Responsible consumption

Responsible, socially committed, ethical and critical consumption constitute a series of responses to the social and environmental consequences of a society based on overconsumption that has taken root since the post-WWII boom period. Fair trade, short circuits, organic and community-supported farming, AMAP in France, GAS in Italy and consumer cooperatives are all alternative systems for producing, distributing and/or consuming, offering an alternative economic approach rooted in partnerships between producers and consumers. They aim to create a process whereby the risks and benefits linked to healthy, ethical and collaborative production that respects natural and cultural heritage is shared between these economic actors. They take into account the social conditions underpinning production as well as its methods. A number of initiatives, such as the Seikatsu clubs in Japan, have a wider scope than the collective purchase of foodstuffs. For example, work cooperatives are emerging for the production of meals for the elderly, and Seikatsu club members are standing for election on local councils and/or taking part in events concerning the global issues linked to food. For several years, the Gruppi di Acquisti Solidale (GAS) in Italy has formed the backbone of the Italian solidarity economy movement.

Based on the principles of sustainable development, food security and sovereignty, strengthening social ties and cooperation, as well as refocusing on local, healthy and well-balanced food, the experiments in alternative consumption, self-production, sharing, recycling and simple living are at the heart of a socio-political construction centred on satisfying needs, happiness, prosperity, redistribution, pooling resources at the global level, environmental protection and social justice. By making consumers active rather than passive, responsible consumption is part of daily life, feeding into democratic reflections on the meaning of economic activities.

4 publications

A thesis

2 Videos

A pedagogical tool

4 case studies

27 Analyses/working papers/articles

3 public contributions

5 articles