Keywords: consumer citizenship, consumer rights, consumer duties, sustainable development, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, CSR, exit and voice, moral responsibility, sustainable consumption
The moral responsibility of consumers as citizens
The paper addresses the extent of, and preconditions for, consumers' moral responsibility for sustainable consumption. Starting from the concept of consumer citizenship it is argued that full citizenship includes both rights and duties. The established set of Kennedy's consumer rights is used as a basis for deriving corresponding consumer duties, which foster sustainable development. It will be shown that an extension of the traditional rights is a precondition for the execution of these duties: to be informed, to choose consciously and to make oneself heard. The paper ends with the conclusion that the extent of consumers' responsibility depends on the extent of consumers' rights. Thus, proponents of a higher degree of consumers' responsibility are called to work for the necessary provision of consumer rights.