7 Thought-provoking Reasons Why Ethical Consumerism isn’t Dead Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Ethical Consumerism Isn’t Dead, It Just Needs To Be Put On Ventilator

 Ethical consumerism is the broad term that is used for the companies that are providing the products to the consumers that are according to their interests and demands. Due to increasing competition the companies have to work hard to sustain their position in the market. For this purpose, the companies needs to provide quality and durable products to the consumers so that they can have the good place in the market and achieve competitive advantage. Moreover, the company have to take care now of the ethical issues also so that they can have brand recognition and achieve desired profits.

The products that can appeal the consumers the most provided by the company be the reasonable coffee or purchase of the product that it has reasonable cause behind its purchase. The companies take initiatives for collecting charities through the purchase of their products. For example, companies allocate some percent of the price of the product is donation for the charitable cause. So if the customer purchases the product then it automatically pays for the charity or donation. Hence, ethical consumerism is buying the products that are made according to the ethics. This means that the products are manufactured without harm to the humans or animals and also to the environment.

There are two types of buying behavior that is observed in ethical consumerism such as positive buying and the negative purchasing. The positive buying means the consumers prefer the products that are ethically manufactured and their businesses are operated on behalf of the principles that are primarily on benefits of the greater good of the consumers rather than the self-interest of the companies. The main goal of the company is providing the providing the products to the customers according to their likeness and what they value the most. For example, fair trade products, halal products, organic food, eco-friendly products and recycled products.

Whereas, the negative buying is the practice that involves boycotting and avoiding the products that the consumers believe are manufactured unethically. The employee boycotts the product on behalf of the decision that the product does not offer the value that is relevant to the unethical practice in production. Mostly the products are being boycotted by the consumers because of the environmental harm, factory farming, and strike action.

With the rapid changes in the consumer behavior and the promotional strategies adopted by the marketers, it is observed that shopping and ethics are combined and has been an ordinary concept. With the rise of this concept, the reactions against this idea are also pacing up gradually. The reaction against this idea is that the change can be effected because of the purchasing habits of the consumers. As the purchasing habit is the major component of the demand of the product in the market. If the purchasing habit changes for any product then the product may experience incline or decline in its growth.

However, the negative attitude towards the ethical consumerism is also being observed. This attitude takes birth from the lower sales of the ethical brands. As the lower sales of the ethical brands portrays that the consumers are not giving much importance to the ethical or non-ethical brands, and they are just purchasing the products on behalf of their demands and habits. Moreover, the arguments are raised that if the consumers are caring more about the moral issues then the companies that are usually manufacturing and promoting their products ethically are supposed to have high market shares. This arguments continues that the people does not care about these issues, and the ethical consumerism is going to fail. The shopping cannot be done to a better world.

The negative behavior of the consumers nearly always have the adverse effect on the strategies of the companies and shake their main aim. The producers normally gets confused with their plan and if the market is saturating. Moreover, the company also starts discouraging its methodology and production standards if they do not receive a positive response. The harm is done when the company is producing and promoting its products ethically, and it gets demotivated from the negative behavior of the consumers.

Therefore, the negative attitude of the ethical consumerism gives message to the companies that they should not work actively for pursuing the moral high ground because they are not rewarded by the consumers for their moral activities. Moreover, the negative attitude will also have an adverse effect on the consumers. The consumers will be impacted in a way that the consumers will be demotivated and give up to bring a change in the world through their purchasing activities. Since the consumers will believe that their efforts are turning out to be wasted, and their aim is hopeless. However, on the other side of the picture, the societies that are operating in the market for a better world, are posing the common idea that is against the negative attitude that marketplace and the consumers are solely profit-driven.

Still the impossibility of ethical consumerism is discussed everywhere such as in business meetings, seminars or other events. One of the major argument that is seen regarding the ethical consumerism is that while the companies are progressing and are successful by doing well for the society through their products and promotion, they can more often they are not able to do well. The companies more often struggle to be successful while they are trying to good for the society is because for doing something good for the society needs compromises. If the company is trying to make the world a better place, then the company has to sacrifice its profits and growth. Therefore, the effective and immediate solution for the unethical consumerism is the regulation for making changes in the market. But, sustaining the widespread regulation in real time is not very easy, and it would have negative effects even if it did.

The only hope for ethical consumerism seems to be the change that the consumers can bring by their practices, but it requires a long wait. One reason due to which ethical consumerism seems to be entertaining is that even though the market share of the ethical brands is not as quite high as other brands, but it appears to be a wrong practice to use the current sales of the product for judging ethical consumerism. We cannot draw conclusions about current market shares and what they mean, until the marketing plays its role in guiding ethical consumerism.

The light in the dark for ethical consumerism is that the people are more often behave ethically even when it is required to sacrifice something, usually cash. People donate millions of dollars to the charity for doing something good for the society. Recently, number of people took part in the ice bucket challenge and collected money for ALS so that it can carry out its research work. From the experiences mentioned above reflects a clear picture that the people in our society are willing to add up money with other parties for an ethical cause and doing something great for the society.

However, the shopping behavior of the people is quite different from the other behaviors like donating money to the charity. The shopping behavior of people reflects more their personal choices rather than thinking about the good of the society. As the buying habits and the interest of the consumers seems to be an obstacle in the high market share of the ethical products. People more often will buy what they like even if purchasing that product does not help the society. Hence, the people have different behavior while shopping than charity. This gives the impression that the ethical consumerism is vanishing.

But still the people buy the products that are ethical manufactured and is no harm to the society. People buy the products like environment-friendly household products, organic foods and hybrid cars. This is possible through the effective marketing that people are convinced to buy ethical products. However, there are other benefits too of these products such as health benefits, saving money on gas, luxury, easy to use and comfortable. These benefits are not advertised by the marketers normally and their focus is on how well it is for society. This is the major reason that the profits and market share is low for the ethical products.

The negative attitude towards the ethical consumerism is on behalf of the assumption that consumers have one stable utility structure and that utility is expressed in the purchasing behavior of the consumers. But, the main issue is that the nature of the human beings is quite different. People normally do not possess one value for the thing that is they do not have consistent and stable utility structure. That is they give value to things according to the situation and their interests. Even though they would have knowledge that the product is ethical or not, still they will evaluate it according to their need. The consumers cannot have one-preference idea of decisions and value for any product. It is obvious that people are neither fully normal, nor they are selfish nor they do not have a stable utility structure.

The ethical decisions are normally inconsistent as the consumers believe in giving the value to their interest and demands in the current situation. For example, if the person is very much concerned with the good of society and emphasizes on buying the products that are ethical and have an optimistic attitude towards ethical consumerism. If that person stays at the resort and he has to packages such as green package in which he has limited water and no facilities that are harmful to the society and the other package is the normal one in which almost all the facilities are provided. Then the person would obviously choose the normal package even though he has a great value for the ethical products. His preference changed in the current situation as he wanted to avail all the facilities which would make his stay pleasant rather than restless.

This means that ethical consumerism is not vanishing and people do have motivation for doing something good for the society. This does not mean that ethical consumerism is dying in fact it is present, but it is struggling. People have the determination for doing good for the society, however, there is effective marketing needed for promoting ethical consumerism in the market. People do buy ethical products and they are also popular in the market, but if the marketing is done in the right way that is if it also highlights the other benefits to the customers with the ethically values then the sales and growth of the product can increase gradually and it can be a star in the market. As people are giving more value to ethical products with the changes in our climate and everyday life.

Marketing is all about pushing the products in the market and providing the needs and benefits to its target market. With the help of marketing the companies promote their products aggressively in the market and achieve good position in the market. Marketing is already playing a vital role in promoting the products in the markets by explaining different benefits associated with those products. So if the marketing is all about pushing the product and brand positioning, then it should be used for promoting ethical consumer behavior more. Brand loyalty of the consumers increases if the product that they are buying is comprehension of their values.

Loyal customers are the assets of the company, and if their deeply-held values are engaged then they can be fruitful for the company. The engagement and the commitment of the consumers are priceless and worthy for any company. If the employees are committed to any brand then there are chances that the company can achieve its targets. Moreover, the ethical brands usually involve in the practice of encouraging the engagement and commitment of the consumers. The consumers normally prefer the brands of Whole Foods as it provides ethical products at low prices. Ethical products at low prices are a good combination, and the customers are willing to purchase those products.

It is very difficult to find this type of examples for the retailers who are less ethical and who emphasize exclusively on the price. Offering low price is not always the right way to attract the customers. As the customers wants the high-quality products that satisfy their needs and demands. If the company lowers the prices down of its products, but it does not offer to the customers their needs and benefits then there will be no effect of lowering the prices. For effective marketing of ethical products the company can promote the benefits of the products to the customers and in this way the ethical consumerism can find stability and can play its role.

Consider the market in which different companies are operating. For instance, there are companies who are having the positive attitude towards ethical consumerism and similarly, the companies that are having positive attitude about ethical consumerism. The companies, which are having negative attitude, are only drawing the conclusions on behalf of the market shares and the sales of the companies. As mentioned above this is not a good practice, as market share of the company does not give the clear picture of the product.

But the companies, which are having positive attitude towards ethical consumerism, are having better position in the market. The consumers have the ethical motivation, and the optimistic companies need to assist the consumers so that they could express their feelings. The past market share does not mean that the consumers are not waiting for the opportunity to do something extraordinary when they spend money. So, by staying positive the company has a competitive advantage in the market, and it can grow profits and its brand as well. So, the effective brand positioning of the ethical products and using brand loyalty, ethical consumerism can be given great value and effective marketing strategies can prove to be the pillar in the success ethical consumerism.

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