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Ethical Consumerism To Political Consumption.Geography Compass Add in library

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Describe about the Ethical Consumerism to Political Consumption.Geography Compass?




In recent times a large number of consumers are becoming ethically conscious about almost everything, the food they eat, the products they purchase and the services they receive. According to the ethical consumers the products that they purchase must be environment friendly, proper techniques of production, abides by the labour standards and maintaining the human rights within the process of production. Ethical consumerism is the thriving issue states the different companies engages in ethical trading activities. There are consumers who not only care about the price and quality of the products but are also concerned in the way the products have been made (Hudson, Hudson and Edgerton, 2013). In this regard the environmental impact, rights of the workers and violation of any laws must be considered when the production is commenced. The ethical consumers want to make their purchase ethical and meaningful as ethical issues is the self identity of the ethical consumers. The ethical decision of the consumers depends on their purchasing decision which is reflected through the individual philosophies and personal values (Kelly, 2003). The ethical decision of an individual is based on the personal beliefs of what is wrong and right. Suppose that there is a fair trade label on the product which implies that the product has been derived from developing countries where the companies value the worker’s rights and the welfare of the consumers. Ethical consumerism is of two types the positive buying and the moral boycott. The positive buying refers to the ethical purchase of the consumers rather than on self interest (Kramer, 2006). The aim of the research is to identify the ethical consumer purchase behavior in one of the leading supermarket in the UK which is Tesco. To be more specific, the research does not deal in the quantification of the ethical product and service expenditure rather it offers a qualitative analysis to the purchasing behavior of the consumers in the UK.

The objectives of the research are:

To determine the ethical practices of Tesco.

To understand the consumer’s preference for the ethical products.

To evaluate the availability of ethical products in the stores of Tesco

To analyze the challenges associated with

The research questions that the researcher needs to address in this study are:

What are the current ethical practices of Tesco?

What are the factors that influence the purchasing decision of the consumers?

In what ways do the products of Tesco identified as ethical?

What are the problems and controversies associated with the ethical practices of Tesco?

Literature Review


Ethical consumerism is practiced in Tesco to understand its social responsibility. The literature review provides certain information that will help understand the current position of Tesco and the tools that are used for ethical consumerism and way it influences the purchasing decisions of its consumers. The information on the ethical consumers is gathered, and the behavior as per different studies of ethical consumerism is analyzed. The research study also explores the discussion of social and empirical practices, policies and sciences, which relates to sustainability. The research focuses on the consumer motivation, narratives and behaviors with relation to theoretical, social and political factors (Anon, 2015).

During the research, it can be found that some tools exist which will assist the consumers to make sustainable and ethical purchasing decisions. The research shows that Tesco is incorporating ethical consumerism in its business practices, which is done by its program ‘Trading Fairly’. The ‘Trading Fairly’ program is the key element of Tesco, which ensures the promise of the company to sell products and buy stocks responsibly.  It influences the consumer behavior ethically. As per Holbrook and Cooper-Martin (2009) ethical customer behavior is defined as the decision of the consumers to obtain or consume products as per their ethical concerns and values (Clarke, 2008).

Review Structure

The literature review has a clear structure. The entire structure of the review depends mainly on the research area. It should be grouped together, and varying opinions on the research topics should be contrasted and compared. This can be done by discussing what one writer has to say about the topic and then comparing it with the ides of another writer. As per Jesson, Matheson and Lacey (2011), the topic areas, research questions and controversial issues should support the research review. In each of this section, various literature arguments should be connected with the research purpose. The structure of the literature review focuses on the factors that influence the purchasing structure of the consumers (Barnett, 2011).


Factors influencing the buying pattern of the consumer

Consumers when went to buy a product, they associate and identify with those companies that has some ethical values as well as their purchasing decision gets influenced by environmental values. The reason for which the consumers choose to purchase products from the company is depended largely on their religious values, environmental factors, and political beliefs. Vaananen and Lindeman (2011) say that religious beliefs of the consumers influence their acceptability of the products. The authors further said that the environmental factors include environmental safety and sustainability, and the political beliefs include the political position of the country to which the consumer belongs. The research shows that the environmental factors make the biggest impact on the consumer's buying decision (Anon, 2015).

Logical Progression

An effective review can be constructed based on a logical and coherent progression of different ideas into an accumulated form. The literature review should be accomplished by following ways-

Processing the problem related to the research;

Looking for new inquiry lines;

Avoiding ineffective methods;

Recognizing research recommendations;

Gaining practical knowledge;

Differentiating the actual results from the desired results;

Achieving new viewpoint;

Determining significant applicable variables;

Connecting theories and ideas to functions;

Reducing the effects of the setback;

Setting the research with relation to a historical framework;

Showing expertise with latest developments (Culiberg and Bajde, 2012);


Conceptual Model

The objective of the research is to recognize the features that decide the intention of the consumers to buy products from the retail shops of Tesco. However, the study of the literature it can be found that the company is practicing ethical consumption in its operations. By assessing the buying intention of the consumers, the research tries to find the factors, which lead to the purchase of the products from Tesco. The desires of the consumers to select and purchase the products contribute to the improvement of the ethical consumption (Ethical consumerism to reptile welfare: views aired at welfare forum, 2011).

The factors, which are included in conceptual model, are-

Significance of price,

Concern of consumers regarding the product composition and health,

Availability of the products in the market (competitors),

Ethics of consumer, and

Demographic factors (moderating factor) (, 2015)

The research hypothesis was based on the five factors. Some of the research questions involved the following-

How Tesco is making a positive impact on the health of the consumers?

How the safety norms followed by the company influences the consumers’ buying intentions?

How the consumer ethical issues influence the consumers’ buying intentions?

How the lack of ethical consumerism can adversely affect the company?

How ethical consumerism can maintain long run sustainability for Tesco? (Gunderson, 2013)

Tools Analysis and Research

In the research, it can be found that there are certain tools that will assist the consumers in carrying out sustainable and ethical buying decisions in the company. These tools can be found online and are used to get more information on definite objectives and practice to analyze and understand that information thoroughly. After gathering more information and analyzing tools, several weaknesses and gaps can be found. The tools are used to consider all the parts of sustainability. The research will help in creating a new idea, which will help implement the research tool to assess ethical consumerism in Tesco. These tools used to define the logical progression of the review (Hamelin, Harcar and Benhari, 2013).

While creating the research tool, certain guideline indicators are used which help consumers to be more ethical and sustainable. The guideline indicators are categorized into three types that are-

Indicators are shown as the relative measures and stages of use.

Indicators are shown in the absolute figures form.

Indicators are shown as whether the goals are achieved or not (Harbin, 2012).

Critical Thinking

The review conveys the critical analysis of the writer. Critical analysis or thinking is defined as a methodical way to shape the thinking in a written format. It functions in an exact and purposeful way. Some of the characteristics required in the critical thinking are-

The critical thinking is guided by the intellectual standards, which are accuracy, relevance, clarity, precision, breadth, and depth. Without the proper guidance of the intellectual standards, thinking can never reach quality.

Effective thinking helps in developing the intellectual characteristics of the thinker. Intellectual characteristics include intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual empathy, intellectual perseverance, intellectual self-discipline and intellectual knowledge (Henn, 2000).

Critical thinking involves in identifying the Thought Element, which will help in thinking about any possible problem. It helps in making logical connections between the problem and the factors. The following factors that can be asked in the critical thinking review are-

Purpose of thinking;

Point of view of thinking;

Information used in the process;

Way of interpreting the information;

Ideas or concepts related to the thinking;

Conclusions are drawn from the thinking;

Assumptions took to draw the conclusions;

Implication made from the conclusions;

Consequence if the thought is put into action (Jesson, Matheson and Lacey, 2011).

Sources of the Literature Review

When the literature is constructed then, secondary sources are required. Secondary sources are the data sources, which are available in the form of archives, library, and data available in databases and the internet. The research analysis is based on the literature available from all these sources.

The researcher research questions or hypothesis is carried out based on the literature available in reports, articles, and manuscripts. The sources also include many bibliographies, indexes, dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, manuals, electronic databases, Internet portals and manual. Some of the information type and reference source followed in the research analysis are-

Current information- Newspaper, websites, news magazine;

Current information (technical) - Technical, empirical and professional peer-reviewed journals

Current information (professional) - Technical, empirical and professional peer-reviewed journals

Local Information- Organizational documents, local newspapers, etc;

Company Description- Company websites and websites related to the company’s details (Lewis and Potter, 2011);

The critical tool includes the bibliographic record, which is needed to be constructed for the research purposes. The bibliographic records help the analyst keep track of information, sources, and insights. Some of the bibliographic records are-

Subjects- The subjects involved in the research are described.

Citation- Complete and accurate bibliographic heads should be given, and the referencing style is followed.

Problem and Purpose Description- The research summary includes the summarization of all the circumstances and problems, which are then reviewed. It includes the research hypothesis or questions.

Conclusions and results - The conclusions are made by the researcher, based on the results found in the research work. The results are the findings that could be found in the research work. The major difference between the conclusions and result is, the conclusion is professional judgment, and a result is the findings (, 2015).

When the literature process is started, the entire bibliographic database is used. In the bibliographic database, each record is in the form of bibliographic citation from a journal article, newspaper article and most common used source, books. The searching of bibliographic databases includes the internet use, which are-

Locating the relevant database for the research questions and hypothesis;

Constructing search string from the search conventions;

Refining the search string with better and relevant citations and web pages;

Keeping the backup of the reference list;

The literature process is depended on the acquaintance with different literature databases and sources that are used in the professional practice. The bibliographic databases include Westlaw, Newsbank, ProQuest, etc. Search engines like the Google Scholar of Google can also be used for citation sources (Thomas, 2011).


Decision Model

The current position of the research analysis can be defined. In accordance to Rob Harrison, the four factors, which make a huge influence on the purchasing decision of the ethical consumers are-

Campaign Groups: They provide important tools for the consumers, like labels, which will assist the consumers with certain information. The information given in the labels need to be checked as well as updated, and any unethical practices should be avoided.

Governments: They inform the consumers by creating legislation, certifying, and publishing relevant data and information. The government norm helps in improving ethical consumerism (Thompson and Coskuner-Balli, 2007).

Specialist Consumer Publications: They inform the consumers by three key sources. The key sources are expert ethical consumer associations, campaign group periodical, and mainstream consumer’s organization.

Private Sector: They influence the consumers by the mainstream companies as well as alternative companies. Mainstream companies can develop new trend or fashion, which can draw the attention of the consumers. On the other hand, the alternative consumers give identity, which is important for the ethical consumers (Vaughan, 2012).


A conceptual framework is established in the research analysis. The literature review starts with the introduction of ethical consumerism is practiced in Tesco to understand its social responsibility. The research shows that Tesco is incorporating ethical consumerism in its business practices, which is done by its program. The entire structure of the review depends mainly on the research area. After discussing the research structure, the factors influencing the buying pattern of the consumer are determined. Then the logical progression of the research work is shown. The conceptual model describes the objective of the research that is used is to recognize the features that decide the intention of the consumers to buy products from the retail shops of Tesco. The information and analyzing tools are collected, and several weaknesses and gaps are found. The tools are used to ensure sustainability in the review. The critical analysis or thinking is used which can be defined as a methodical way to shape the thinking in a written format. Then the various sources, which can be used in the research, work and the way it is used in the study is evaluated. Finally, the decision models, which can influence the purchasing decision of the ethical consumers, are evaluated (Uusitalo and Oksanen, 2004).

Research Methodology:

In the collection of information on the ethical purchasing behavior of the consumers in Tesco was commenced by conducting survey and interview among 500 consumers who frequently visit the Tesco stores. The convenience sampling was conducted for the selection of the data. There are two approaches to conduct the research. The first is the inductive approach and the second is the deductive approach (Hudson, Hudson and Edgerton, 2013). The deductive approach is more appropriate for the research as it establishes a connection between the theory and the research in natural way (Denk, 2010). The researcher has to deduct a hypothesis which is the best way to collect the empirical data. On the other hand, the inductive approach collects the data which is in compliance with the relevant theory. In this research the research has selected the deductive approach of research rather than the inductive research approach.

Data Collection Methods:

There are several methods through which the research can be done. The quantitative method is the distant approach which is considered by the researcher as the data and information collected can be quantified for the analysis of the ethical consumerism in Tesco. The data is collected using the simple method of sampling and numerical conclusions. The qualitative method is more appropriate for this type of research as it helps to understand the perceptions of the consumers in terms of ethical choice (International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory & Practice, 2012). The research is commenced through the methods which assemble empirical data and information derived from the area of the study. Both the methods of data collection help to determine the empirical data and can be used for the different aspects. This research will utilize both the types of methods of data collection; qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The focus of this research is on the qualitative data collection through the interviews. The quantitative research has been done through the survey conducted among the 500 consumers of Tesco. The survey is conducted using the questionnaires and the qualitative data is collected through the structured interviews. The questionnaires contain several questions on ethical consumerism and the choice of the products by the consumers in Tesco. The questions are close ended with five responses such as strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree.


The data collection which is used on this research is of two types the primary data and the secondary. The primary data is collected directly from the source of the information which is in this case obtained for the consumers of the Tesco. The secondary data is collected from several other sources like from the websites of the company, from journal articles, magazines etc.

Primary Data:

The primary data collection is commenced through the different forms of observations like interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. The researcher has used semi-structure interviews and questionnaires. The interviews are conducted before the questionnaires which will the researcher to understand the consumer response in better ways. The interviews conducted were based on semi-open questions which were found to be appropriate for the study. This semi-open question was suitable as the research demanded to understand the thinking and perception of the consumers. The interviews were recorded and transcribed to gather opinions and comments of the respondents. The perception that was aimed to obtain through this research is the ethical consumer purchasing decision and behavior (Clarke, 2008).

Secondary data:

Secondary data collection is done through relevant literature review from the articles and literature. Important books have also been used for the research. The relevant information about the ethical practices by the Tesco and other relevant data are used by the researcher in this study.

Sample Group:

The semi-structured interviews were conducted among 500 consumers of the Tesco. The sample group of the consumers was in the age group 22-30 years. The interviews had different perceptions about the research area and the concepts about the ethical consumerism within the Tesco. The interview was conducted at a store of Tesco in the UK. The questionnaires were distributed through the social network websites to the respondents of different age group, cultural and different ideas about the ethical consumerism. The sample group is comprised of 305 respondents due to certain restraints the 500 consumers were dropped down to 305. In this case some of the consumers were not willing to participate in the research, some of them did not respond to the interview questions and the others who participated in the interview but could not answer the questions accurately was not included in the research. This means that out of the 500 consumers only 305 responses could be considered by the researcher.

Critics of the method used:

The criticisms for this method are many and can be analyzed by the comparison of different types of methods. Some critics are of the view that the research could have been conducted in different other ways that is through the telephonic interviews, focus group or group interviews. The focus group interviews are more important as they establish interaction between the interviewees and the interviewer (Devinney, Auger and Eckhardt, 2010). The method of data collection can also be criticized on the grounds that it is complicated to analyze and summarize for the research. It has also been evident from Jacobsen (2002) that consumers are more comfortable to participate in face-to-face-interviews rather than telephonic interviews. The positive aspect of the data collection method is that it is less time consuming and less expensive for the researcher (Wilkinson, 1998). The sample group considered in this case lies in the age group of 22-30 which means that the middle or the old age are excluded from the survey. The focus of the data collection was on the individuals who are financially stable.

Critics of the sources used:

The primary data collected from the consumers were found to be relevant as it coincided with the perceptions about the ethical consumerism. The secondary data collected from the literature and articles and scientific journals were proved to be relevant but some of the journal articles could not be accessed due to the financial reason (Gunderson, 2013). It can be said that only accurate and relevant information has been considered by the researcher for this study.


Data Analysis:

The data obtained using the structured interviews and questionnaires were analyzed using the likert five point scales. The data analysis proved the number of respondents who have answered for strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree. The data so obtained would help to analyze the responses of the consumers regarding the ethical consumerism n Tesco (Yeow, Dean and Tucker, 2013).


The reliability of the results must ensure that the research should have been conducted in a manner that it can be repeated and trusted. It is relevant for the researcher to extract accurate information for the better management and completion of the results. According to Bellamy (2012) the reliability of the system of coding and measurement depends upon the type of data used in the research. If the same data used in different research and the results so obtained are same then the data are considered to be reliable (Preser, 2014). The researcher makes sure that if any other researcher uses the same type of data then the results obtained in this repeated research would yield the same interpretation. The researcher can use the internal consistency method for testing the reliability of the data used. For example, in this study some of the questions were designed in such a manner that some of them would yield the same response which proves that the questions were reliable to some extent.


Validity ensures that the measurements used by the researcher would reflect the actual measure that the researcher wanted to prove. According to Bellamy (2012), the validity of the research is ensured by the accuracy of the statement formulated within the research. There are four categories of validity:

Construct validity which ensures that the measurements allow attributing values to the research.

Internal validity is described as the causality between the several data in order to understand the relationship of the data collection to be true.

External validity refers to the identification of the generalization of the research and to ensure that the findings are true in other settings.

Ecological Validity refers to the application of the scientific findings in the social and true setting.


The ethics is defined as the principles and values that are utilized by the researcher in order to conduct the interviews or any research activities. The researcher ensures that the ethics are considered while citation and referencing which must be properly done. The most important aspect of the ethics in the research is the healthy relationship between the researcher and the participants of the research. The researcher in this case must ensure that the participants are well informed about the research and the rationale of the research. In this regard the researcher are supposed to obtained consent from the participants and convince them that their information would be preserved and there shall not be any invasion of privacy or any act of deception while the research (Lewis and Potter, 2011).


The ethical consumerism is the burgeoning issue of the consumer market. In recent times, more and more consumers are concerned with the ethical sourcing, production and distribution of the products and services they purchase. The aim of the study was to understand the ethical purchasing decision of the consumers in Tesco. The researcher had conducted interviews and surveys at the stores of the Tesco to analyze the perceptions and ethical decisions of the consumers. The validity, reliability and the ethics of the research are maintained by the researcher.



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