Mind the Gap – Between Your Ethics and Your Actions


Jessica Long – Head of Sustainability, Ipsos MORI

Emma Kisby – Managing Director, CoGo

Mark Shayler – Founder, APE

  • Ethics
  • Consumer trends
  • Economics
  • Retail

We say we want to be better consumers, act more responsibly and do our part to make the world a better place, but do our actions match our words? Research suggests that people aren’t necessarily putting their money where their mouth is – supporting ethical consumerism in theory but not in practice.

A 2020 survey from GlobalData found that 45% of shoppers are actively searching for sustainable products, goods and services. Online supermarket Ocado has recently launched a dedicated virtual ‘aisle’ showcasing 1,100 products from more than 35 brands B-Corp certified brands, as customers increasingly look for more sustainable groceries.

Yet fast fashion and homewares brands continue to grow, consumers still take short-haul flights, eat processed foods, drive everywhere, use disposable products and buy cheap ‘stuff’.

We read negative headlines about the likes of BooHoo, Amazon, Uber and Arcadia but consumers still use their products and services. So is this talk of ‘conscious consumerism’ just hot air?

Is ethical consumerism just a middle class pursuit or does the future of business rely on doing the right thing?
What’s the business case for behaving ethically, how can you do it better, and how can you talk about it to consumers? Do ethics really matter to today’s consumers?

In these so called enlightened times, why is the ‘say do’ gap so wide and how can we close it?


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