EC Issue 180 - Sept 2019

ethicalconsumer.org 3 W elcome to Ethical Consumer’s 30th birthday issue! Ethical Consumer magazine was launched in 1989 against a backdrop of political protests and unrest. And, as we note in the ‘30 years of Ethical Consumer’ feature on page 42, there is something familiar about the political tension in the air now for those of us who were around then. This might go some way in explaining the big growth in readers we are experiencing this year as we did in the 1980s. The ‘30 years’ feature is one of a couple of special pieces in this issue reflecting on progress since 1989 and on what remains to be done. In the Reader’s Survey report on page 44, for example, we report on which companies were voted the ‘least ethical’ and ‘most ethical’ of the last 30 years by our readers. Thanks should go out to all our subscribers, without whom this longevity would not have been possible. The critical ethical landscape for business and products has been transformed since 1989, and Ethical Consumer’s role, though tiny, has not been insignificant. This has been a collective effort and everyone who has contributed has played a part. Particular thanks should go out to the few hundred people who have been with us for the whole time and who should receive some kind of special medal for staying power! Also worth singling out are our investor members who have come to the aid of Ethical Consumer whenever we have needed capital for development or, indeed, rescue. Because, although we are pretty healthy now, the 30-year story has been littered with some tricky times too. Clothing guides The bulk of this magazine is dedicated to the clothing industry, viewed through the lens of our usual product guides. As with our report on Supermarkets and Food in May, there is an overall sense of exasperation from campaigners and politicians of many colours with the continued failure of mainstream companies to produce goods in a way that pays people enough to live on and which does not cause unacceptable levels of environmental damage. It shouldn’t be tricky, but somehow it is! As ever though, we report on the increasing number of viable alternative choices and campaign actions that people can take. New magazine design The sharp-eyed amongst you will also have spotted that Issue 180 also comes with a re-design. This is the first major visual upgrade we have made since 2005 and is, to some extent, intended to give some design continuity between our new website and our print magazine. It should also help readers find their way round more easily and work better on the newsstands. It is also the reason why this magazine comes to you about a month late. The next one will be back on schedule. Sorry. We are quite excited about it here, but it is entirely possible that some of you are not! If you have any comments, positive or negative, do send them to jane@ethicalconsumer.org w ith ‘Design Feedback’ in the subject line. Thanks to Tom Lynton for the new designs, and to Jane Turner and Adele Armistead, our in-house team, for making them work so well. And thanks again to our investor members who helped fund this too. Our conference in October Our conference this year is themed around ‘Positive Responses to the Ecological Emergency’, and subtitled ‘How consumers, businesses and campaigners can work together to help tackle climate change and environmental breakdown’. We particularly want to investigate holistic approaches to the environmental crisis that incorporate human and workers’ rights in the transition towards a zero-carbon future. It’s a little later than usual – on October 25th – and in our usual venue at Amnesty’s HQ in London. We’ve an advert for it opposite which gives more detail on who will be there and what to expect. As we say in our ‘30 Years’ feature, buying ethically was never meant to be a panacea and, particularly around climate change, we’ve always known that collective political action would be needed for the system-level transformations required. However, “it is hard to see how buying ethically will not form a key part of the sustainable future ahead. Nor indeed is it easy to envisage how we can get to that destination without it.” ETHICAL CONSUMER Editorial ROB HARRISON EDITOR

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