Ethical Consumerism Means for Businesses


Discuss about the five different principles of ethical consumerism and influencing factors on buying behavior of consumer: opinion survey?

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Ethical consumerism is called as ethical consumption, moral purchasing, ethical purchasing, ethical sourcing, green consumerism or ethical shopping. It is a type of consumer activism. It is coming from the concept of the dollar voting. It is used for positive buying activities of the consumer within the organization. In this paper it will be discussed about the ethical consumerism, the review of the ethical consumerism in a particular company’s perspective, the particular approach from the company for maintaining the social consciousness and link that with the business values and ethics. Apart from this, the research study also describes the critical evaluation based on the ethical consumerism from different evidence collected from the primary as well as secondary research study from the viewpoint of the particular company(Alzola, 2011)..

Ethical Consumerism

Ethical consumerism is the social phenomenon. It is concern about the various social and environmental problems facing the consumers in the planet. This scenario influences the increasing behaviors of the buyers, different social and environmental aspects of production, the social responsibility from the manufacturer end and methods of recycling of the product or goods, etc. Apart from this ethical consumerism is also expressed as the different vital selection of services or goods that are manufactured, processed or delivered in the particular ethical manner. These includes different scenario like minimum harm to the people, an environment, and animals (Doyle, 2011).

Nowadays if the ethical consumerism will be affected by something that will disclose among the consumers in a very short period for the different technology like internet, various social media, television, etc. Today’s consumers are also very conscious about the various social unethical issue raised by the organization. They publish the news in the different media within very short period. As an example, it can mention the incidents of Shell, Nike, and McDonalds. These scandals were precisely published in the media. As a result, these companies have to take necessary action within a very short period (Blodgett, 2011).

“The global market is running within the ethical system.” According to John McMurtry, purchasing decision does not exist that is not follow any moral choice, and there does not exist any purchasing that is not follow the moral nature (Kline, 2011).

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The five different principles of ethical consumerism

Every purchase will make the impact

Sometimes people buy some small things. But they generally don’t bother about their purchase. They feel that their small purchase does not matter in purchasing scenario. But it has to be remembering that each and every small purchase will matter. Thus today the society is facing the environmental crisis. So it is the duty to choose consciously the product to minimize impact.

Avoid the unnecessary consumption

It has to be remembering that 80 percent of all the saleable products are considered as wastage on the average within the six months. So people have to consume the product consciously as per their requirement.  As an example, it can be mentioned that some products of U.S.  like the plastic wrap is disposed every after a first use.

So it is required to make a perfect shopping list and purchase accordingly.

Learn about issues

The consumer should choose the exact issue that is matching for their product perfectly. As example it can be mentioned that if someone want to start the week with one particular item say milk, and find out the best alternatives to milk in ‘best buy’, then he should move on to next product (Kwarciński, 2012).

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Seek out the Best Buy

Every consumer should take the better purchase option rather right purchase option. Because everything that anyone want will not present in one item. So it is important to prioritize the values and choose the ‘best buy’ option to make the purchasing ethical.

Make the lasting change

Some important features have to be included in this scenario. These are as follows-

  • Celebrate the good choice- Every good choice brings a world of the difference.
  • Glass half full or half empty- Always go for the positive difference. It means anyone’s shopping list will be more ethical than before.
  • Share the discoveries- If anyone finds the ‘best buy’ for his products then it should be required to inform other friends for their particular approach to the shopping.
  • Create the good habits- It is a very tough task to change anyone’s shopping pattern. But when anyone finds the best buy, then he should keep it in mind and has to move to the next product.
  • Give feedback- Anyone should not only encouraging and supporting the ‘best buy’ practice, but it should be maintained accordingly (Chan et al., 2011).

There are some products that fall into ethical category-

Cleaning, Banking, Toiletries and cosmetics, Energy, Dairy, Fashion, Finance, Insurance, Food, Tea industry, Soft Drinks, Travel, etc.

Company Review: Unilever Corporation

Unilever is one of the British-Dutch multinational companies founded in 1930. It is famous for producing different segments of consumer goods. The head quarter of this company is in London, United Kingdom. It produces personal care products, food, beverages, etc. It is the third largest company in the world according to 2012 revenue. According to Unilever’s employee, their success mainly depends on the employees’ commitment to ethical conduct and the social responsibility.  Unilever believes that deliver the products at the right time, the right way, to the right person are the key factors of their success in the competitive market. When it comes to behaving morally with their consumers, Unilever’s commitment is to provide the appropriate products according to all types of consumers. The company also introduces new shops for establishing the human connection with the consumers with their needs (Vatcher, 2012).

Axe and Dove are two different brands that are very popular to the people of USA.  Axe and Dove are doing very well that using a totally different strategy of marketing. Axe mainly the attraction of male consumers. The company has brought some new slogans like if the men use this product more women will be attracted.  Axe did the better job for making this brand as a leader in the industry. It owned almost 83% of market share and producing $150 million annually (Fassin, Van Rossem and Buelens, 2010).

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Dove mainly produces the beauty products for women. The sales have reached over $2.5 billion in the year of 2007 from 80 different countries. Dove has reached as number one cleansing brand in the world. Unilever won the world’s best ethical company in the year of 2009. The think tank was determined for ranking as a top ethical company on the business ethics, sustainability, anti-corruption and corporate social responsibility. This company has been the true standout within the industry and proved that good practices will result as the good image. In the year of 2007, Unilever’s chief executive named Patrick Cescau was awarded the prize named Botwinick Prize in the field of ethics by Columbia Business School. This award is given to the individual who proves the better standard of ethical and professional conduct (Kruizinga, 2010). Unilever believes the strategy that provides to do a right thing at the right time with their customers, employees, and the environment. It is very important for achieving the success of the company and establishing the values in the number of ways. Unilever strives for establishing the human contacts with the consumer by confirming that the shops of Unilever welcome for all the customers. The project named Carbon Disclosure considered the Unilever as the best in class with the climate change scenario in the year of 2007. Unilever also decided to make a partnership with the leading tea company named Rainforest Alliance. They also promised to maintain all of the tea products from the ethical, sustainable sources (Pless, Maak and de Jongh, 2011).

Unilever proved again and again to be the ethical organization being the industry leader. The chief executive of Unilever was awarded the recognition of the highest rank of the ethical and professional conduct (Ruiz-Palomino and Martinez-Cañas, 2011).

In the end, Unilever proved to be a most successful organization in the USA with their operations. It may have some contradiction regarding opposition of Dove and Axe market. Apart from this, the Unilever provides the two markets with the factors what they require to feel the good about themselves. Both the brands are doing well and also there are not present any sign that any of the brands will diminish in near future. So as a whole It can say that Unilever proved as the ethical organization and has received many prestigious awards over the other renowned organizations that have proven to be as ethical. Unilever can continue the thriving in future (Mande, 2012).

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Influencing factors on Buying Behavior of Consumer: Opinion Survey

A Survey has been organized by the group of the students in London regarding the influencing factors of buying behavior of consumers. It was observed that consumers’ behavior of buying mainly influenced by the social, cultural, psychological, personal characteristics. This understanding of the influencing factors of consumers is very important for suppliers and marketers for developing the suitable market strategy for appealing to target customers. Social culture, consumer’s culture, subculture are the cultural factors. These factors are coming from customers’ decision-making processes and values. Roles, status, and family, are considered as the social factors (Alzola, 2011).  This refers to the influences from an outsider on the consumers’ purchase decisions making either indirectly or directly. Occupation, economic circumstances, lifecycle stage and different stages of a life cycle are considered as the personal factors. From the above factors, it is observed why the consumers’ buying behavior changes from time to time. From the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is found that psychological factors will affect the consumers’ decision about purchasing. When some outsider influences the buying behavior of consumers, then the marketers have to know the exact role of that people. Every employee of the organization, marketers and also consumers need to know the proper working knowledge of business ethics. It is one of the key elements of running the successful business. It will help to maintain a good relationship between the marketers and consumers and also increase the reputation of the company’s brand name, consumer satisfaction, and confidence in business, and company’s profitability. This case study has been done from every individual aspect (Erdener, 2011).


The unethical business activities can be harmful to the individuals, an environment, and animals also. From the above study, it is clear that the various factors influence the buying behavior of ethical consumers. The factors are psychological, social, cultural, etc. Some personal factors also influence their buying behavior. Every organization has some definite social and ethical responsibilities that they have to maintain (Gustavson, 2011). Unilever is the company that has been pressured by the stakeholders group. But they have successfully maintained the moral responsibility.

Some questionnaire has been made for the purpose of researching the practices of ethical behavior within Unilever. The research study has been within the 50 customers. From this study, it has been proved that Unilever is one of the most ethical companies in the world.  The study also proved that Unilever is also transparent in its operational activities. From the above study, it can be concluded that good ethical practices within the business is the key factor in profitability and success of that company.

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