The Good Shopping Guide

IssueMarch - May 2003
Review by Lesley Harrison

The Good Shopping Guide is the world's first comprehensive ethical reference guide to clearly list the behaviour of the companies behind everyday consumer brands.

Published by the Ethical Marketing Group, the Good Shopping Guide covers a wide range of products from bananas to computers, pet food to insurance companies, and from its opening statement - “Your till receipt is as important as your vote” - promotes intelligent consumer choice as a way of influencing and encouraging responsible corporate attitudes towards human welfare, animal rights and the environment.

With an explanatory introductory section on the history of ethical consumerism, the power of boycott and the principles behind “good shopping”, the Guide is divided into sections - Good Food & Drink, Good Home, Good Health, etc - and then further broken down by product. Each featured product has an introductory paragraph covering issues such as product politics, current legislation, and - in the case of electrical goods - energy use and disposal.

Using ECRA (Ethical Consumer Research Association) categories across three areas - Environment, Animals and People - the ratings tables give a broad picture of the top name brands available in Britain (and elsewhere), including which companies own which brands, and what sort of activities they are involved in - either directly or through related companies.

Information is easy to access, and the 14 audit categories ensure that most issues for the ethical consumer are covered, often informing the reader beyond their initial areas of concern. For example a consumer initially seeking information on whether a brand is linked with animal testing will also be able to see at a glance whether that brand is marketed responsibly, or what its record is in the field of human rights.

The Good Shopping Guide is an invaluable reference guide for anyone who cares about the wider effects of consumerism, and will be of interest both to the beginner and to those who already consider themselves ethical consumers.

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