6.0 The Rise of the Green or Ethical Consumer



Activity 6.1 – Your Own Buying Habits

Consider your typical supermarket shop. What influences and shapes your selection of product? Would you describe yourself as either a positive or negative buyer?

As a secondary exercise, list the products you know that carry some form of ethical or sustainable branding? Do you buy any of these products and if so why?

Spend 15 minutes and no more than 150 words analysing your own approach to purchasing.


GfK NOP, the market research group, has made a five-country study of consumer beliefs about the ethics of large companies. The report was described in a Financial Times article published on February 20, 2007 entitled "Ethical consumption makes mark on branding", and was followed up by an online debate/discussion hosted by FT.com. The countries surveyed were Germany, the USA, Britain, France and Spain. More than half of respondents in Germany and the US believed there is a serious deterioration in standards of corporate practice. Almost half of those surveyed in Britain, France and Spain held similar beliefs.

About a third of respondents told researchers they would pay higher prices for ethical brands though perception of various companies ethical or unethical status varied considerably from country to country.

The most ethically perceived brands were The Co-op (in the UK), Coca Cola (in the US), Danone (in France), Adidas (in Germany) and Nestlé (in Spain). Coca Cola, Danone, Adidas and Nestlé did not appear anywhere in the UK's list of 15 most ethical companies. Nike appeared in the lists of the other four countries but not in the UK's list.

In the UK, the Co-operative Bank has produced an Ethical Consumerism Report (formerly the Ethical Purchasing Index) since 2001. The report measures the market size and growth of a basket of 'ethical' products and services, and valued UK ethical consumerism at GBP36.0 billion (USD54.4 billion) in 2008.

A number of organisations provide research-based evaluations of the behaviour of companies around the world, assessing them along ethical dimensions such as human rights, the environment, animal welfare and politics. Green America is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1982 that provides the Green American Seal of Approval and produces a "Responsible Shopper" guide to "alert consumers and investors to problems with companies that they may shop with or invest in." The Ethical Consumer Research Association is a not-for-profit workers' co-operative founded in the UK in 1988 to "provide information on the companies behind the brand names and to promote the ethical use of consumer power" which provides an online searchable database under the name Corporate Critic or Ethiscore. The Ethiscore is a weightable numerical rating designed as a quick guide to the ethical status of companies, or brands in a particular area, and is linked to a more detailed ethical assessment. "alonovo" is an online shopping portal that provides similar weightable ethical ratings termed the "Corporate Social Behaviour Index".

Content in this section is modified from Wikipedia on 01/08/2012 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.

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Green Marketing Stats that Justify Storytelling


Please view the link below

Tipping consumers towards sustainability - Linking behaviours with values.


Activity 6.2 Values

How do marketers appeal to your intrinsic values and does it work? Spend 10 minutes reflecting on how advertising appeals to your intrinsic vales and note down a few examples of where they coincide and you purchase or where they fall flat?