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Ethical Chic

Ethical Chic

The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love

Author: Fran Hawthorne

Price: $16.00

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How our favorite companies project a hip, progressive image-and whether we should believe them

Named one of the best books of 2012 by Library Journal

Consumers are told that when they put on American Apparel, they look hot. Not only do they look good, but they can also feel good because they are helping US workers earn a decent wage (never mind that some of those female workers have accused their boss of sexual harassment). And when shoppers step into a pair of Timberlands, they feel fashionable and as green as the pine forest they might trek through-that is, until they're reminded that this green company is in the business of killing cows.

It's difficult to define what makes a company hip and also ethical, but some companies seem to have hit that magic bull's-eye. In this age of consumer activism, pinpoint marketing, and immediate information, consumers demand everything from the coffee, computer, or toothpaste they buy-good price, quality, organic ingredients, and worker benefits. In Ethical Chic, Fran Hawthorne uses her business-investigative skills to analyze six favorites: Apple, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, American Apparel, Timberland, and Tom's of Maine. She attends a Macworld conference and walks on the factory floors of American Apparel. She visits the wooded headquarters of Timberland, speaks to consumers who drive thirty miles to get their pretzels and plantains from Trader Joe's, and confronts the founders of Tom's of Maine. More than a how-to guide for daily dilemmas and ethical business practices, Ethical Chic is a blinders-off and nuanced look at the mixed bag of values on sale at companies that project a seemingly progressive image.

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