What is an ethical consumer?

Some of you may have wandered onto this page, wondering what exactly is an ethical footprint, or what it means to be an ethical consumer. You have come to the right place. As all of the members of this blog, we have been studying about postcolonialism this year, and have learned a great amount of knowledge about colonialism, globalization, and ethical consumerism. Through this class we have become more conscious of the world around us, as consumers, but mainly as human beings.

During this class we have discussed what it means to be an ethical consumer. we have learned many different things from our professor, Dr. Massod Raja, who happens to be a very ethical consumer. Many of his clothes were either purchased from second hand stores, or directly from his native country, Pakistan. We have learned that it is possible to buy food that is also grown ethically. Our professor has told us that shopping at farmer’s markets is one way of finding food that was ethically grown. After learning about his ethical ways, we decided that our class project should be a blog informing people of ways they can help the environment and the people who produce every little product we use.

An ethical footprint is a way of measuring how much of an ethical consumer you are. In this blog, we will be trying to inform the people that happen to stop by here about ways that will help reduce their ethical footprint. While looking for definitions of what an ethical consumer is, I found very few good definitions, but one stood out above all:

“An ‘ethical consumer’ looks for products which, above all, are both friendly to the environment and also the people who produce them. An ethical consumer is therefore aware of the consequences of production, consumption and disposal. They have clear expectations of how they expect a company to behave and expect ethical companies to conform to ethical standards” (Marketing Profs).

With this definition in mind, your idea of what is ethical and non-ethical can be completely different from someone else’s idea. Your idea of what is ethical will most likely be affected by your own ethics, customs and values. In our opinion, ethical consumerism involves the public having the knowledge of how the products they consume on a daily basis are made and sold. Many of the other students in my class have given good examples of stores and companies that are ethical and non-ethical.

We believe that there are many people that would try to be more ethical consumers, once they were informed of the things that go on in this world. There are links on this page that will help you gain the knowledge about products. As I was looking for definitions of what an ethical consumer is, I came upon a website that rates different companies based on how ethical they are. There are about 170 buyer’s guide comparisons that you can subscribe to with a subscriber’s fee (www.ethiscore.org). On this same website, there are a few reports that are actually free to the public. There is actually a magazine from the UK, that also gives good ideas on how to be a more ethical and green consumer (www.ethicalconsumer.org). The only downside to these websites, as is true with many others, is that you have to pay for this knowledge.

By: Agata Jagusztyn