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Eastbourne Citizens Advice Bureau


Eastbourne Citizens Advice Bureau Financial Literacy Ethical Consumerism sponsored by Ethical Consumerism * Ethical Consumerism * What is Ethical Consumerism? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Eastbourne Citizens Advice Bureau

Eastbourne Citizens Advice Bureau Financial
Ethical Consumerism
sponsored by
What is Ethical Consumerism? What you spend your
money on affects other people and the
environment. Ethical consumerism is being aware
of the consequences of the decisions you make
with money and choosing to spend in a responsible
way. The economies of other countries and groups
within society are affected positively and
negatively by trade. Does our prosperity and
happiness come at a cost to others? Our
consumption also affects the environment. This
unit looks at these issues.
Environmental Issues Whatever we buy is made from
resources. These resources are of limited supply.
At the same time when we buy things there is
usually some part we dispose of perhaps the
packaging or a part of the item which is used
up. When we use gas or electricity we add to the
demand for fuel and this increases greenhouse
gases. When we drive we contribute to pollution..
On average every person in the UK throws away
their own body weight in rubbish every two
months. This adds up to nearly a tonne of waste
every year per person. Normally rubbish has been
dumped in landfill sites which spoils large areas
or incinerated which contributes to greenhouse
gas emissions.
A large proportion of this rubbish can be
reduced by recycling. Many items could be
re-used. Less packaging would mean less
waste. Recycled materials can be used repeatedly
for disposable items.
Reducing your consumption also reduces how much
you contribute to the environmental problems of
global warming and waste disposal. It also helps
you save money. Switching off electrical
appliances when not used Re-using plastic
bags Recycling newspapers, magazines, bottles and
cans Walking, cycling or sharing transport
instead of driving your own car. Buying
second-hand goods or clothes What other ways are
there to consume less and save money? For further
information see Recycle Now www.recyclenow.com Gre
enpeace www.greenpeace.org.uk Energy Saving Trust
www.saveenergy.co.uk Environment Agency
Fair Trade The way in which Western countries
trade with poorer nations affects their standard
of living and in many cases keeps people in
poverty. If we changed the rules of trade to be
fair we could improve the lives of millions of
people. When you buy certain products you are
helping big western businesses exploit people of
poorer nations.
Rich countries limit and control poor countries'
share of the world market by charging high taxes
on imported goods. As a result, many poor
countries can only afford to export raw
materials, which give far lower returns than
finished products. For example, western
companies buy cotton and cocoa at very low prices
from Africa, Asia and Latin America and turns
them into expensive clothes and chocolate. When
we buy these things the profit often goes to the
big companies and not to the farmers. Do you
know where the chocolate you buy comes from and
how much (or how little) the producers benefit
from your spending?
One well known sports manufacturer pays an
employee 2 to make a pair of trainers which we
buy for 67. These huge multi-national
corporations employ millions of people on low pay
and in poor working conditions in many poorer
countries around the world. Often the government
of these poorer nations is unlikely to complain
for fear of driving away investment. If you
knew that fashionable clothes were produced by
people who are paid very little while the profit
goes to big companies would you still be so keen
to buy them?
You may see goods in shops with Fairtrade
labelling. These goods are bought from farmers
and local producers at better prices and
sometimes they share in the profits, helping the
money to be invested in their local communities
to develop a better quality of life. This money
can be poured into better schools and health
care. Would you feel better about buying goods
labelled fair trade if you knew the profits would
be going to the farmers in poorer
countries? Would you be prepared to pay a little
more for these goods? For further information
see Fairtrade Foundation www.fairtrade.org.uk Ma
ke Trade Fair www.maketradefair.com
Slavery Around the world millions of people live
in slavery. People are bought and sold and forced
to work for little or no pay. Their working
conditions are appalling and they have no way to
protect themselves against mistreatment. Despite
the fact that it is illegal, some people are
brought to this country and made to work against
their will, often in fear of being discovered by
the authorities. Would you buy products which
you know have been manufactured by people working
as slaves? For more information see Anti-Slavery
International www.antislavery.org
Child Labour Children are made to work in many
parts of the world. Sometimes they are forced to
do this by forms of slavery but also conditions
of extreme poverty mean children have to work to
survive. They go without education and are
deprived of the kind of upbringing we in the west
are accustomed to. If you knew products were made
through child labour would you buy them? If you
were on holiday in a foreign country would you
buy goods made by children? For more information
see UNICEF www.unicef.org.uk End Child
Exploitation Campaign www.endchildexploitation.or
Animal Welfare Animals are used by humans for
food and other products derived from them. Many
people no longer tolerate the idea of mistreating
animals as it is clear that they suffer as we do.
Modern farming techniques involve keeping many
animals together in confined spaces, allowing
them limited movement and feeding them processed
food. This is done to keep costs down but can
cause animals to suffer. Recent examples of
concern have included the transportation of
animals over long distances crammed in lorries.
Also the production of veal, which many consider
to be inhumane, has been criticised.
  • In response to these and many other concerns
    pressure groups have been formed and new ways of
    producing food have been adopted. You will see
    products in supermarkets with labels saying
    things like
  • Monitored by the RSPCA
  • Raised in a cruelty free environment
  • Allowed to roam free
  • Organically produced
  • Would you rather eat meat which comes from
    animals kept in humane conditions?
  • Are you prepared to pay more for this?
  • For further information see
  • Compassion in World Farming www.ciwf.org.uk
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
    Animals www.rspca.org.uk
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Free Range Eggs In the supermarket you will see
free range and barn eggs sold along side
other eggs. Most eggs are produced by chickens
kept in battery farms. The labelling will not
tell you this. The chickens are confined to small
wire cages and provided with food and water. They
live most of their lives in this space simply to
produce eggs. Free range eggs and others
similarly described come from chickens which live
in more natural surroundings, are not confined
but are allowed to roam free and eat their normal
diet. Which eggs would you choose free range or
non-free range? If free range eggs cost more
would you be prepared to pay extra?
Fur Not so long ago fur coats were a luxurious
fashion item worn by elegant ladies. These days
fur isnt fashionable and thats not simply
because of the cost. There have been several
pressure groups who have campaigned to raise
awareness of the cruelty of fur production.
People who have worn fur in public have been on
the receiving end of hostility. Is it right or
wrong for someone to wear a fur coat? What about
leather? If you had to choose between a genuine
fur coat and a fake fur coat which would you
prefer? For further information seeFur is Dead
Animal Testing Many products are tested on
animals to ensure that they are safe to humans
and can be sold. This can include medicines,
household cleaners and cosmetics. Animals suffer
and die in order that products can be sold to us.
Some manufacturers now produce a whole range of
items which have not been tested on animals. If
you buy make-up does it bother you if it has been
tested on animals? Would you pay more for make-up
which has not been tested on animals? Which
products in your home have been tested on
animals? For more information see British
Anti-vivisection association www.bava.pwp.blueyond
er.co.uk National Anti-Vivisection Society
  • Ethical Banking Investment
  • Your bank invest the money your money in order to
    make profit. Some of this profit it gives to you
    as interest.
  • How would you feel if you knew your bank invested
    your money in
  • Arms trade with poorer countries which
    contributed to ongoing warfare ?
  • Supporting corrupt governments and regimes ?
  • Animal exploitation and cruelty ?
  • Some banks offer investments which ensure that
    your money is not spent in these areas.
  • For further information visit
  • Institute of Business Ethics www.ibe.org.uk
  • Ethical Consumer www.ethicalconsumer.org
  • Ethical Investment Research Service www.eiris.org
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