Welcome to the official website of the research project, ‘The rise of ethical consumption in Australia: from the margins to the mainstream’.

This project is funded for three years (2013-15) under the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Project scheme, and is based at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

This nationwide project will be the first of its kind in Australia, and comes at a time when our nation and the world are facing considerable challenges—economic, environmental and social—as a result of excessive consumption. We have noticed an increasing focus on the ethical dimensions of consumption, and a sense that issues around the environment, sustainability, working conditions, animal welfare, fair trade, and other matters of ethical concern are becoming more prominent when people make, sell, buy, use and throw away consumer items.

We want to find out more about what people are thinking about and what people are doing in this sphere, and we are interested in many different perspectives. So in this study, we will be conducting research with consumers, retailers and producers, as well as key industry and consumer bodies, NGOs, and other stakeholders involved in the ethical marketplace to gather a comprehensive understanding of what we are calling a mainstreaming of ‘ethical consumption’.


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The High Cost of High Fashion

Campaigns against “fast fashion” scapegoat working-class consumers while doing little to improve the conditions of garment workers.

Source: Jacobin

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Why eating vegetarian may not be the most ethical diet

Though meat consumption in Canada has declined or plateaued in the past four decades — per capita red meat went down nearly 40 per cent between 1980 and 2015, according to government statistics — along with the rise of “plant-based” diets and Meatless Mondays, it’s estimated only 4 per cent of Canadians do not eat animal products at all.

Source: Toronto Metronews

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Sustainable Business Models Can Lead To Economic Growth

Sustainable business models have a major role to play in economic growth. They could unlock economic opportunities worth up to $12 trillion and increase employment by up to 380 million jobs by 2030, as a report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) reveals.

Source: Just Means

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In Defense of Ethical Omnivorism

Humans have biologically evolved and thrived as omnivores, mixing both the attributes of properly prepared plant foods and those of wild or pasture-raised meats, milk from cows that ate grass and fish that swam freely.

Source: Daily Nexus

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Veganism Comes At a Price

As knowledge about the meat industry and the environmental impacts of animal product consumption have seeped into the mainstream through social media and documentaries like “Cowspiracy” and “Forks Over Knives,” people in the United States are increasingly switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Source: New School Free Press

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The eco guide to good plastic

If we carry on creating and consuming plastic as we are now, by 2050 there will more pieces of plastic in the ocean than there are fish. It seems overwhelming. Almost every piece of plastic ever produced that has not been burned (burning causes toxic emissions), still exists.

Source: The Guardian