Is ethical consumer activism possible?

Steffie Verstappen
October 8th, 2010
Article by: Steffie Verstappen
Is ethical consumer activism possible?

ONLINE TALKS | At THNK, we believe that changes in consumer behavior as well as a more critical and demanding consumer attitude can be a real incentive for corporations to strive to become more sustainable—which may ultimately even result in a more sustainable world economic system. Many initiatives around the world are making an effort to contribute to making this happen. However, plenty of critics argue that expecting consumer activism to significantly change the world is simply naive. Timothy Devinney is one of them. Where do you stand?


Timothy Devinney is Professor of Strategy at the University of Technology in Sydney. In a recent video by Business21C, he argues that ethical consumerism is a myth, because the ethical consumer does not exist. We behave as complex, self-serving human beings sometimes, and as simple value-driven people at other times. Hence, general statements about individual consumer's ethicality do not apply: everybody wants all sorts of things for themselves as well as for humanity, but that does not necessarily mean that this becomes tangible in the ways in which your average individual decides to consume.


What do you think?