Part [part not set] of 10 in series "TEDx Talks on the Ethics of Business & Economics"

1) Why we can’t shop our way to a better economy | Stacy Mitchell | TEDxDirigo (2012)

Let’s start this post with the video most critical about what ethical consumerism can achieve, due among others to limits on the ability of individuals to acquire and process information about what would be good consumer choices. What is needed according to Stacy Mitchell is changing the structure of the economy itself by acting collectively as citizens. Her vision is an economy with less big corporations and more local businesses rooted in local communities – which, she argues, government policies should stimulate. Mitchell’s bio as included with this TEDx / YouTube video:

Stacy Mitchell is a researcher and writer at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a national nonprofit organization that challenges corporate consolidation of the economy and champions policies to nurture community-scaled enterprise. Stacy directs two ILSR initiatives on independent business and community banking. Her analysis has helped inspire many grassroots campaigns and provided empirical support for changes to local and state policy. Stacy’s articles have appeared in Business Week, The Nation, Grist, Utne Reader, Sojourners, and many daily newspapers. Her book, Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, was named one of the top ten business books of 2007 by Booklist.”

2) The Power of Consumerism: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility | Daniel Dubois | TEDxSFU (2015)

Now on to three videos that are more positive about the potential impact of ethical consumerism. The speaker in the first of these three videos, Daniel Dubois, was triggered early in his life to start thinking about the importance of ‘access’ rather than ‘ownership’ and championed a shift to the sharing economy. Later he came to realize that this was not enough, and that it is necessary “to align our purchases with our values” in all our consumption choices. The bio of Dubois as can be found with the video on YouTube:

“Daniel is a passionate social entrepreneur and changemaker who is currently buildling a world of unlimited access to adventure through ShareShed. He spoke on stage at We Day, received a monthly grant from the Austrian government to conduct research on the European sharing economy, and traveled to over 25 countries. Daniel was chosen for The Next Big Thing Young Entrepreneurs in Residence at Hootsuite’s HQ as well as a Canadian G20 delegate.”

3) Ethical consumerism and the power of having a choice | Jason Garman | TEDxTeAro (2013)

The speaker in this third video is an activitist working for Oxfam. His talks gives a number of examples of successful public campaigns to get companies to change their behavior. The description with the video as featured on YouTube:

“In the past eight years with Oxfam New Zealand, Jason has helped survivors of humanitarian emergencies, enabled vulnerable people to work their way out of extreme poverty, and forged global campaigns around climate change, fair trade and the Arms Trade Treaty. Jason will talk about ethical consumerism and the power of having a choice and voice. By adopting a wider perspective we not only increase our personal happiness, we build a more equal world where everyone can thrive.”

4) Conscious consumerism – time to shop & live – our values | Diane Ridgway-Cross | TEDxMontrealWomen (2015)

As in the previous talk, the personal journey and motivation of the speaker is an important part of the story. This talk  specifically addresses the consumer choices that women make – using the clever word play ‘GIRLcotting’ instead of boycotting unethical companies. Her optimistic message: “every [collective boycotting] action start with on person.” The – very American – case she discusses is moms coming together to change the policy of StarBucks to allow guns in their cafes. The bio of Ridgway-Cross as displayed with the video on YouTube:

“Diane is a recognized expert on the topic of marketing to women and moms, speaking at conferences across North America and Europe. She is a member of the Network of Executive Women, the National Retail Federation and the Retail Council of Canada and is a distinguished scholar of the In-Store Market­ing Institute. She holds her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Missouri and her MBA from Wake Forest University’s Babcock School of Management.”

Learn more about this topic? Visit our digital bookshelf for suggestions on what to read

You may also be interested in this blog post, which makes a plea for ethical spaces instead of ethical products:

Series "TEDx Talks on the Ethics of Business & Economics":

Have you got 10 to 20 minutes left for a boost of knowledge or inspiration? Watch one of the TEDx talks that we selected for you in the area of ethics and business/economics. All videos in this series, filterable by topic, can also be found at

Articles in this series:
  1. Rethinking Economics; 5 TEDx Talks (and 4 Books)
  2. Fair Trade; 4 TEDx Talks
  3. Economic Growth; 4 TEDx Talks
  4. The Business Case for Sustainability; 4 TEDx Talks
  5. Conscious Capitalism; 4 TEDx Talks
  6. Ethical Consumerism; 4 TEDx Talks
  7. Purpose in Business; 3 TEDx Talks
  8. Business Ethics; 4 TEDx Talks
  9. Pro or Con Free Markets?; 4 TEDx Talks
  10. The Nature of Capitalism; 4 TEDx Talks