Since the early 1990s, numerous corporations have signaled their social responsibility by marketing goods and services in ostensibly ethical terms. This phenomenon rests on the discourse of ethical consumption. The practice is predicated on consumers’ interest in such matters, which are often of a humanitarian or environmentalist nature. In turn, consumers can either reward brands and businesses that are similarly inclined, or punish those that are not. This article considers both the efficacy and politics of such activity through the Green & Black’s brand of organic, Fairtrade chocolate. This was the first Fairtrade product sold in the United Kingdom. The nuanced dynamics of the Green & Black’s brand though underline the necessary compromise of ethical consumption, and reflect a complex grid of contingent ideals and institutionalized hurdles. This article shows how, in articulating a popularly agreeable narrative, the brand’s ethics involves an inherent trade between quantitative gains at a qualitative cost.
- ethical consumption
- Green & Black’s