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 consumerism, 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' [http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book227081] and the 1997 Routledge 'Green Building Handbook'. [http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780419226901/].

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 jointly developing the 2017 Lush Spring Prize – a project that supports the regenerative movement around the world. The final prize-giving event was 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 co-organised the final ‘regenerative’ event for the 2019 Spring Prize event.

Outside of Ethical Consumer, I have worked on a number of environmental education and community food growing initiatives around the UK and abroad. Highlights include:
    • Supporting the development of a community farm 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.
    • Using food growing, cooking and eating to bring diverse community groups together in the Halliwell area of Bolton (to support the process of overcoming social tensions).
    • Establishing quarterly seasonal markets in Lancaster that showcase sustainable local food producers, businesses and community food projects.
    • 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 that will deliver the work of Sustainable Food City Lancaster.

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 farm in Lancaster and co-initiated a bicycle fixing project in Lancaster that works with the City of Sanctuary group in my area. 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. Whilst at university, I developed a passion and talent for value-based research.

Highlights

In the summer of 2017, I carried out field research on the Sri Lankan tea industry for the charity Save the Children. By conducting interviews of a cross-section of different stakeholders in the industry, I helped compile a report on the impact of ethical certifications on the welfare of tea estate workers.

For two years I have been the lead researcher and writer of the Ethical Consumer Markets Report. This report is the most respected barometer of ethical markets in the UK; and is used by academics, government and business as a measure of the growing ethical market. The most recent publication was reported on by the Financial Times and iNews.

Other expertise and experience

Before starting at Ethical Consumer, I worked as a volunteer coordinator on a straw-bale eco-house project. I also worked as an English tutor in Korea.

Future aspirations

My dream project would be researching the ethics of raw material extraction in sub-Saharan Africa. Especially in countries such as the DRC, where mining for cobalt has contributed significantly to the destabilisation of the country.

Outside interests
Outside of work I am a keen climber, ultimate Frisbee player and cook, and I volunteer on various eco-projects. I also work part-time at a vegetarian cafe in Matlock, Derbyshire as a waiter, manager and chef.

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. I wanted to apply and develop my research skills within an organisation that campaigns for progressive change.

As well as working as a writer and research, I have worked on many other projects and aspects of the cooperative: a member of the finance team, part of the Save Our Bank campaign, the Journal for Consumer Ethics and the Ethical Consumer podcast.

Highlights

Shortly after joining Ethical Consumer, I spoke on the Radio 4 programme You and Yours to discuss my research around furniture shops and the timber trade.
I also worked on a project for the cosmetics firm Lush, which involved auditing their key supply chains. This was a fantastic project to be involved in.

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

Future aspirations

I want Ethical Consumer to reach as many people and affect as much change as possible. I am excited to carry out more original research and work on a range of consultancy projects.

Outside interests

I play music regularly, mainly around Manchester. I am also working on a long-term project writing and illustrating a series of story books.

 

 

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