Consumers are putting their money where their mouths are. Or at least they are taking more care in choosing how they spend money on what goes into their mouths. That is one way of interpreting the latest data from the Soil Association which shows that sales of organic products in the UK rose by 4% in 2014, in a year when consumer spending on food declined by 1%. The fact is that organic sales remain a small part of the market in the UK, with just 1.3% share of supermarket sales, so most consumers are not interested. However, 56% of baby food spending is organic, suggesting that parents care more about their babies’ mouths than their own. The next biggest category is yoghurt where 8% of sales are organic. Care for what goes into your mouth may be the motivating factor for most consumers, but arguably care for the environment is an even stronger reason to pay up for organic products.
At the end of December 2014, the FP WHEB Sustainability Fund was analysed by external experts[i] to determine the volume of carbon emissions generated by companies in the fund. This analysis showed that 91 tonnes of CO2e[ii] was produced per £1million invested in the fund. This compares with 282 tonnes of CO2e per £1million invested in the fund’s benchmark. An investment in the WHEB fund therefore has a carbon ‘footprint’ that is 70% less than an equivalent investment in the benchmark.