Consumption Ethics in Society

‌The second seminar of the Ethics in Consumption: Interdisciplinary Perspectives series, took place on 2nd June 2015, hosted by the University of Leicester. This seminar was based around the topic 'Consumption Ethics in Society' and addressed the implications of consumption ethics as located in, and as a consequence of consumer culture. 

The multifaceted nature of consumption ethics has become more pronounced in recent decades as consumer culture has established itself as a normalised aspect of everyday life. No longer bound to the counter-cultural fringes, ethical concerns and practices are reaching into the mainstream of society. Interest is not restricted to those seeking to practise ethics in consumption, this burgeoning movement is drawing the attention of academics, activist organisations, government bodies, journalists, media, celebrities, primary industry, manufacturing sectors, art, design, architecture and retailers, thus, embedding consumption ethics in the fabric of broader society. Increasing awareness of the ethics of consumption, visibility of the consequences of unsustainable consumption and availability of ethical products and services, has facilitated the rise of the multifaceted ‘ethical’ citizen and consumer and given rise to discussion as to the boundaries of what should be considered ‘ethical consumption’. 

A programme of the event is now available to download: Consumption Ethics in Society (pdf, 91kb)

Recordings and photography

Recordings of the seminar and interviews with guest speakers are now available online: Recordings 

Guest speakers

Guest speakers at this event were Professor Ian Cook (University of Exeter), Professor Marylyn Carrigan (University of Conventry), Dr Caroline Moraes (University of Conventry) and Professor Juliet Schor (Boston College). Profiles and presentations can be viewed below:

Profile photo of Ian CookProfessor Ian Cook

Associate Professor of Geography, College of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter

Presentation topic: Making conversation about ethical consumption on followthethings.com  

Ian's talk started with a discussion on his article Follow the Thing: Papaya(PDF, 3.38MB)

Ian is a cultural geographer with longstanding interests in material geographies, multi-sited ethnographic research, connective aesthetics and critical pedagogy. He combines these in/as 'follow the thing' work. In recent years he has added to these interests new media ecology and commodity activism, after experimenting with blogging as a means to write collaboratively about the geographies of food, and with web design to create followthethings.com, a spoof online shop, resource, database and fieldsite stocked with provocative 'follow the thing' work by academics, students, filmmakers, artists, journalists and others. He writes as 'Ian Cook et al' to acknowledge the collaborative nature of all of his work.

In the autumn of 2013, Ian joined an international coalition of NGOs and ethical fashion people determined to mark the anniversary of collapse the Rana Plaza factory as Fashion Revolution Day. In the summer of 2014, he ran a week long student-public engagement event in two disused units in an Exeter shopping centre on Fashion ethics after the Rana Plaza collapse. For 2015, Fashion Revolution Day’s question for brands is ‘Who made my clothes?’and its motto is ‘Be curious. Find out. Do something’. This year, Ian has led its education activities.

Contact

Email: i.j.cook@ex.ac.uk | Twitter: @followthethings

Selected blog posts

Ian Cook (2015) Be Curious. Find Out. Do Something. European Year for Development 17 February

Ian Cook (2011) ‘What would you say to the person who made your shirt?‘Eden Project blog 9 October 

Selected publications

Ian Cook et al (in press) Critical making with web2.0: on the material geographies in/of followthethings.com. Géographie et Culture

Ian Cook et al (2014) Organic Public Geographies and REF Impact. Acme: an International E-journal for Critical Geographies, 13(1), 47-51.

Ian Cook, Peter Jackson, Allison Hayes-Conroy, Sebastian Abrahamsson, Rebecca Sandover, Mimi Sheller, Heike Henderson, Lucius Hallett IV, Shoko Imai, Damian Maye & Ann Hill (2013) Food’s cultural geographies: texture, creativity & publics. in Nuala Johnson, Rich Schein & Jamie Winders (eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Cultural Geography, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 343-354

Ian Cook & Tara Woodyer (2012) Lives of things. in Eric Sheppard, Trevor Barnes & Jamie Peck (eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 226-241

Ian Cook & Divya Tolia-Kelly (2010) Material geographies. in Dan Hicks & Mary Beaudry (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ian Cook, James Evans, Helen Griffiths, Rebecca Morris & Sarah Wrathmell (2007) 'It's more than just what it is': defetishising commodities, expanding fields, mobilising change…. Geoforum, 38(6), 1113-1126

Ian Cook & Michelle Harrison (2007) Follow the thing: ‘West Indian hot pepper sauce’. Space and Culture, 10(1), 40-63

Ian Cook et al (2004) Follow the thing: papaya. Antipode, 36(4), 642-664 

Ethics in Consumption, Seminar 2Professor Marylyn Carrigan

Professor in Marketing, Centre for Business in Society (CBiS), University of Coventry

Presentation topic: Why don't people consume ethically? Societal barriers to ethical consumption, with Caroline Moraes (Presentation, pdf, 176kb)

Marylyn Carrigan is Professor of Marketing in the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Coventry University, Faculty of Business, Environment and Society. Prof. Carrigan's current research into CSR and small firms focuses on the implications for responsible business practices in the supply chain for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She has investigated this in the context of the luxury fashion industry, and more recently focusing on the UK jewellery industry.  Her past research pioneered work on the conflicts and tensions across 'ordinary shopping' behaviour in general, and 'ethical shopping' behaviour in particular' and she has published extensively in this area. Her current work to promote more responsible practices in the jewellery industry includes membership of the Responsible Jewellery Council Standards Committee, and acting in an independent advisory capacity to Fairtrade Gold and other industry practitioners and trade associations. Personal Statement Should I choose ethical, locally grown, Fairtrade, organic, environmentally friendly, big brand or small independent? Like most people, and despite over 30 years researching the marketing and consumer ethics field, I still struggle to make 'the right' decision when I go shopping. I never claim to be an ethical shopper, just one with good intentions to make the best choice I can within the values I hold, the resources I have, and the obligations and competing priorities of daily life I face. For most people it is hard work to shop ethically; it is also hard work to be an ethical company as some of my research has shown. So, I try and buy from people and brands I trust, ask questions when I can, and keep researching when I am not sure.

Selected outputs

  • Carrigan, M., and Duberley, J. (2013) Time triage: exploring the temporal strategies that support entrepreneurship and motherhood, Time & Society, 22(1), 92:118
  • Carrigan, M., Moraes, C., and McEachern, M. (2013) 'From conspicuous to considered fashion: A harm chain approach to the responsibilities of fashion businesses'. Journal of Marketing Management.
  • Dibb, S. and Carrigan, M. (2013) Social marketing transformed: Kotler, Polonsky and Hastings reflect on social marketing in a period of social change, European Journal of Marketing, Special Issue: Social Marketing, Social Change, 47(9) 1376: 1398
  • McEachern, M., and Carrigan, M. (2013) Revisiting contemporary issues in green and ethical marketing, Key Issues in Marketing Management Special Issue Book Series, Taylor & Francis: Abingdon. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415723824/
  • Moraes, C., Carrigan, M., and Szmigin, I. (2012) 'The coherence of inconsistencies: attitude-behaviour gaps and New Consumption Communities'. Journal of Marketing Management 28 (1-2), 103-128.
  • Duberley, J., and Carrigan, M. (2012) 'The career identities of ‘Mumpreneurs’: women’s experiences of combining enterprise and motherhood'. International Small Business Journal 30 (3).
  • Carrigan, M., Moraes, C., and Leek, S. (2011) 'Fostering Responsible Communities: A Community Social Marketing Approach to Sustainable Living'. Journal of Business Ethics 100 (3), 515-534.

Profile photo of Caroline MoraesDr Caroline Moraes

Reader in Marketing, Centre for Business in Society (CBiS), University of Coventry

Presentation topic: Why don't people consume ethically? Societal barriers to ethical consumption, with Marylyn Carrigan (Presentation, pdf, 176kb)

Caroline Moraes is a Reader in Marketing in the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS). Her main research interests include marketing and consumer ethics, consumer activism, power issues in consumer culture, and ethical issues in consumer research. Caroline Moraes has won several prizes including the ‘Rising Star Award 2012’ and the ‘Award for Excellence in Teaching and Supporting Learning 2010-11’ at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Caroline has published her work in various journals including the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Marketing Management, International Journal of Consumer Studies, the Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Consumption Markets & Culture and the Journal of Travel Research. Her research has been funded by the ASSC First Grant Scheme, the Academy of Marketing and the ESRC Festival of Social Science. She has acted as an expert witness on consumer autonomy and choice for the Food and Fairness Inquiry organised by the Food Ethics Council, and as a guest speaker for both Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and Responsible Trade Worldwide (RTW). She has also written industry impact papers for the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and The Conversation. Caroline is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Advertising Research and has acted as a reviewer for a number of academic journals as well as the ESRC. Further, she is a Non-Executive Board Member of Craftspace, an Arts Council of England National Portfolio Organisation. Before embarking on her academic career, Caroline worked in market research and held international account management posts in the advertising industry. Personally Caroline regards her ethics as flexible, where practices of recycling, seeking longevity in clothing and volunteering sit along a busy work life which requires a car for commuting, little time to cook from scratch or access ethical alternatives and flights abroad for conferences as well as to visit family.

Selected outputs

  • Moraes, C., Michaelidou, N. and Meneses, R. W. (2014) ‘The Use of Facebook to Promote Drinking among Young Consumers’. Journal of Marketing Management 30 (13-14), 1377-1401
  • Spiteri-Cornish, L. and Moraes, C. (forthcoming) ‘The Impact of Consumer Confusion on Nutrition Literacy and Subsequent Dietary Behavior’. Psychology & Marketing.
  • Moraes, C. (2014) ‘Using Multi-Sited Ethnography: An Exploration of Consumer Resistance, Community and Power at New Consumption Communities’. SAGE Research Methods Cases Collection Online, invited peer-reviewed contribution.
  • Alversia, Y. Michaelidou, N. and Moraes, C. (2014) ‘Customer Engagement’. In C. L. Cooper (ed.), WILEY Encyclopaedia of Management, 3rd Edition - Marketing Volume, Wiley, invited peer-reviewed contribution.
  • Michaelidou, N., Siamagka, N.T., Moraes, C., and Micevski, M. (2013) 'Do Marketers Use Visual Representations of Destinations That Tourists Value? Comparing Visitors' Image of a Destination with Marketer-Controlled Images Online'. Journal of Travel Research, 52(6), pp. 789 – 804.
  • Carrigan, M., Moraes, C., and McEachern, M. (2013) 'From Conspicuous to Considered Fashion: A Harm Chain Approach to the Responsibilities of Fashion Businesses'. Journal of Marketing Management, 29 (11/12), pp. 1277 – 1307.
  • Moraes, C., Carrigan, M., and Szmigin, I. (2012) 'The Coherence of Inconsistencies: Attitude-Behaviour Gaps and New Consumption Communities'. Journal of Marketing Management 28 (1-2), 103-128.
  • Moraes, C., Shaw, D., and Carrigan, M. (2011) 'Purchase Power: An Examination of Consumption as Voting'. Journal of Marketing Management 27 (9-10), 1059-1079.
  • Carrigan, M., Moraes, C., and Leek, S. (2011) 'Fostering Responsible Communities: A Community Social Marketing Approach to Sustainable Living'. Journal of Business Ethics 100 (3), 515-534.
  • Moraes, C., Szmigin, I., and Carrigan, M. (2010) 'Living Production-Engaged Alternatives: An Examination of New Consumption Communities'. Consumption Markets and Culture 13 (3), 273-298.
  • Bekin (nee Moraes), C., Szmigin, I. and Carrigan, M. (2008) ‘Communally Living the Positive Alternative’. In H. Cherrier and F. Gandolfi (ed.), Downshifting: A Theoretical and Practical Approach to Living a Simplified Life, ICFAI University Press, pp. 135-61.

Seminar 2, June 2015Professor Juliet Schor

Professor of Sociology, Sociology Department, Boston College 

Presentation topic: Situating the ethical consumer: individual action and systematic change

Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College and in 2014-15 she is serving as the Matina S. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Schor is also a member of the MacArthur Foundation Connected Learning Research Network. Schor’s research focuses on issues of time use, consumption and environmental sustainability. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years, in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women's Studies. In 2014 Schor received the American Sociological Association’s award for Public Understanding of Sociology.

Schor’s most recent books are Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy (Yale University Press, 2014) which she co-edited with Craig Thompson, and True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy (2011 by The Penguin Press, previously published as Plenitude. More information can be found at julietschor.org.) As part of her work with the MacArthur Foundation, Schor is currently researching the “connected economy,” via a series of case studies of sharing platforms and their participants. She is also studying the relation between working hours, carbon emissions and economic growth.

Schor’s previous books include the national best-seller The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (Basic Books, 1992) and The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (Basic Books, 1998). The Overworked American appeared on the best-seller lists of The New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, The Village Voice The Boston Globe as well as the annual best books list for The New York Times, Business Week and other publications. The book is widely credited for influencing the national debate on work and family. The Overspent American was also made into a video of the same name, by the Media Education Foundation (September 2003).

Schor also wrote Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (Scribner 2004). She is the author of Do Americans Shop Too Much? (Beacon Press 2000), co-editor of Consumer Society: A Reader (The New Press 2000) and co-editor of Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-first Century (Beacon Press 2002). She has also co-edited a number of academic collections. Schor’s scholarly articles have appeared in the Economic Journal, The Review of Economics and Statistics, World Development, Industrial Relations, The Journal of Economic Psychology, Ecological Economics, The Journal of Industrial Ecology, The Journal of Consumer Research, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and The Journal of Consumer Culture, among others.

 Schor is a former Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the 2011 Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics. She is also an occasional contributor to the Guardian Sustainable Business Pages. In 2006 she received the Leontief Prize from the Global Development and Economics Institute at Tufts University for expanding the frontiers of economic thought. She has also received the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language from the National Council of Teachers of English. She has served as a consultant to the United Nations, at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, and to the United Nations Development Program. In 2012 Schor organized the first Summer Institute in New Economics, a week-long program for PhD students in the social sciences, and repeated the program in 2013.

Schor is a co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream (newdream.org), a national sustainability organization where she served on the board for more than 15 years. She is also on the board of the Better Future Project, one of the country’s most successful climate activism organizations. She is a co-founder of the South End Press and the Center for Popular Economics. She is a former Trustee of Wesleyan University, an occasional faculty member at Schumacher College, and a former fellow of the Brookings Institution. Schor has lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe and Japan to a variety of civic, business, labor and academic groups. She appears frequently on national and international media, and profiles on her and her work have appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and People magazine. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show on CBS, numerous stories on network news, as well as many other television and radio news programs.

Recent publications (pdf, 21.9kb)