This paper considers the ethical purchasing of what are described as conscious consumers. Conscious consumers present a complex mix of behaviors; while seeking ethical alternatives, other social and economic forces impact on their behavior such that positive ethical choices are not always made. We identify two areas of theory relevant to the conceptualization of such consumers, flexibility and dissonance theory. A study of nine participants identified as conscious consumers was undertaken. As anticipated the participants revealed a range of often contradictory behaviors regarding their ethical purchases. The relevance of flexibility and dissonance theory to their behavior is discussed
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