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Ethical Consumer Conference

Aug 1

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01/08/2018 13:59  RssIcon

We introduce our 2018 Annual Conference 


Innovate With Us

From bright ideas addressing plastics, palm oil and clothing to thoughts on more fundamental systemic change, our 2018 conference will discuss innovations in ethical consumption and the ways that they are transforming the role of the consumer.

2018 has seemed like a year of bad news. From climate change induced heat waves to palm-oil driven deforestation, the world seems to be on a downward spiral. 


Image: conference


But these crises have also provided a catalyst for real innovation, and at Ethical Consumer we are often lucky enough to hear about new ideas in ethical consumption as they arise.

For our 2018 conference, we have asked some of those leading the way to discuss their innovations with you. We will also be taking a closer look at the sectors desperately in need of making change and why they are struggling to do so.

Keynote speakers

Andy Goldring, CEO of the Permaculture Association and co-initiatior of CTRL-Shift, “emergency summit for change” will begin by offering his perspective on system innovation. Andy will discuss how we can change the relation between consumer and producer to ensure a sustainable system – and whether ‘consumer’ will even be a relevant term within these innovations. 

In the afternoon, we will be hearing from Brhmie Balaram, Senior Researcher on the Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing at the RSA, programme manager for the RSA’s Forum for Ethical AI and co-author of the Good Gigs report. Brhmie specialises in research on the sharing and gig economies. She will be discussing the role of consumers in the gig economy and how we can push for ethical solutions as this innovation continues to grow.

The Singh Twins are internationally renowned, contemporary, artists, illustrators, writers, filmmakers and designers. Their work engages in contemporary social, political and cultural debate and challenges narrow Eurocentric perceptions of art, heritage and identity. Their most recent exhibition, ‘Slaves of Fashion’, explores the impact of India’s textile industry on global history, politics, society and culture and its relevance today. The Singh Twins will be talking about their most recent artwork during the afternoon.


Innovation systems and organisational forms

New organisational forms could offer a growing challenge to for-profit models. 

Over 2,564 B-Corps and 70,000 social enterprises already exist in the in the UK. The Customer Union for Ethical Banking – the first customer union in the country – is protecting ethics in the face of the Co-op Bank’s buyout in 2017.

We will be looking at these and other innovative systems throughout the morning.

We’ll be asking: how can these alternative organisational forms help the consumer? Could the concept of ‘mission-led business’ ever replace the for-profit model in the UK? And are these the right ideas to be looking to for change? 


Amongst the panellists and workshop leaders addressing these questions, will be:

  • Shaun Fensum - Founder of the Customer Union for Ethical Banking
  • Kate Sandle - Community Manager at B-Corps
  • Anna Clayton – Ethical Consumer and Lush Spring Prize from Regenerative Business
  • Kat Darling - Communications Manager at Solidarity Economy


Innovations to solve pressing problems

When we asked our readers what you’d like to see at the conference this year, some of 2018’s greatest problems came up, with plastic packaging and palm oil taking top spots. 

Since Blue Planet showed images of turtles amongst our plastic trash in December, and Iceland banned palm oil from its shelves in April, there has been much debate about how we can effectively tackle the environmental devastation arising from these sectors.

They are crucial questions for consumers too. 

Luckily innovations in plastics abound. Yet, palm oil has been slow to change.

The afternoon will look at lessons learnt from sectors that are making successful shifts, and ask why these innovations haven’t been applied across the board. 

Learning also from clothing, we will ask how to make the innovations scalable and the role that consumers can play. 

Fashion is one sector that has been experiencing quiet shifts for over a decade. It has proven that ethical supply chains are eminently possible and the circular economy a realistic hope. However, those demonstrating best practice in this sector remain strides ahead of the average high street chain – raising the issue of how we can transform this and other sectors as a whole. 

We hope that you will join us to discuss the issues outline above.

The event takes place at the Amnesty International Resource Centre, Shoreditch, London on October 12th 2018. Find out more on our conference page


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