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The neighborliness of ethical shoppers -

The neighborliness of ethical shoppers CSMonitor com

In Britain last year, consumers spent more on “ethical” products, such as Fair Trade food and hybrid vehicles, than on alcohol and tobacco. Virtue beat out vice, at least in buying stuff. Other wealthy countries may have already crossed a similar threshold in “conscious consuming.” 


Stashed in: Ecology!, Empathy, economics, Consumers

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What then really drives this trend? Is it simply shopper’s guilt? Shaming of companies by activists? Perhaps there are two main drivers, each related to the other.

One could be a recognition by more people to practice what can be called empathy at a distance. It is a greater awareness of how clothes are made, whether diamonds are “conflict free," which farmers treat animals humanely, or which types of endangered trees are being felled. It is “love thy neighbor” without actually seeing your neighbor as well as a shared concern for creation.

Yet that sentiment is also driven by what is called “radical transparency.” More consumers and companies expect openness in almost every detail of commerce, especially the origin and process of goods and manufacturing. The annual global survey known as the Edelman Trust Barometer finds 56 percent of people want companies to exhibit both ethical and transparent practices. And a 2013 survey found more than three-quarters of Americans will boycott a product if they find out an environmental claim is faulty. “Green” on a label better mean green.

Empathy at a distance + Radical transparency = Better products

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