chapter  7
22 Pages

Putting Ethical Consumption in Its Place: Geographical Perspectives


Consumption happens in place and across spaces, which in turn are linked through relations of consumption and production. This is one way of summing up the spatial lens that Geography offers to debates on consumption ethics, yet its complexity will be further explained in this chapter. 1 Consumption ethics play a role in geographical debates on the production and consumption of goods, on mobility and transport, on tourism and hospitality, on energy and on services. In this chapter, I will be focusing in particular on the consumption of goods and lay out some disciplinary perspectives from Geography. In much of the related Geography literature, the narrower term of “ethical consumption” is more frequently used than “consumption ethics.” What geographers mean by the term ethical consumption varies. Definitions can include all or parts of the spectrum of phenomena of boycotting, positive buying, anti-consumer activity, buying the most ethical product in a particular sector, relationship buying, culture jamming, buying for specific political causes, recycling and upcycling or alternative economic practices, including consumer cooperatives, time banking and trade in local currencies. Much as in the ethical consumption literature as a whole, “ethical” issues in the Geography literature include environmental sustainability, health and safety risks, animal welfare, fair trade, labour conditions and human rights (Barnett, Cloke, Clarke & Malpass, 2011).