I happened to come across the site Ethical Consumer the other day. It probably stemmed from an anti-Starbucks tweet pointing people to the recent ethical ranking of coffee shops suggesting that Starbuck’s was the worse and AMT the best. Whether you agree or disagree with the criteria and the metrics applied to reach this conclusion, the process of allowing people to weight the results according to their own judgement – and by also surfacing evidence to make this judgement based on close trawling of public but easily overlooked corporate information, raises some interesting questions.
This site allows you to make considered buying decisions and ultimately vote with your purchases. It allows for a more informed consumerism by providing background information about corporate responsibility and allows you to apply your own weighting through sliders. The site attempts to keep corporate players honest by surfacing the little details, connections, activities and corporate involvements that would normally not get the media attention that they perhaps should.
The subtle thing here is that despite an assumption that of course corporations should operate ethically and that consumers should also participate in an exchange based on respect for adherence to these ethics, the site provides an interactive allowance for whether you accept this or not. This is an interesting approach to digitally empowered consumerism.