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About Ethical Consumer 

Our member-led, independent co-operative has over 25 years experience of offering flexible and creative solutions to businesses and NGOs, specialising in consumer engagement and best practice in ethical markets.

We provide advice on what corporate responsibility and consumer campaigning look like from the cutting edge of ethical consumption, offering unrivalled insight into ethical markets.

This work can help organisations manage risk, get ahead of the curve on sustainability issues and work with consumers to have real impact.

As the publishers of the annual Ethical Consumer Markets Report and a consumer-facing magazine Ethical Consumer, we hold a unique position for researching and analysing ethical markets, ethical consumption trends and corporate behaviour.

 

Meet our dedicated research team

Rob Harrison

Rob Harrison

Consultancy Manager / Director

I was one of the founders of Ethical Consumer in 1988. With rising consumer boycotts and campaigns, I wanted information to guide my own purchases in a logical way. No one else was providing this at the time.

I'm lucky enough now to work or advise on projects across all issues, from food to electronics. However, for more than ten years I have specialised in looking at ethics in the banking and investment sectors.

Before Ethical Consumer, I did a Law Degree at Manchester University. I was active in student protest movements at the time around Apartheid South Africa and Third World Debt.

Highlights

In the 1990s, we had a three year project on the comparative environmental credentials of building materials. The books that came out of it (Green Building Handbooks) are still selling in China.

Other expertise and experience

I have worked as a consultant to NGOs (including Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace) on engaging consumers in their campaigns, as an advisor to government departments (including those in Belgium, Austria and Brazil) on encouraging the use of ethical consumption and procurement for social and environmental goals, as a consultant to consumer organisations (including groups in Spain and Hungary) on researching the CSR performance of companies, and to companies (including the Co-operative Bank and Lush Cosmetics) on developing world-leading ethical policies and implementing them in practice.

I have also edited and contributed to academic work in this area including the 2005 Sage book 'The Ethical Consumer' and the 1997 Routledge 'Green Building Handbook'. My most recent book was published in autumn 2021: The Handbook of Ethical Purchasing Principles and Practice

I have been an editor of Ethical Consumer magazine since its inception and have spoken widely in the press, on radio and on TV as well as to universities and campaign groups around the world on the importance of facilitating ethical consumption in a globalised marketplace.

Future aspirations

I'm increasingly interested in getting organisations to explore changing their corporate forms to ones that better address the interests of multiple stakeholder groups.

My long term aspirations for Ethical Consumer are that it remains true to its ethical focus, stays solvent, and continues to provide good quality information to people about ethics in markets.

Outside interests

Soul music, woodland ecology, fell walking, astronomy and craft beer. Not necessarily in that order.

Anna Clayton
ECRA

Anna Clayton

Writer / Researcher and Director

I joined Ethical Consumer in 2014. I felt that it would be the perfect place to develop professionally and personally, whilst campaigning for a cause I believe in - challenging corporate power.

Highlights

A highlight for me was co-developing the Lush Spring Prize – a biennial prize that seeks to celebrate and support the regenerative movement around the world. The final prize-giving events are full of determined and inspiring people that are healing damaged environments and fractured communities, despite numerous obstacles and social stigmas. Amazing.

Other expertise and experience

At Ethical Consumer, I have worked on a number of consultancy projects including the feasibility work for the anti-badger cull campaign and the LUSH Spring Prize. I worked on the two Shooting Wildlife? Reports, which explore the links between optics companies and the hunting industry, and have supported the development of the Lush Spring Prize and Tools For The Future projects.

Outside of Ethical Consumer, I have worked on a number of community-led environmental and food growing initiatives around the UK and abroad. Highlights include:

  • Co-developing a community food strategy for North Lancashire and coordinating FoodFutures: North Lancashire’s Sustainable Food Partnership and Network.
  • Supporting the development of Lancaster Seed Library and Claver Hill community food project in Lancaster.
  • Facilitating a community-led reforestation project in Uchira, Tanzania.
  • Working on the Butterfly Effect project in Norwich, which used art and participatory workshops in schools and public spaces to explore the impacts climate change will have in the Norfolk area.
  • Attending the European Food Sovereignty gathering in Romania and International Permaculture Convergence in India.

I currently work part-time for LESS - a sustainability organisation based in Lancaster -, where I am overseeing the development of a cross-sector food partnership.

Future aspirations

I would like to see Ethical Consumer’s work being adapted to create educational resource packs and campaigns that can be used within a variety of educational settings - from primary schools to universities.

Outside interests

I sit on the management committee of Claver Hill community food project in Lancaster and co-founded Lapwing House Cooperative. I am learning Greek and love to draw/paint; grow and implement my permaculture learnings.

Josie Wexler
ECRA

Josie Wexler

Writer / Researcher

I joined Ethical Consumer in February 2015. It seemed like a natural match for my skills, as I have background in researching the sustainability of products.

Highlights

My highlight at Ethical Consumer so far has been researching soya for the magazine. As I delved into it I found that there was a massive and hugely important story around it that had not been told by the mainstream media.

Highlights before Ethical Consumer include authoring the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report at the Centre for Alternative Technology – a piece of research on how the UK could rapidly reduce its gas emissions to zero. We modelled both the energy and the land system and also looked at many industrial emissions that are often ignored.

Another highlight was my Masters thesis, during which I researched small farmers in Zambia growing energy crops for large companies. As some farmers were Fairtrade certified and some were not, one of the things that I looked at was the effect of the certification.

Other expertise and experience

Immediately prior to working at Ethical Consumer, I worked for a Norwegian consultancy that helps companies to reduce their environmental impacts. I have also worked as a teacher. I have a BA in Philosophy and an MSc in Environmental Technology, specialising in Energy Policy.

Future aspirations

I would like Ethical Consumer to be able to do more on-the-ground research into supply chains in different parts of the world.

Outside interests
I play, write and teach traditional music from several countries. I also like reading and writing on lots of topics. I am interested in many parts of social science, particularly economics.

Mac Denyer
ECRA

Mackenzie Denyer

Writer / Researcher

I joined Ethical Consumer in July 2016, after finishing my degree in Development and Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. The organisation’s mission and structure was a perfect fit for my campaign interests and research skills.

Highlights

For the last four years I have worked as an auditor of Lush Cosmetic’s strict non-animal testing policy. I have helped Lush communicate its stance on animal testing to its suppliers and develop internal management systems to monitor compliance against its policy.

Currently I manage the delivery of Ethical Consumer’s due diligence research products. We work with amazing third party organisations to assess the policies and practices of partners, suppliers and donors to minimise reputational risk and promote ethical procurement practices.

Other expertise and experience

Whilst working at Ethical Consumer I have worked on a number of other consultancy projects including a feasibility study for the introduction of a new certification label in the Sri Lankan tea industry and have supported small businesses in the development of internal procurement systems and policies.

Future aspirations

I would like to work on more projects that dig deep into supply chains, looking beyond the first-tier and down to the murky depths of third and fourth tier where contractors often fly under the radar of supply chain management policies and auditing.

Outside interests
Outside of work I am a keen climber, ultimate Frisbee player and cook. I am currently writing my second cookbook.

Clare
ECRA

Clare Carlile

Writer / Researcher

I joined Ethical Consumer in September 2017. It seemed like the ideal job to me, having used information from the website for campaigns at university. The breadth of knowledge here is brilliant.

Highlights

So far, my highlight has been the 2017 conference on ‘Challenging Corporate Power’. It was so nice to hear from some of the organisations whose work we use day to day.

Other expertise and experience

Previously my interests were around electronics and procurement in public institutions. I spent a lot of time at uni campaigning for better auditing of the university’s electronics supply chain. I also helped establish a series of events at the University of Oxford called Tainted Goods, each of which looked at the ethical concerns around a different consumer product. I have a BA in English Literature and Language.

Future aspirations

I’d like to see Ethical Consumer work more with procurement teams. There seems to be lots of energy going into campaigns around councils, in particular, and where they are buying from. That seems like something we could tap into and have a big impact.

Outside interests

Climbing, cooking, cycling… I previously worked as a gardener so am always trying to grow something in our house or tiny back yard.

Alex Crumbie
ECRA

Alex Crumbie

Writer / Researcher

I joined Ethical Consumer as a writer and researcher in 2018, wanting to apply and develop my research skills within an organisation that campaigns for progressive change.

Highlights

I have spoken on several radio shows since joining Ethical Consumer, including Radio 4’s You and Yours, and Voice of Islam. I have also given presentations on ethical consumption to the Shropshire and Stockport Humanist Societies.

Much of the my consultancy work has been for Lush Cosmetics – primarily auditing their supply chains for animal testing.

I am part of the team that obtained grant funding from Friend’s Provident Foundation to research greenwashing in the investment fund sector.

I am also part of the team campaigning for workers’ rights in supermarket supply chains – particularly migrant workers in southern Spain.

Other expertise and experience

I have a background in political economy, having completed an MA in Global Political Economy at the University of Sussex. I have a BA in International Relations & Philosophy from the same institution.

I also worked as a researcher at the Institute for Employment Studies, based in Brighton.

Future aspirations

I’m keen to continue working on a range of topics and sectors, from fast fashion to finance. I’m also really interested to see how the campaign for workers’ rights in supermarket supply chains develops.

Outside interests

Outside of Ethical Consumer I keep myself busy playing in a band, writing poems and creating short animation films.

To find out more about any of our products or services, please contact Alex on 0161 226 2929, or consultancy@ethicalconsumer.org