The project aims to explore how the buying choices of the individual and the state can be used as a lever for development, understood as people’s freedom to live the life they have reason to value - individually and collectively (Sen 1999). Chile and Brazil are countries which continue to suffer from great social inequality. There are nascent ethical consumption movements and sustainable public procurement initiatives which could be used to channel money to the poorer people in these countries. An interdisciplinary team of academics from UK, Brazil and Chile is collaborating with three pioneering NGOs (Ciudadano Responsable, Akatú, and ECRA).
The team will first conduct focus groups in Chile and Brazil to scope the views of citizen-consumers on what people locally see as "ethical" buying choices - individually and collectively. They will then use a large-scale survey in each country to get representative figures which carry weight with policy makers. Twelve months of the project will be dedicated to the research, while in the following six months, the three NGOs will lead on engagement activities, based on the findings. The results can inform a public debate on this powerful development dynamic. For more information, please see: www.sustainablechoices.info