The things we buy ultimately link us to a huge range of environment, social, economic and political issues.
“Buying ethical products sends support directly to progressive companies while at the same time depriving others that abuse for profit”.
There is no way we can know if the computer we use everyday and cannot live without or the table computer we take around like a pocketbook was made in a factory that denies employees the basic right to proper working conditions or receive a proper wage or even the beef we ate for lunch was possible as a result of overgrazing in the Brazilian rain-forest. It is now abundantly clear now more than ever before that if we purchase products made under such conditions we are directly supporting unethical companies and encouraging critical environmental issues such as deforestation, global warming and pollution.
Although all we seem to hear is negatives it is not all that way, consumers are increasingly making positive impacts through positive consumer purchase behavior which is basically the psychological process that influences the buying decision of an individual. An individual personality and his/her social context are critical factors in thus process.
This movement of ethical consumerism are making a positive difference by forcing companies to develop exceptional products market space, this is a subset of an industry that is served by an organization with a specific product or service in a manner that customers perceive exceptional value in the offer.
By supporting businesses that consider the environment in their daily operations we make a positive individual impact and encourage these companies to consider the social impact they can make on the local communities such ad Starbucks and their fair trade scheme that guarantees a better deal for third world workers by forcing producers in poor countries to pau farmers a fair price for their product as well ad up front payments and other benefits such as infrastructure, facilities and fixed contracts.
Consumer ethical behaviour has influenced fair trade policies and principles in Parliament and large companies this truly illustrates that consumers has the power to raise to the profile issues that would otherwise be ignored. There is no guarantee that organizations would really afford consumers an ethical option but give the underlying assumption that explains according to Edgar Schein the direct link between organization culture influenced by local communities that drives an organization’s actions and when the values and underlying assumptions differ it indicates a gap between what an organization claims to do and what it has actually done such as the scandal of the Petrotrin and BP oil spill
“The purpose of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is to avoid regulation. It permits governments and the public to believe that compulsory rules are unnecessary, as the same objectives are being met by other means. Of course, the great advantage of voluntary rules is that you can break them when ever they turnout to be inconvenient”.
Hence the need for ethical consumerism, our role is to ensure that organizations consider all stakeholders in their operations.
- Buying more efficient, low emission cars, the government of Trinidad and Tobago in its 2014/2015 National Budget offered an incentive via a tax break of 10,000 TTD on the purchase of cars using CNG; users will also gain a long term benefit of saving. The main idea is to reduce the emission of CO2.
- Buying locally and organic foods thus supports responsible farming which inevitably assist in better wildlife preservation, soil fertility and encourage to provide sustainable farming and greater economic price for their products, John Maynard, 1944 states that “Proper economic prices should be fixed not at the lowest possible level, but at a level sufficient to provide producers with proper nutritional and other standards.
What does the idea of purchasing locally really means? This is considered to be the core principle of ethical shopping. Now it is understood that international trade is an essential part of life and have the potential of depriving great benefits; but trading local goods creates accountability while improving the well being of the community. The claims on global trade are that its highly eco-unfriendly since it relies on the burning of a vast quantity of transport fuel which contributes to Climate Change.
The pressures placed on the environment as a result of globalization has brought about the new eta of localization Colin Hines states that “localization has the potential to increase community cohesion, reduce poverty and inequality, improve livelihoods, social provision and environmental protection and provide the all important sense of security”.
This concept encourages consumers to favour local goods and services as their first choice and whenever possible. International trade us important to all economies since all countries don’t have pitch to pave roads or the climate to grow coffee, but whenever home produced is available in agriculture, clothes production ethical consumers should purchase first, the argument is that by purchasing local a country would end up producing and consuming less. At least each country would be equipped to grow their own food, protect their environment, shape their own development and benefit from processing and Udine their own natural resources.
- Boycott organizations that do not take their Corporate Social Responsibility seriously for instance companies that engage in child labour, unreasonable price hikes and refuse to provide good working conditions and benefits for employees. Boycotts are a evolving aspect of ethical consumerism.
On average a person would boycott a company they believe to be reprehensible even if they didn’t think they could make an effective impact, because we live in a globalized world where brand value is one of the most important assets of an organization that is considered in businesses as a strategic resource where the tangible (cash & land) and intangible (patent, organizational reputation and brand name) assets allow an organization to gain a competitive advantage; and because companies are so keen to avoid negative publicity, they will capitulate even if a boycott is not currently making much difference to their bottom line.
Companies such as Gillette and Esso has all folded in response to consumer boycotts, with Nestle claiming in a press release that the changes in the behaviour are proactive response to new regulations and health research, we know otherwise but for now we will pretend that we don’t. On another note there is a great drawback to boycotts and it involves the workers of third world and developing countries according to General International Textile, Garment and Leather Worker’s Federation Head Noel Kearney, “when you threaten to boycott a company that buys stocks from a shady supplier, the company’s immediate reaction is to cancel orders and trunk to another supplier who is not necessarily any better,
this attitude does not help to improve the conditions of those working for the first supplier who is likely to be laid off, whilst other workers are faced with the same problem elsewhere. So boycotts should only be used as a last resort.”
Clark, Duncan (2006). ” The Rough Guide to Ethical Living”. Rough Guides Limited
Lal, Rattan (1999). “Soil Management and Restoration for C Sequestration to Mitigate the Accelerated Greenhouse Effect.” Progress in Environmental Science 1:307–326.
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