Page last updated at 04:21 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 05:21 UK

Shoppers 'expect ethical trading'

Fairtrade symbol
Fairtrade was worth 700m ($1bn) in UK retail sales in 2008

Most shoppers say they expect companies to act responsibly towards the environment and producers in developing countries, a survey has suggested.

In the poll of 14,500 people in 15 countries, more than half said they were "active ethical consumers".

The UK had the greatest awareness, with more than four out of five saying they recognised the Fairtrade mark.

Rob Cameron of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International said the findings were "very encouraging".

'Better deal'

The survey reported that most respondents wanted firms to actively support community development around the world.

For the purposes of the poll, "active ethical consumers" were defined as those who had higher expectations of industry and business's environmental, economic and social responsibilities of industry.

Global brands see Fairtrade as an important part of their strategy
Rob Cameron
Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International

Mr Cameron, chief executive of the FLOI - the international umbrella organisation for Fairtrade - said support for ethical business practices had been built up by a grassroots movement.

He added: "As a result of their efforts, global brands see Fairtrade as an important part of their strategy for the future.

"We are working with both the grassroots movement and companies to increase the market, so that more producers will benefit from the better deal that Fairtrade offers."

Fairtrade products in the UK generated an estimated £700m ($1bn) in retail sales in 2008.

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