Networking

Ethical Consumer Annual Conference | A Place to Meet the Hope Squadron 

Snippet from Ethical Consumer homepage.

We’re avid readers of Ethical Consumer magazine and regard it as essential for anyone living in UK (but not only) who aims to become a more ethical consumer. Like it or not, you decide on the world you live in with every penny you spend. Last time we checked, humanity was in unprecedented climate crisis. Disposable waste was out of control, with plastics choking the oceans, forests cut at an unprecedented rate, and wildlife alarmingly disappearing forever from our common world. Unprecedented and alarming are keywords here.

Our consumerist society follows the unlimited growth mantra, but keeps forgetting it depends on a planet with limited resources. What can we do about this? Since radical change is not yet on the cards, adding awareness to your daily routine might have an unexpected, positive impact on the overall wellbeing of our unique habitat.  

I don’t want to get too carried away though. It’s nothing philosophical here, it’s simply about finding the values and principles attached to a product, not just the pricetag. And this monthly magazine  — a well-established British institution that’s been running for almost 30 years — helps consumers make ethical choices when spending their money on products and services. Their ethical ratings cover over 40,000 + brands and products. The rating helps you see how a seemingly innocent product can have a destructive impact on the world you’d like other generations to live on too.

The Annual Conference | Network and Sample. The Ethical Way.

Brothers We Stand display

This October, The Ethical Consumer organized their annual conference meant to discuss innovations in ethical consumption and the ways they are transforming the role of the consumer. A host of key campaigners and ethical businesses explored how new ideas, systems and ways of working can help tackle the many crises in the world.

Such events are meant to bring together readers as well as producers and other promoters of ethical goods. Needless to say, this was a highly informative day, as well as a great chance to meet and network. The bigger and stronger the ethical network, the better the chances for visibility and success.

We met like-minded people, NGOs, and companies leading with principles, not just for profit. From ethical clothes to ethical food, alternative electricity, fair publishing, permaculture, sustainable film-making, and fair-phones, we discovered a network of good-doers and positive-thinkers shaping a future that caters to everyone’s needs. Success is not only the financial profit filling the pockets of a handful of CEOs, and the entrepreneurs at the conference showed us how success should transcend this restricted approach.

Take for instance Know the Origin. This is an organisation that brings “honest transparent brands from around the world all in one place” while helping buyers discover the impact and origin behind their clothes.
While in the food department, we rediscovered Suma  —  “supplying natural, responsibly-sourced products since 1977.” We’ve seen their products in health shops all over London, but never had a chance to chat to someone from the team. Their ethical products are attached to decades of fair work and trade, with no CEOs or bosses, as they are organized in a cooperative. Their struggle with sustainable packaging resonates with the struggle other such companies go through at the moment. But this sounds like one more reason to check out their products and follow their sustainability discovery journey.

The Singh Twins – Slaves of Fashion presentation. Photo via ethicalconsumer.org

We do live in troubling times, no matter what the motivational quotes published on glossy Sunday magazines may tell you. But as someone said, it’s these times that bring about the much-needed change. 

In your quest for answers, suggestions, guidance as consumers or entrepreneurs, stopping by Ethical Consumer’s annual conference will make a huge difference. It’s not just about learning new things, it’s about meeting people who are trying and quite often succeeding to reshape an ethical, sustainable future for all. Put it in your agendas for next year. Keep an eye on the Ethical Consumer magazine for updates. Oh, and don’t forget to become one too. As often as possible.
Fingers crossed!

To find out more about the magazine’s history and vision, please visit their About page.

Here you can find a selection of video, audio and images from the day, from 
the keynote speakers to the panel discussions. 

Since we want to tell you more about all the amazing producers and organizations we had the pleasure to meet at this conference, we’ll be back in the coming months with detailed articles about them. Watch this space.