Letter: Importance of well-informed consumers

Share
Related Topics
Sir: With regard to David Nicholson-Lord's article 'Consumerism with a shrunken vision' (25 May), the Consumers' Association early on embraced the 'wider agenda' of consumerism that Mr Nicholson-Lord espouses: we founded the International Organisation of Consumers' Unions, the majority of which represent Third World consumers, in 1972. And we have led for many years on major global issues such as trade, food and environmental standards, and quotas on food and textiles.

Closer to home, the association has progressively expanded its definition of 'consumer issues' to include public utilities and public services, not to mention fundamental rights such as access to justice. People subscribe to Which? and our other magazines because, among other things, they recognise we are committed to empowering them - and indeed, all consumers - to make informed consumer decisions.

All this is ignored by Mr Nicholson-Lord. Extraordinarily, he condemns as 'of shrunken vision' an issue of Which? that investigated genetically engineered food and the safety of the Channel tunnel, as well as CFC-free fridges. It also included important topics such as cash machine fraud, estate agents' descriptions and compensations for power cuts, not to mention the famous Which? product tests.

Even in these 'traditional' product- and service-testing areas - which Mr Nicholson-Lord inexplicably believes are our sole remit - we have been in the forefront of wider bases of assessment, including environmental performance. We don't subscribe to the theory of putting environmental issues into a green ghetto. For us, they are mainstream factors likely to influence purchasing decisions.

It is gross oversimplification to present modern consumerism as concerned wholly, or even mainly, with quantity rather than quality. Well-informed consumers will often consume less rather than more; and they will almost always consume more wisely. All this seems to have passed your consumer correspondent by.

Yours faithfully,

SUE LEGGATE

Editorial Director

Which? magazines

London, NW1

27 May

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Upholsterer

£9 - £15 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are seeking excellent indi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
 

The strangely parallel lives of Oliver Letwin and Ed Miliband

Matthew Norman
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral