As we witness a rise in ‘ethical branding’, we should interrogate which practices could have any effect on ethical concerns. Capitalism generates the need for ethical consumption and benefits from its sale. Ethical practices must move beyond the sphere of consumption; likewise, analyses of ethical branding should address communication and networking. What we need is a concrete understanding of how brands communicate information about themselves. This can reveal that alternative ethical practices are not only possible, but are already occurring.
Ethical brands have risen to prominence in recent years as a market solution to a diverse range of political, social and, in this case most interestingly, ethical problems. By signifying the ethical beliefs of the firm behind them, ethical brands offer an apparently simple solution to ethical consumers: buy into the brands that represent the value systems that they believe in and avoid buying into those with value-systems that they do not believe in.