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Welcome to our newest co-op members

Mar 11

Written by:
11/03/2015 15:11  RssIcon

Two new researchers start at Ethical Consumer


Last month we welcomed two new researchers to our co-operative.

Ruth Strange and Josie Wexler both joined the co-operative to help boost our numbers as the business continues to grow and we broaden our work. Both have varied and interesting backgrounds which you can read more about below.



Ruth Strange


What was it that attracted you to working at Ethical Consumer?

I went to Uni in Manchester in the late 90's and did a small piece of work experience with Ethical Consumer when they were based in Chinatown. I've always admired their campaigning stance and jumped at the chance to join the co-op when I saw this job advertised.


What are you most looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to looking back at the first 6 months and feeling I have got my head around the publishing cycle and research methods! More than that though, I want to get stuck in to projects like providing consumers with more information to push for sustainable palm oil.


How have you found your first couple of weeks? What are you currently working on?

I first started by working on the Badger Action News website, and researching some of the biggest restaurant chains in the UK. My first piece in the magazine was a page about the new legislation on genetically modified crop approval in the European Union. It's good to get stuck in!


What were you doing previously?

Over the last 10 years I was part of a workers' co-op in Derby setting up and running Sound Bites wholefood shop. Since I left one year ago I've been working on establishing Whole Food Action, a new network for UK independent wholefood shops to work together on food issues such as genetic modification and palm oil.

What are your interests outside Ethical Consumer?

I still live in Derby and am involved in a project there to start an online calendar for community and campaigning events. I also volunteer at a little café above Sound Bites. On the creative side I've been working with an artist to make a booklet about the local growers who supply the shop.


Do you have any specialist areas of research and knowledge?

My background with the wholefood shop means I have got involved with the UK food sovereignty movement and GM campaigning - I would say food sovereignty is my main area of interest, as well as supporting the infrastructure for positive social change, eg supporting alternative media and organising events.





Josie Wexler


What was it that attracted you to working at Ethical Consumer?

I'm interested in the areas which Ethical Consumer researches especially around climate change and economic justice. I also really love writing and am from a research background, so I was excited by the idea of writing for a magazine which uses both.

What are you looking forward to?

Writing more articles. One of my favourite things is when I've done a
lot of research on something and I can then think about how to express
it all in a way that would be good for people to read. I take pleasure
in all forms of writing, even if it's just an email.


How have you found your first couple of weeks? What are you currently working on?

So far so good! I'm currently working on a product guide to coffee shops.

What were you doing previously?

Most recently I worked for a Norwegian environmental consultancy firm.

A few years ago I jointly wrote a big report called Zero Carbon Britain 2030 at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. It was about how we could eliminate all carbon emissions from the UK by 2030, based on a big energy model that we had created.

What are your interests outside Ethical Consumer?

I work part-time as a folk musician and violin teacher. I'm also trying to write a book which still has the potential to have been a complete disaster that I will then have to pretend never happened. And I've just got really into watching Nordic murder mysteries, which isn't helping me be productive!


Do you have any specialist areas of research and knowledge?

I know a lot about energy and climate issues from my previous work, although nowadays I'm overall more interested in social issues. 

During my Masters degree I studied farmers in Zambia who were growing sugar cane and Jatropha (a tree from which you can make biofuels), and one of the sugar cane farms I visited was Fairtrade certified. That gave me some insight into supply chain issues.

I'm really interested in economics. I am not very keen on the mainstream variety, but I'm a big fan of a Cambridge economist called Ha-Joon Chang who sometimes has articles in the Guardian.









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