Thank you to Boston Review and MIT Political Science Dept. And to all of the respondents. Really unique interaction as an academic,
We are at a critical inflection point. Problems are mounting – climate change, biodiversity loss, industrial pollution, cancer rates, human rights abuses, obesity… Consumers are part of these problems…and a part of the solutions. We are entering a new age of more transparent and accountable markets. Consumers can see the impacts of products, supply chains, companies. See the stories behind their products. Cell phones can scan products, access environmental, social, and health information about the product, View live webcams of the factory that made the product, Skype with a worker from the factory, Access information from the NGOs they most trust;Instantly find out if the product passes or fails your screens: buy or not buy a product based on aggregation and filtering of this data through their personal screens, friends’ recommendations, etc.
Complex, cross-border transactions; rapid movement between suppliers; and limited transparency have made it virtually impossible for national governments to regulate global production.The U.S. government does not regulate the production methods of global firms operating in other countries (in part because of WTO rules), and the Chinese government has shown little inclination and even less capacity to regulate firms such as Foxconn
Original Tea Party…before Glen Beck’s Tea Party…
About the products they consume: Where they were made? How they were made? Impacts on their Health? Environment? Workers?More than Brand & PriceIncreasingly cynical about marketing claimsGrowing List of Concerns:Ingredients, Contaminants, Health Impacts, Climate, etc. What goes “In, On, Around” our families.Consumers know more, and share more Sustainability as part of Global Supply Chains
How many of You have avoided a company?
Over 300 Eco-Logos in the US and Europe.
25 staff140,000 products12 categoriesEnviro. Social. Health
Created a valuable data asset of over 75,000 products.
Ethical Consumption - MIT & Boston Review - Nov. 3, 2011
The Promise ofEthical Consumption Dara O’Rourke UC Berkeley and GoodGuide
Lessons• Changing Consumers is Difficult• Make Visible the Invisible• Show People They Can Have an Impact• Scientific Information Alone Will Not Change Most People• Need to Bring in Behavioral Dynamics• Need to move from Individual to Collective Action• Key Roles for Government & NGOs
Turning Point inMarket Transparency andConsumer Empowerment
Ethical Consumption can complement NGO Strategies andGovernment Regulation