Projects - write an essay about ethical consumption
We buy/use a lot of different products every day
- food every day
- clothes every month
- phone every few years
However, producing them often has a bad impact on:
- the people/places where they are collected?
- the people/places where they are produced?
- the people/places where they are recycled?
Ask your partner these questions.
How often is the answer "I don't know"?
- Were your clothes made by children?
- Do the eggs you eat come from a happy chicken? (link)
- Was your phone made in a safe factory?
- Were your cosmetics tested on animals?
- Is there palm oil in your toothpaste?
- Will your phone be recycled properly?
1) Fair Trade Definition (1 minute video)
Fair Trade USA. (n.d.). What is Fair Trade? Retrieved April 21, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=4&v=7K4G5-ydhS0
- What products were mentioned are mentioned at the beginning? <--!coffee, chocolate, sugar-->
- What four things do they certify?
- F___ P___
- No _
- No H_____ C____
- No C_______L___
2) Fair Trade Cell Phones (11 min video)
Mbubi, B. (2012, April). Demand a Fair Trade Cell Phone. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/bandi_mbubi_demand_a_fair_trade_cell_phone
1) Get ready
- Download and read the templates and examples
- "TEMPLATE for ESSAY.docx"
- "TEMPLATE for ESSAY OUTLINE.docx"
- "EXAMPLE Essay - Ethical Consumption - Shea Butter.docx"
2) Choose something you buy regularly
- Choose something you buy/eat/use at least once a month.
- Choose something that comes from overseas, probably a third world country
- Choose a simple thing.
- palm oil, not toothpaste
- tantalum, not iPhones
- trees in Malaysia, not notebooks
- Do not choose an endangered animal product
- e.g. tuna, ivory
- (That's the next essay)
- Do not choose something that I used for an example essay
- no palm oil
- no neodymium
- no shea butter
- Choose something that:
- causes at least three problems
- has at least three solutions
- Stuck for ideas? Make some lists!
- Think about Things you use directly e.g. plastic bags
- Think about things you use indirectly e.g. tungsten in light bulbs
- Think about things in your home
3) Research your topic
Focus on good sources
- newspaper articles
- government reports
- NGO websites
You will present your research over the next two weeks
- Do the first research in Japanese
- take rough handwritten notes in Japanese
- we will do more research in English
- we will type up pour notes in English (Essay Outline Template)
Research area 1: What is your product?
- Where does it come from?
- Who makes it?
- What is it used for?
- How is it made?
- How is it similar or different to something we know better?
Research 2: When researching problems (Cause-Effect)
- Think about the WHOLE LIFE of the product
- Preparations (e.g. deforestation by fire)
- Collection (e.g. mining pollution, slave labour)
- Production (e.g. suicide by workers in China, factory collapse in Bangladesh)
- Recycling e.g. (link)
- Think about the effect on people
- People producing/collecting/assembling/recycling the thing
- People displaced from the land used
- People living near the place it is made/recycled
- Think about the effect on the environment
Research 3: When researching solutions (Summary-Response)
- Laws on Labelling
- Product labelling laws (usually contents and source of materials)
- Manufacturing label laws (e.g. Chinese factory+phone+fax law)
- NGO/Other labelling which indicates some kindof ethic e.g. Bluesign ( clothing) HSSE ( Jewelry), Dolphin safe (Tuna), Fairtrade (Various), Shade-grown coffee, Rainforest Alliance
- Farming methods labels (e.g. free range chicken/eggs)
- Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, or avoid completely
- Use less of something
- Use it again for something else.
- Use re-usable instead of disposable things (e.g. EcoBags)
- Avoid it (go vegetarian, keep using your old phone)
- Recycling things you use (e.g. batteries, PET, cans)
- Buying recycled things (e.g. recycled paper)
- Part of purchase goes to charity
- Making laws
- International (UN) law
- National (e.g. Japan) law
- Companies voluntary codes
- Campaign/Awareness solutions (letter writing).
- Boycott / Protest
Focus on what you know
Your major can help you research. Focus on what you know:
- e.g. technological topics/solutions (Engineering)
- e.g. trade agreement Solutions (Business)
- e.g. legal solutions (Law)
When researching why solutions don't work (RESPONSE)
- There is a law, but police don't/can't enforce it (e.g. trade in animal parts)
- Solution causes new problems, worse that old: (link)
Some useful readings for solutions not working
"How much gets to the exporting cooperative" (Griffiths, 2012, pp. 359-360): 600 words
Griffiths, P. (2012). Ethical Objections to Fairtrade. Journal of Business Ethics, 105(3), 357-373.
The Co-operative's Ethical Consumer Markets Report. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/investors/publications/Ethical-Consumerism-Report/
Important: a common mistake to avoid
- Problems caused for you by usage are NOT the topic.
- If something you buy causes a problem for you, you can just stop buying it.
- The focus of this article is problems that you causes for other people/places/things (workers, miners, trees, animals) when you buy or use things.