Conscientious Consuming: What
Conscientious Consuming is the process of evaluating the conduct and activities of product manufacturers when purchasing consumer products.
Usually when people are buying a consumer product they consider and compare the price, the features, and the design of competing products. Conscientious consuming is the process of including the "products conscience" in the purchasing process. A products conscience reflects the conduct and actions of the company that manufactures the product.
An example was the boycott of tuna in the early 1990s. Some people refused to purchase canned tuna because dolphins were routinely killed during the capture of tuna. Even though canned tuna did not contain dolphins, the products conscience was tainted by its processing methods. The end result of the boycott was that the tuna companies found a way to catch tuna without killing large numbers of dolphins. Once canned tuna had a "clear conscience" consumers once again began purchasing it.
Conscientious consuming is also the recognition that when consumers purchase a companys product, they are supporting and approving of all of the companys conduct and actions. Some people refuse to purchase Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Jell-o or Tombstone Pizza because to them, these products have a tainted product conscience. This is because the manufacturer, Kraft Foods, is owned by the largest tobacco company in the United States, Philip Morris.
Another form of conscientious consuming is related to the country where products are manufactured. By purchasing products from a certain country consumers are supporting and approving the conduct and activities of that country. In the 1980s, many people boycotted all South African products because their products conscience was tainted by that countrys apartheid system.
Just as most consumers dont select products solely on price or features, a conscientious consumer may not base a products purchase solely on the products conscience. But consumers with a conscience can easily see that a products conscience is worth consideration when making a purchasing decision.
Conscientious Consuming may involve boycotting (punishing) the products of companies and countries whose activities you disapprove of and purchasing (rewarding) the products of companies and countries whose activities have your approval.
International Marine Mamal Project,
Earth Island Institute Campaign
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society