Ethical Consumerism: Are We Ready to Shop for a Better World?
Syeda Maseeha Qumer

Over the last decade there has been a growing importance of ethics in purchasing decisions and awareness among consumers of the impact of their purchasing and consumption behavior on society and the environment. Consumers are now seen by many environmentalists as key agents of change as small thoughtful steps taken by them such as buying ethically can help save the world. Being an ethical consumer means buying products which are ethically produced and/or which are not harmful to the environment and society.

On its face, conscious consumerism looks like a morally righteous, bold movement. But how passionate consumers are about sustainable practices when it comes to their purchasing decisions? Ethically minded consumers rarely walk their talk as there is disconnect between the values people express and the actual uptake of ethical products on the market. There exists a gap between what consumers’ say they are going to do and what they actually do at the point of purchase.
Though it is generally perceived that personal values drive purchasing behavior, but in reality many other factors such as price, quality and convenience influence consumer behavior. In the current economic scenario, consumers are generally price sensitive, particularly when it comes to buying ethical products. Also ethical consumerism has been indicted with being elitist. Consumers need an adequate amount of disposable income to afford ethical and sustainable consumption options and the leisure time and sound knowledge to research the purchasing decisions they make.

Marketing managers can attract ethically minded consumer by creating brands with better value and also greater meaning. Such brands will have a distinctive proposition to win the support of consumers. We all have the power to make a big difference by deciding where and what we spend our money on based on a product’s social and ethical standing. Are we ready to shop for a better world?

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