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Overview and analysis of ethical consumerism

Describe about the Contemporary Marketing of Ethics?

It is well noticed that productions of product and services have largely increased pressure on the environmental and social characteristics. Moreover, due to increasing complexity in business and growing competition, many businesses adopts unethical means in producing and supplying products and services to the final users. The firms are also engaged in buying the raw materials that unethical extracted from the natural sources in order to increase their productivity and survive in the market (Boone, 2012). Therefore, it shows that they do not have concern for the environment and society. On the other hand, the companies do not try to find from where the products have been brought by the suppliers. They are more engaged in buying the materials for the benefit of their business.

Therefore, the current study will be focusing on discussing the effectiveness of ethical consumerism and its meaning will be understood in brief. Furthermore, list of products will be outlined in the report that falls under ethical category. A detailed review of the company will be presented. In that context, Tesco has been selected for this study. Moreover, a survey will be conducted upon which the results will be discussed. Therefore, it will let known about the acceptance of ethical consumerism.

According to Cohen (2013), ethical consumerism is considered as buying things that are produced ethically. It means without exploiting and harming animals, humans and natural environment. Moreover, ethical consumerism takes form of positive buying and moral boycott. Positive buying favours ethical products and also businesses that functions on principles which relies on benefit for the higher good. On the other hand, moral boycott relates with the company based purchasing and negative purchasing (Lekakis, 2013).

Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell (2014) argued that ethical consumerism is good strategy. It helps in attaining sustainable development and people would be able to achieve higher quality of life. On the other hand, the business will be making sincere effort in using unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. Adopting ethical consumerism will encourage innovative products and firms while discouraging others that eliminate the environmental and social consequences of the action taken by them (Gill, 2012). Moreover, it will empower the business to know how the product has been made and also about the company that are involved in making such products.

Apart from that, Gunderson (2013) mentioned that the business will become more responsible towards the society and environment. Therefore, the consumers that prefer ethical products will move to these businesses for buying the product. Further, it will help in increasing the demand of the ethical product and exploitation of natural environment will be reduced. On the other hand, Hamelin, Harcar and Benhari (2013) pointed that businesses would not be using products of the firm that would be produced by employing child.  Therefore, the company and its business will have a positive impact on the customers and they will be willing to buy the products from such company.

The products that can be considered under ethical category are food and drink such as fair trade, free range eggs and poultry; personal products such as ethical cosmetics, charity shops, real nappies; green home such as micro generation, green energy, energy efficient boilers, etc. These ethical products are well in demand by the consumers as these products have less impact on the natural resources and society (Hudson, Hudson and Edgerton, 2013). As a result, today consumers prefer to consume ethical products in comparison to traditional way of production. Apart from that, the number of ethical producing companies is increasing which ensures that environment will be well protected and right quality goods will be delivered to the consumers. The other products that fall in ethical section are wood products, recycled paper, light bulbs, etc (Lewis and Potter, 2013).

Detailed Review of Tesco

It has been found that Tesco claims that they operate in ethical manner and does not give room for unethical means in their business. Tesco is a well known retail industry which has its main branch in UK. It is third biggest retailer across the globe. The products in which the company deals are hypermarket, supermarket and superstore. The company is highly engaged in supplying grocery items both physically and online. Moreover, highly conform that they deals in all products that are produced ethically and where no harm is caused to environment or animals (Our Tesco, 2015).

It can be seen in the company’s portal that Tesco deals in their own labels for supplying household products and personal care products to the consumers. They claim that the products have not been tested on animals. It is seen from the ethical code of conduct of Tesco that they did not entertain any kind of corruption, bribery or fraud in their business system. Therefore, if any employee found doing any misconduct with the products or in business activities then such employees are terminated or a case is filed against them (Tesco.ie, 2015).

On the other hand, it has also been found that none of the employee of Tesco tries harder to engage customers. It s one of the core values of Tesco. Therefore, the employees are not forced to procure the products without consideration just for serving the customers. Furthermore, the company has established Protector Line, through which the employees can raise concerns relating to any misconduct at work in supplying the expired products to the customers (tescoplc.com, 2015). The company trades in the products that are produced with highest quality and fulfil with all rules and regulations. Scale of good is being used by the company and they are fully committed to it. Moreover, the supply chain has been simplified to form better relationships with their suppliers and farmers so that quality and organic food can be supplied to the consumers.

The food safety management system has been well-established by Tesco within their distribution centres and stores. Through the system the company is able to monitor the quality and expiry of the products that need to be arranged in the stores for the customers. It helps in maintaining the food quality standard of the company. During food check, the management considers personal hygiene, products temperature, cleanliness of equipments and stores, protection of foods from contamination, etc (Tescoplc.com, 2015). On the other hand, the company also ensures that their suppliers comply with quality standards and product safety. The company also try to know the complete details from whom they buy products from and vigilantly evaluate every product before making it available for the customers in their stores.

On the other hand, the company is totally against child labour. Therefore, the firm that involves child for manufacturing or producing their products, the company does not show any interest in buying their products. As a result, it adds a value to the brand of the company. It has been seen that company does not copy others idea (Yeow, Dean and Tucker, 2013). Therefore the company has launched their own brands which eliminate the use of animal and environmental aspects. This helps in increasing the brand value of the company. It can be known that Tesco is an active member of SEDEX and Ethical Trading Initiative for the improvement of ethical performance of supply chains. Furthermore, piloting supply chain significantly impact assessments with the suppliers in UK, Thailand and China (tescoplc.com, 2015). Therefore, it helps Tesco and their suppliers to understand the impact of supply chain on factory workers and communities’ lives. The company does not arrange products on the costs of workers which completely fall under the code of ethical consumerism.

A survey has been conducted by engaging around 15 students that study at GSM, London. The survey has turned effective in accumulating quality information about their thinking on ethical consumerism. It has been found from the research that there were few students that considered themselves as an ethical consumer. Only 37% of the students responded that they are ethical consumer whereas 12% responded that they are not at all ethical consumer.

On the other hand, a question has been asked about which factors mostly influence their buying behaviour; is it price, quality, convenience or brand image. Therefore, it has been known that most of the respondents agreed on price, second brand image and third quality. It can be understood that if the price of the products are reasonable then they will prefer buying more products. Moreover, the quality of the product is not given high points as they do not understand the importance of quality. The other question that was asked is about whether they understand ethical consumerism or not. It was known from their response that most of the students do understand the concept of ethical consumerism. The students responded that ethical consumerism is about buying products that are ethically manufactured without hurting animals, environment and society. Therefore, 62% of students know the meaning of ethical consumerism.

Apart from that it has also been found that 41% of the students consult with their parents or colleagues to make their purchase decision. It helps them to evaluate the products on the basis of purchase experience of previous buyers. Therefore, students seek advice on buying the product or should count on other products or brand. On the other hand, some of the students responded search information about the products over the internet for making buying decision. Therefore, the review that has been given by earlier buyers highly impacts their behaviour before buying the product. If they are satisfied with the reviews then they tend to buy the products. Furthermore, the students also agree on the fact that all the customers should consider ethical buying so that environment can be enhanced. It will also improve the health quality of the consumers and they will become more responsible towards the society. The product producing firm will also then adopt ethical approach in abolishing the use of scarce natural resources and illegal use of animals in their food products.

Conclusion

From the overall study, it can be concluded that ethical consumerism is trending at better pace all over the globe, mostly in the developed nation and where the natural resources are limited. It has been found that ethical consumerism has changed the perspective of the companies and buyers in buying the products. It has made the buyers more responsible and highly contributes for the betterment of the environment and society. On the other hand, the meaning of ethical consumerism has clearly defined which explains its importance in long run. Moreover, there are many products that fall under ethical category which does not use animals, scarce resources or affect society rather it motivates the consumers to consume such product more and more. Apart from that, it has been seen that Tesco is serious engaged in promoting ethical consumerism. The company follows strict rules and regulations against the use of harmful chemicals or animals in the products that they buy from other manufactures. Therefore, it stand outs the company in comparison to its competitors. Moreover, the survey has helped in understanding the knowledge of students regarding ethical consumerism and their buying behaviour.

References

BOONE, L. (2012). Contemporary marketing, 2013 update. [s.l.]: Cengage learning custom p.

Cohen, M. (2013). Collective dissonance and the transition to post-consumerism. Futures, 52, pp.42-51.

Ethical consumerism to reptile welfare: views aired at welfare forum. (2011). Veterinary Record, 168(22), pp.595-595.

Ferrell, O., Fraedrich, J. and Ferrell, L. (2014). Business ethics. [s.l.]: Cengage learning.

Gill, D. (2012). College Students Attitudes towards Ethical Consumerism - an Indian Perspective. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 4(5), pp.1-13.

Gunderson, R. (2013). Problems with the defetishization thesis: ethical consumerism, alternative food systems, and commodity fetishism. Agriculture and Human Values, 31(1), pp.109-117.

Hamelin, N., Harcar, T. and Benhari, Y. (2013). Ethical Consumerism: A View From the Food Industry in Morocco. Journal of Food Products Marketing, 19(5), pp.343-362.

Hudson, M., Hudson, I. and Edgerton, J. (2013). Political Consumerism in Context: An Experiment on Status and Information in Ethical Consumption Decisions. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 72(4), pp.1009-1037.

Krupa, J. (2013). Shopping for good?: The perils of ‘ethical consumerism’. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20(2), pp.248-249.

Lekakis, E. (2013). Coffee activism and the politics of fair trade and ethical consumption in the global North. [Basingstoke]: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lewis, T. and Potter, E. (2013). Ethical Consumption. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Lewis, T. and Potter, E. (2013). Ethical Consumption. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Our Tesco, (2015). Code of business conduct - Our Tesco. [online] Available at: https://www.ourtesco.com/office-handbook/your-conduct/code-of-business-conduct/ [Accessed 20 Jun. 2015].

Tesco.ie, (2015). Suppliers and ethical trading: Position - Tesco Corporate Responsibility Review 2008. [online] Available at: https://www.tesco.ie/crreview08/ethical-objective.html [Accessed 20 Jun. 2015].

tescoplc.com, (2015). Our Code of Business Conduct. [online] Available at: https://www.tescoplc.com/assets/files/cms/Code_of_business_conduct_2015.pdf [Accessed 20 Jun. 2015].

Tescoplc.com, (2015). Ethical trading at Tesco - Tesco PLC. [online] Available at: https://www.tescoplc.com/site/library/policiesandfactsheets/ethical-trading-at-tesco.htm [Accessed 20 Jun. 2015].

Yeow, P., Dean, A. and Tucker, D. (2013). Bags for Life: The Embedding of Ethical Consumerism.Journal of Business Ethics, 125(1), pp.87-99.

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