Where are they now?


Jane Turner interviews some former Ethical Consumer co-op members.

 
 

Sarah Irving

1) When did you work at EC and for how long?

About 6 years in total - 1999-2002 and 2004-2007, plus lots of freelancing between and after.

2) What are you doing now?

By way of a midlife crisis I've gone back to school and am doing a PhD in Palestinian history at the University of Edinburgh. I've just co-edited my fourth book, an anthology of Palestinian poetry 'versioned' into English by the likes of Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray and Jackie Kay. I also seem to be embarking on a sideline in literary translation from Arabic to English.

3) What influence, if any, did your time at EC have on you?

Working at EC was completely formative for me. The writing and research skills I learnt with the magazine and on consultancy work have been the bedrock of my career since, and even now I think give me an important, grounded critique of the way academic research is performed and presented. Being at EC also kept me political at a time in my life when I could have wandered off the track. I'll always be proud to have been an ECer, and grateful to the opportunities it gave me.

4) Do you have one abiding memory of working at EC?

Staying up till about three o'clock in the morning to just ferret out that little bit more dirt on the companies involved in the privatisation of the London Underground - it was a piece of consultancy work for Ken Livingstone's office when he was Mayor of London, and a brilliantly juicy project to get my teeth into.

 

 

Dan Welch

1) When did you work at EC and for how long

I worked at EC from 2006 until the end of 2011 - since then I've done the odd thing for the magazine, and I sit on the Board as a member director.

2) What are you doing now?

I started a PhD in the sociology of sustainable consumption during my time at EC and am now a researcher at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, at the University of Manchester.

3) What influence, if any, did your time at EC have on you?

Working at EC had a huge influence - I don't think I'd be doing what I'm doing now without that experience. Perhaps the core thing I've taken from my time at EC is the value of communicating complex issues to wide audiences.

4) Do you have one abiding memory of working at EC?

Quite early on in my time at EC I went to a conference put on by the Coop Group about 'ethical shopping' at which Rob was speaking. There were people there from all sorts of organisations I admired and I remember realising from the way people spoke about EC's contribution what a critical role it had played in the development of ethical consumption, and I remember feeling part of this wider movement that had really brought about change.

 

 

Sam Kimmins

1) When did you work at EC and for how long?

January 1996 - September 1999

2) What are you doing now?

Principal Sustainability Advisor with Forum for the Future, and project manager for the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.

3) What influence, if any, did your time at EC have on you?

One of my jobs was writing the Green Building Digest, which was later published as a book thanks to EC... I've managed to milk this for 15 years every time I go for a new job!

But EC's influence went way beyond this, showing me that a small number of committed individuals can actually make a difference - and giving me a strong commitment to creating change, which has guided my career ever since.

4) Do you have one abiding memory of working at EC?

There are many!!!

- Not really a memory - more of a legacy - My 'Relatively Tiny Sam' address label has made me chuckle every couple of months since I managed to get it revised from 'tiny sam' in around 2002 (following serious lobbying).  A photo of this somehow ended up in Forum's internal newsletter this summer!

- Mag packing days!!!  I miss the smell of boxes and boxes of EC issues... (but I don't miss packing envelopes for 2 days solid!)

- Assembling the mock-up of the cover of EC50 by sticking together photos of back-issues on a big sheet of paper - how technology has changed!

 

 

Hannah Berry

1) When did you work at EC and for how long?

From 1997 to 2004, then I think I kept coming back till 2006.

2) What are you doing now?

I’m a freelance researcher and community worker - something I got into during the traditional EC sabatical. I run a small organisation called GAP Unit based in the same building as EC in Hulme. Finishing a PhD last year has led to more diverse and interesting research work, including some for EC (on grouse shooting), so things are coming full circle!

3) What influence, if any, did your time at EC have on you?

The great thing was having an overview of so many issues and campaigns, and having time to be involved in activism alongside work. I’ve never really been able to specialise as a result, I want to know a bit about everything! And now I think about it, I’ve carried on with roles which demand the same mix of drudge admin, creativity and more intellectually demanding stuff. Plus it taught me to live well without much money...

4) Do you have one abiding memory of working at EC?

Mailout week is etched on my memory – four days of stamping and stuffing envelopes while listening to random retro CDs. It made your wrists ache but it actually gave quite a nice breathing space before having to set off again on the next issue. 

 

 

Ruth Rosselson

1) When did you work at EC and for how long?

I worked for EC for an amazing ten years from July 1997 to August 2007.

2) What are you doing now?

I'm doing a bunch of things. I do some freelance spa reviews for Queen of Retreats website (www.queenofretreats.com) and other bits of freelance writing and research. I run training courses and workshops to improve people's self-esteem and other 'soft skills' and I now also have a 17.5 hour a week job working for Mind in Manchester running mental wellbeing courses for people with diabetes and heart disease.

I'm still involved with EC as a member of the current board, and I also do the odd bit of freelance consultancy work too.

3) What influence, if any, did your time at EC have on you?

Working for EC has influenced lots of areas of my life. I got a whole wealth of different skills and experience plus a great deal of knowledge about lots of different ethical areas. I continue to live my life pretty ethically - though perhaps with slightly less vigour. My appearances on the Moral Maze remain one of my career highlights, as does my tv appearance calling for a boycott on Body Shop when it was sold to L'Oreal.

4) Do you have one abiding memory of working at EC? 

I have lots of composite memories of morning meetings in our small meeting room and laughing a lot.

 

 

 

Ruth Binns

1) When did you work at EC and for how long?

1989 to 1995 

2) What are you doing now?

Working as part-time research analyst for EIRIS

3) What influence, if any, did your time at EC have on you?

A substantial one, as after leaving EC, I worked for FoE and Greenpeace and have now returned to researching companies from an ethical perspective.

4) Do you have one abiding memory of working at EC?

Finding out how to pronounce Titleist although I still prefer my own version

 

 

 

 

Ethical made easy

Detailed ethical ratings for over 40,000 companies, brands and products, plus Ethical Consumer magazine.

30 day trial subscription - find out more