The most recent report on cameras by an organisation out of the UK called ‘The Ethical Consumer Research Association’ has concluded that, based on its assessment of their environmental/political credentials, there is not one camera manufacturer worthy of consumer support.
It advises consumers to buy a second hand camera instead! ‘No camera stood out clearly as an ethical option. Our best buy is a second-hand camera,’ the report states. ‘To avoid companies with links to either surveillance or trophy hunting, we would recommend buying from Sigma, Hasselblad or Olympus…for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, or GoPro for compact ‘action’ cameras.
Measures it considers include involvement in conflict minerals, the handling of toxic materials intrinsic to electronics manufacturing, and even whether the manufacturer also makes binoculars which people might use for hunting.
For instance both Nikon and Leica ‘both actively promote trophy hunting through the manufacture and sale of equipment and through their marketing and sponsorship programs’ and are marked down accordingly.
Canon and Fujifilm come in with a score of just 4.5 out of 20 – close to the bottom of the league table. Panasonic Lumix scores 4. At the top of the table with a score of 9 out of 20 comes Sigma, with Hasselblad and Ricoh/Pentax next with 7.5.
But how ethical is The Ethical Research Consumer Association when it’s not pontificating on the ethics of other organisations? Reading through the report, Inside Imaging experienced an involuntary raising of the eyebrows when we saw that ‘ERCA’, if we can call it that, runs display advertising on its website for Sony (score 5.5) to sell the very cameras to advises us not to buy: ‘Ethical Consumer makes a small amount of money from your purchase. This goes to fund our research and campaigning. We ethically screen all the sites we link to.’
So if you buy an ‘unethical’ camera brand (bad) from an ‘ethical’ outlet (good) and some of the proceeds go to Ethical Consumer Association (good?) – are you a good person or a bad person? Hmm…