While most people are feeling the pinch during these difficult economic times, they haven't stopped caring about their fellow creatures - of both the human and animal variety!
As the ethical fashion and food categories of the RSPCA Good Business Awards are launched today, companies are finding that being animal welfare-friendly is better for business than it has ever been.
It's no longer acceptable to sell goods without proving their provenance, as shoppers continue to be concerned about the origin of the items they purchase and the production process behind them.
Food for thought
Our Freedom Food scheme has reported a 52 per cent increase in animals farmed under their welfare label over the last five years.
Our latest available figures show a rise in animal numbers reared under Freedom Food from around 49 million at the end of 2006, to more than 75 million at the end of last year.
This means that about 26 million more animals are now benefitting from being reared to the RSPCA's higher welfare standards compared to five years ago.
Good animal welfare now makes real business sense. It also makes a real point-of-difference in a very competitive market place.
Strong public opposition to the use of fur and calls for better traceability shows that the fashion companies who excelled at last year's RSPCA Good Business Awards know what consumers want.
Winners included British fashion company Rapanui, which was given the Innovation award for its use of QR codes (a type of bar code) on product labels.
Customers can scan the tag using a smart phone to view interactive information about the origins of the raw materials in the garment. At the time judges described the idea as 'game changing'.
Businesses worthy of the Good Business Award accolade show a commitment to not using fur, exotic skins or karakul lambskin pelts and must have a policy on sourcing merino wool.
Is your business ethical or are you chicken?
In order to mark the launch of the RSPCA's Good Business Awards, up-and-coming sculptor Mark O'Brien caused a flap among Londoners this week when his giant chicken - made entirely out of recycled card - crossed many an iconic road.
The feathered friend was seen spreading the Good Business Awards message from Cock Lane to Abbey Road.
For more information about the Good Business Awards and how to enter visit: www.rspcagoodbusinessawards.com
To find out more about ethical food and fashion visit: www.goodthings.org.uk
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