Center for Fair & Alternative Trade

Colorado State University

Conscious Consumption: Global & Local

Conscious consumption is growing across the global North as consumers increasingly look for assurances that what they buy is produced and traded under socially just and sustainable conditions. This growth in consumer consciousness supports a range of fair and alternative trade initiatives in international, national, and local agro-food systems. Our research reveals the spread of conscious consumption beyond niche markets into the North American mainstream.

Future research addresses consumers’ level of knowledge, engagement and participation in ethical consumption. We will also assess the key deterrents, such as lack of clear information, competing labeling schemes, or low levels of product availability, that prevent consumers from making a deeper commitment to “shopping with their values.”

In addition to research, CFAT is also actively engaged in outreach activities designed to raise public awareness of conscious consumption. These include participation in local alternative food and trade organizations such as Be Local Northern Colorado and Ten Thousand Villages as well leadership on a Fort Collins initiative to build a Community Marketplace.

CFAT Personnel: Douglas Murray, Laura Raynolds, Dawn Thilmany, Douglas Holt, Michael Long, & Laura Ridenour

Funding: Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority (DDA); Bohemian Foundation

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