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The Web's possibilities to become tool for ethical consumers

“Our research with over 1,800 people finds that there is a welcome role for information and advice on sustainable lifestyles for 19 per cent of consumers – 8.6 million people across Great Britain. Our study shows that information and advice can support voluntary changes in consumer behaviour.”  Paul Steedman (2005), National Consumer Council. Desperately Seeking Sustainability? 

Most of the researchers have positive expectations about the internet as a better information tool for the ethical consumers, Harrison (2002) mentions that the ACCPE in 2001 said “searchable databases are a powerful tool for market transformation, because they combine the transparency of “rating” with the opportunities offered by IT communications, to make environmental factors a competitive issue and apply pressure across a whole product sector” (ACCPE, 2001). But it has to be considered that delivering information is not an easy task, comparison and recommendation systems provide different levels of information control for the consumers, to which extent this levels of control guarantee an easier decision making process?

Decision-making takes us to the relationship between information and choice, the President of Consumers International argues that: “For consumers, ethical trading is most crucially about transparency and accountability. Communications should not be about forcing consumers to choose between or prioritize the plethora of sustainability issues that will arise in a companies supply chain. It is about making the responsibility choice the easy choice.” 

This brings to the surface the idea to treat the network as a frame, as a container for users exchange, that’s the main reason that is treated as a “tool” for information trading more than an information provider. What it has to be very carefully tailored is the way this trades or interactions take place, in order to have a good performance.