Ethical Consumption Talk Review

A recording of the recent ZOOM talk to Shropshire Humanists by Alex Crumbie about Ethical Consumption can be seen here:

A review by Shropshire Humanists member, Nick Marshall

Nick Marshall

The talk given on Thursday August 20th to a Shropshire Humanists Zoom meeting by Alex Crumbie of Ethical Consumer magazine was one of the most impressive that I have attended.

Alex anticipated and answered my principal misgiving about Ethical Consumerism right at the beginning of his talk. Consumerism, consumer culture, consumer capitalism… surely these things are inherently bad for us and for our planet? Yes, that’s true – but consumption of some things is unavoidable if we are to survive and to lead rewarding lives. Many of us want to make better choices about what we consume, ones with which we can feel comfortable. And we want our spending to influence what is offered to us, steering businesses in the directions we would prefer that they take. To achieve these objectives we need to be well informed. Enabling us by providing that information is what the Ethical Consumer organisation is about.  

Alex’s expertise and the completeness of his research were very obvious from his talk. He covered many kinds of goods and services – food, power, clothes (including fashion), investment… and looked at them from a variety of viewpoints – environment, animal welfare, workers’ rights, transparency. He seemed to have thought of everything. By the end, I didn’t really have a question left to ask.

That such a thought-provoking and informative presentation was made via Zoom, with only limited interaction with listeners and with no opportunity to “read the audience”, made Alex’s presentation all the more impressive. Every point was well made; never did I feel that we were being lectured. Rather, we were offered ways of arriving at ethically sound choices, many of which I think were new to at least some of us.

One question did occur to me when it was just too late to ask: given that I was in sympathy with everything Alex said, as I think were most of his Humanist audience… was he preaching to the converted? If so, how is the wider world of consumers to be influenced? I am pretty confident that Alex and his colleagues are working on this.

Judith and I have taken out a subscription to Ethical Consumer. Knowledge is Power!

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