To finish off the year on the café spaces blog, a new article drawing on our research around the coffee shop industry and ethical consumption has been published in the Journal of Consumer Ethics. As part of a special issue on Food and Ethical Consumption, the article ‘From Bean to cup and beyond: exploring ethical consumption and coffee shop’, written with my co-author Dr Carlos Ferreira explores some of the issues relation to ethical consumption for the coffee shop industry.
The paper illuminates some of the complexities consumers face around ethical consumption in coffee shops focusing on three areas in particular: the business model of coffee shop chosen; the ethical qualities of coffee consumed; and what happens to the waste produced.
It begins by exploring the growth of the coffee shop industry and the implications this has for increased consumption of products and energy. After examining some of the literature related to ethical consumption and coffee shops the article presents a model to illustrate some of the coffee shop choices consumers face and where ethical consumption choices can be made. The article highlights how there are many components which can contribute to ethical consumption in coffee shops. The choice of coffee shop presents consumers with an ethical choice, as well as the coffee consumed in these places, although the article highlights there is some confusion among consumers about what constitutes ‘ethical’ coffee. The article then moves on to consider how ethical consumption choices can be made regarding waste produced, in particular around the issue of disposable coffee cups. In doing so it highlights how there are a range of stakeholders than can play a part in fostering more ethical consumption choices.
The Journal of Consumer Ethics is an open access interdisciplinary academic journal for research into ethical consumption, and the article along with the others in the special issue are free to download.