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Sustainability theory and practice of Ecostore

Describe about the Management Analysis of Ecostore for Sustainability and Biodegradability.

In 1993, Malcolm Rands and wife Melanie introduced sustainable products called Ecostore in their home in New Zealand. They used organic and sustainable gardening practices on their property but realized they were still exposed to chemicals through the cleaning and body care products they were using. And then they introduced Ecostore in New Zealand. Ecostore was launched in 2009 in the USA. The company began in Meijer stores in the Midwest and started making plans to launch in the entire nation. They believed in the word of mouth marketing through building relationships with mom bloggers (Ecostore.com.au, 2016).

Every ingredient used in their products is assessed for sustainability and biodegradability (Kara, Ibbotson and Kayis 2014). They try to reduce waste and use recycled and recyclable materials for packaging. For example, auto dish tab boxes are 85% recycled; water based adhesive are used to apply their labels. Ecostore products are found in 1000 stores of Australia. Initially, Ecostore moved slowly in Australia, but the brand picked up by various organic stores (Higgins, Milne, and Van Gramberg 2015). Their big break came when they met a Woolworths buyer. His wife was already using Ecostore product and wanted to buy the whole range for Woolworths. Their primary target customers are women and mothers who are on the way of motherhood. When the customers start trusting the brand, they start telling about the brand to their friends and family. The new goal of the brand is to maximize profit from Ecostore to fund Not for Profit Ventures. Ecostore provides a broad range of products for laundry, dish, home, babies, skincare, body care, hair care (Ecostore.com.au, 2016).

Ecostore Company Limited manufactures "eco-friendly" branded range of Organic products which is Green Tick Sustainability Certified for its customers and supplies it in various stores of New Zealand, Australia, USA, and Asia. Green Tick certifies that the product is sustainable. A Green Tick inside a circle means the item is environmentally good. Ecostore applied for sustainability certification in 2004, product sustainability certification of 22 personal care and household products. These certified products were given in the section of “chemicals” and “cosmetics” of Green Tick registered products. The manufacturers should provide transparent and clear information what they use in the ingredients (Harris, 2007).

Utilitarianism refers to the core idea of morality is to make a better life by increasing the number of good things and decrease bad things in the world, and Consequentialism refers to producing right kind of overall scenarios which is controversial (Iep.utm.edu, 2016). Ecostore uses a mixture of recycled and recyclable materials to reduce waste for their packaging (Khalil 2014). Auto Dish tab boxes are almost recyclable. Ecostore bottles are made from High-Density Polyethylene which can be used for recycling purpose. Screw-top plastic lids of bulk containers are made from Polypropylene also used for recycling. Clear backing and labels decrease the usage of dyes and printing inks. To apply labels, a water-base adhesive is used.

Organizational Behaviour

Ecostore manufactures only plastic trigger spray that does not contain metal parts which make it fully recyclable (Tamragundi 2016). The cleaning-grade enzymes utilized in the dishwasher detergents comes from laboratory process using the GE. Using enzymes helps in saving raw material consumption and energy and are biodegradable. Enzymes contribute to reducing the usage of chemicals and turns out to be effective cleaners. Two Ecostore products Dish Powder and Auto Dish Tablets contain third party eco-labels. Dish wash powder is Environment Choice Certified, and Dish Tabs carry the EU Flower eco-label.

Carbon Capture Paks helps in reducing carbon footprint to protect the environment for future generations. The Paks are made from sugarcane plastic which is renewable and a better alternative to plastics made from petroleum that traps carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This process decreases carbon footprint and climate change, and the Paks are 100 percent recyclable. 90 percent of Sugarcane harvesting and cultivation in Brazil from the Amazon Rainforest Region and a regulatory framework of the government bans planting in those place having a high level of biodiversity (Ritter et al. 2015). Sugarcane is planted on a degraded pasteurized land which helps in recovering the soil. Sugarcane bagasse is a waste product which goes through a crushing process generating electric power to supply the ethanol production process. The crop uses organic fertilizers, and it is rain fed. The production of sugarcane is guided by a code of conduct and ensures a better quality of life to workers. Plastics which are not recyclable pollutes the land and the ocean (Morrison-Saunders and Pope 2013).

The vision of Ecostore is zero waste and continuous innovation to make packaging more sustainable. If all the regular plastic is changed to Carbon Capture Paks in Australia then it would be equal to 575,000 vehicles removed from the road in Australia, 450,000 Australian household’s electricity consumption for one year, 63 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

Ecostore can now make plastic bottles of sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene from Brazil which is 100 percent recyclable. As the renewable trap grows, it captures carbon dioxide and later stored in plastic. This helps in reducing climate change and decreases their carbon footprints. Now Ecostore will be able to save 639 tons of carbon dioxide per year after the introduction of sugarcane-based plastic. Ecostore is the first manufacturer of sugarcane-based plastic bottles and took a big step towards a sustainable future (Ecostore.com.au 2016).

Human Resource Management

Research on consumer says that products have its own value on various level. First is utilitarian value which satisfies functions and solve problems, Second is experiential value in sensing pleasure, emotional arouse and comforters. Third is, product has the ability of expressing the self-image via symbolic value. The trusts on these three values have led the researcher to adopt different levels to understand the behavior of consumption. Research on the nature of motivation of human consumption behavior can be seen as two different views. The rational view tells about economic consumer and their act of maximizing total utility of the present situations.  Consumer’s behavior is based on the price criteria, performance and comparison. Various researchers found that this thought of motivation does not capture the emotional needs and wants of the consumer. Consumers are driven by utilitarian and functional needs as well as symbolic and expressive value. Sustainability is an area of modern science and consumers are uncertain of the knowledge. Consumers are not sure of their own action which has an effect in the environment. Consumers raise questions of "who to believe" and "how to decide how to believe". The choice-making of sustainable products becomes difficult under rational view. Other researchers think that rational view and utilitarian view will not be the basis of addressing sustainability. Hence research has to be developed sustainable consumption need from symbolic and expressive view of the consumer behavior (Aut.researchgateway.ac.nz 2016). 

Ecostore took the decision of becoming a business which is led and guided by the marketing team consisting of six team members. It included online social marketing manager, a videographer, and community partnerships manager.  The media strategy of Ecostore changed from print to Public Relations, social media, and online content. They started establishing community partnerships with doctors, health practitioners, midwives, and famous artists (Stoppress.co.nz 2012). The sales and marketing executive of Australia, Michelle has become a conscious human being towards the environment. After joining the organization, she has become conscious on usage of product packaging. She is now inclined more towards eco-friendly products. Ecostore not only focus on its customers but also focus on its employees to make earth a better planet and lead a sustainable lifestyle (Ecostore.co.au 2016).

Green Tick Certification became a part of the promotional campaign of Ecostore and gave financial results making a record since May 2005. Double sales were also achieved in various product ranges. Sales and marketing data were collected during the first six months reported in October 2005. Ecostore sells around 200 personal care and household items in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Korea, Japan and online Ecostore website. It is currently working on expanding its sales in the rest of Asia, Middle East, and Europe. Green Tick Certification is still being promoted in the campaigns of International market (Ecostore.com.au 2016).

Ecostore use trusted international resources like Environmental Working Group Cosmetic Database to help find the safety and health effect of all ingredients. A comparative assessment of components is done on each and every product against 427 competitors to get safer ratings for people's health. Ecostore use information from the US-based Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Website giving a "Hazard Score" to every ingredient. Environmental Working Group creates a database of regulatory status, chemical hazards, and study availability to check health risk for household ingredients. The ingredients used by Ecostore in every category have a little-moderate-high risk score compared to the ingredients used by other brands. Any elements rated 3 or above are classified between moderate to high hazard also mentioning the ingredients linkage with reproductive toxins, allergies, cancer. Ecostore products are safe compared to other brands. They are continuously developing, replacing and improving their components to keep track on innovation and safety. Eco-science is growing rapidly; hence improvements are being made in the products. The central value of the firm is a continuous improvement (Ecostore.com.au, 2016).

Malcolm Rands and Melanie moved in together and built six houses on a 150-acre land clustering together to form a living community called Mamaki. They call it Ecovillage since their entire project has been created to look after the property and their neighbors. The neighboring reserve in the ecovillage gave some of the purest form of water on earth and made sure that the water leaving should be as pure as the water coming into the land. The entire villagers were all organic gardeners. They did not use pesticides, fungicides, and artificial fertilizers and were sure of not making any mistake. They were all confident. But they realized the water coming out from their house and end up in the local streams. They looked at the bottle of the dishwashing liquids, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, laundry detergents and moisturizers and found they are full of chemicals which are much worse than the products they have been campaigning against on the land. The real challenge was to know the ingredients being used in the household cleaners. These products damage the quality of land and water we use (Strengers and Maller 2014).

Back in those days before the internet was introduced, people had no idea about the ingredients which were used in the body products- hair products, soaps, and moisturizers. This was their moment of an idea. They realized if it is difficult for them to do the household work without damaging the nature then it would be difficult for others too. If they are interested and ready to use sustainable products, then the rest of the world is also available. These are essential household products. This led Malcolm and Melanie to start a business together specializing in these products and gave birth to Ecostore. The roots of Ecostore are present in Mamaki, but the branches are in the supermarkets of New Zealand, Australia, USA and some parts of Asia where customers shop the most. Ecostore started as a mail-order business and started collecting products which were best for a healthy and Green lifestyle. Melanie used to work late at night. They began getting feedbacks from their customers about how their eczema cleared up; their rashes got removed, stopped sneezing and asthma problem decreased after using their products. This was a significant achievement for them and got another idea. They also realized that petrochemical cleaners were bad for both the human health and environment. (Rands, 2013)

Conclusion

The founders have now moved their business to Auckland and manufacture their range of products in their factory having the highest environmental certification of any other plant in Australia (Salimzadeh, Courvisanos and Nayak 2013).  The products are easily available in the supermarket. Expanding in the supermarkets of New Zealand and Australia has been one of the key focuses of their strategy. They want to make a difference to the people and planet. Ecostore is committed to Sustainability and Biodegradability. It is not just a business to Malcolm, and it is a way to raise fund for his not-for-profit organization, Fairground Foundation to generate profit to start projects which will help make a better world for us. Their business is based in Auckland and trying to expand overseas. Their products are present in 2000 outlets in Australia and thousands more in USA, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Their plant-based chemical free products are healthy and safe for human beings and Earth. 

Ecostore products are healthy for customers and have been proved safer for the environment. The packaging of the goods is done by the best materials available, and the products guarantee excellent results after its application. Buying Ecostore products help in saving money compared to the other premium brands. Every product of Ecostore is labeled with a list of ingredients used. These products are not tested on animals and are GE free. Sustainable products which are GE Free are not genetically modified content. After the product formulation passes the health and safety norms, it is sent to a laboratory to be benchmarked against the leader of the market to give the best performance. To get the best results less number of ingredients is used by following Einstein principle, ‘the simplest solution is the most elegant’ (Ecostore.com.au 2016).

All the ingredients used are tested for sustainability and biodegradability. If there is any doubt on the ingredients used, the founders make sure to choose an alternate component. For the best results, Ecostore uses less number of ingredients with less concentration. With a vision of committing to waste reduction, the packaging is mostly sustainable. The bottles are 100 percent recyclable made with renewable sugarcane-based plastic and laundry boxes made with 95 percent recyclable materials. People should use Ecostore because they mention a full list of ingredients used which is safer for people and planet; it gives guaranteed results to its customers, the products are not tested on the animals, and the products are GE-free (Network 2016). Some consumers bought the Ecostore sustainable products that did not have the intention of helping the environment (Bartels and Onwezen 2014). There are barriers to the purchase of sustainable products like cost, norms, and social contexts. There is a potential of increasing the consumption of sustainable products among the people who are doing their bit. A gap in the knowledge of sustainable products has been recognized. Providing sustainable education to the consumers using sustainable products can potentially grow its consumption (Moon et al. 2016). Knowledge can be attained through the use of social marketing and advertising communication encouraging more consumption (Greenfield 2016). The marketers should understand the consumers to improve their strategic decision making power like segmentation, targeting and positioning (Campbell et al. 2015). Marketing communication is not being used to its full potential for sustainable products. This will help in knowing customers perception and their expectations (Aut.researchgateway.ac.nz 2016).

Reference

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Campbell, B., Khachatryan, H., Behe, B., Dennis, J. and Hall, C., 2015. Consumer Perceptions of Eco-friendly and Sustainable Terms. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 44(1), pp.21-34.

Ecostore.com.au. (2016). ecostore - Skincare Products and Cleaning Supplies New Zealand : ecostore Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.ecostore.com.au/ [Accessed 9 Sep. 2016].

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Harris, S.M., 2007. Does sustainability sell? Market responses to sustainability certification. Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 18(1), pp.50-60.

Harris, S.M., 2007. Green Tick™: an example of sustainability certification of goods and services. Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 18(2), pp.167-178.

Higgins, C., Milne, M.J. and van Gramberg, B., 2015. The uptake of sustainability reporting in Australia. Journal of Business Ethics, 129(2), pp.445-468.

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Moon, S., Bergey, P.K., Bove, L.L. and Robinson, S., 2016. Message framing and individual traits in adopting innovative, sustainable products (ISPs): Evidence from biofuel adoption. Journal of Business Research,69(9), pp.3553-3560.

Morrison-Saunders, A. and Pope, J., 2013. Learning by doing: sustainability assessment in Western Australia.

Network, S. (2016). ecostore - Sustainable Business Directory - Sustainable Business Network. [online] Sustainable.org.nz. Available at: https://sustainable.org.nz/sustainable-business-directory/national/all/all/ecostore [Accessed 9 Sep. 2016].

Rands, M., 2013. Ecoman- from a garage in Northland to a pioneering global brand. New Zealand: Random House NZ.

Ritter, Á.M., Borchardt, M., Vaccaro, G.L., Pereira, G.M. and Almeida, F., 2015. Motivations for promoting the consumption of green products in an emerging country: exploring attitudes of Brazilian consumers. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, pp.507-520.

Salimzadeh, P., Courvisanos, J. and Nayak, R.R., 2013, July. Sustainability in small and medium sized enterprises in regional Australia: a framework of analysis. In Annual SEAANZ Conference Proceedings in Sydney, Australia.

Stoppress.co.nz. (2012). Sustainability: Ecostore. [online] Available at: https://stoppress.co.nz/news/sustainability-ecostore [Accessed 9 Sep. 2016].

Strengers, Y. and Maller, C., 2014. Social practices, intervention and sustainability: beyond behaviour change. Routledge.

Tamragundi, M.A.K.D.M.A., 2016. Green Packaging and Eco-Labeling An Analysis of Soap Packaging & Labeling by Selected FMCG Companies.Global Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 5(7).

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