Green food consumption: whose responsibility?

  • S. Meisch


Starting from the discussion of the concept of responsibility, the paper asks to what extent the issue of counteracting climate change by different food consumption patterns can be broken down to the level of individuals. As no one is obligated beyond what he or she is able to do (‘Ought presupposes Can’), one has to ask for the limits of individual responsibility. Green Food Consumption is not limited to consumers changing their shopping lists in replacing conventional by green products. It rather requires more encompassing lifestyle changes in accordance with the concept of sustainable development. If one agrees that consumers with green shopping lists are to be the solution, then one implicitly agrees that markets are the mechanism to solve the problem. An opposite view calls for the state as problem-solving mechanism. However, there are mechanisms beyond market and state. The paper asks to what extent these other institutional mechanisms alter the assessment of individual responsibility.


responsibility green consumerism social ethics/political philosophy institutions sustainable development 


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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, Research group ‘Ethics of sciences in the research for sustainable development’University of TuebingenTübingenGermany

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