

12/12/2009 Guardian UK households are slowly going green and are now spending more than £250 a year on environmentally friendly products such as low-energy lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances, figures suggested today.The Co-operative bank’s annual Ethical consumerism report showed that expenditure on green products and services topped £6.4bn in 2008. Despite the recession, spending on green goods increased by 5% on the previous year, with each household spending an average of £251 on environmentally friendly products.  The figure has steadily risen over the past few years, according to the report, but still only accounts for less than 1% of household expenditure. Spending on energy-efficient appliances, boilers and lightbulbs has all risen across the country as a whole, as has cash for green transport, small-scale renewables and green energy tariffs.

Tim Franklin, chief operating officer at the Co-operative bank, said the figures showed political leaders - who are attempting to secure a new deal on tackling climate change at crunch UN talks in Copenhagen - that many people in the UK were working hard to adopt a greener lifestyle. But he added: “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.” He said the leadership of ethical consumers and innovation by business worked best when backed up by “thoughtful” government intervention - as in the case of phasing out inefficient lightbulbs.

“We now need to see such initiatives in a raft of new areas such as transport and electronic goods,” he urged. In October, the Conservative leader, David Cameron, called for a “green consumer revolution” and companies including Tesco and Coca-Cola suggested climate catastrophe could be averted by “greening” consumer behaviour. The full Ethical consumerism report will be published later this month.

Go to: