Ethical consumerism is the activity in which consumer makes efforts to purchase goods and services from that particular organizations that uses ethical means with an aim to carry out the production of products and services (Concept of ethical consumerism, 2015). This concept is new and has been practised by many buyers that to purchase goods and services from the particular firm. Nowadays, buyers are becoming more ethical and as a result of it they are making efforts to purchase products from that firms which produces good without causing any negative impact upon natural environment of the country.
For this report, famous travel and tourism firm of United Kingdom named as Thomas Cook is selected. The given report will provide detailed explanation regarding the concept such as ethical consumerism. In addition to this, the report will also showcase examples of different products which fall into the ethical category. Furthermore, the study will also provide detailed explanation regarding selected company which claims to operate ethically. Finally, at the end of the report explanation relating to number of factors will be given which causes significant impact upon consumer buying behaviour.
Different authors have different views on the concept such as ethical consumerism. As per the view point of Bray, Johns and Kilburn (2011) Ethical consumerism is the type of buying habit which buyers adopt in which they make efforts to purchase or use the goods and services of that specific organization which do not perform any illegal activity while purchasing the goods and services. In addition to this, Howard and Allen (2010) have also stated that ethical consumerism is the type of buyers which gives preference to varied activities while purchasing the products. The activities involve following:
- The firm must be transparent.
- It must honour human rights.
- It must follow the fair labour practices.
- It should comply with sustainability feature.
- It must give clear and detailed information about the product.
Besides this, some products are identified which are being relied under ethical category. It consists of travel and tourism firms, energy, charitable firm, fashion and food industry etc. For example, food companies showcase their ethical behaviour by producing the varied food products with the help of natural and pure ingredients. In the similar way, cosmetic firms are also fulfilling their ethical responsibility. It is done by them by using such ingredients in product which do not affect the natural environment of the nation (Lewis and Potter, 2011).
Ethical consumerism is being regarded as one of the most effective way which each and every firm must adopt. By adopting the given tactic, respective firms like Thomas Cook can build positive image in the mind of its buyers. Thus, through this way firm can attract large number of buyers towards its products and services. As a result of it, they can get the benefit in the form of increased profits and sales (Schlegelmilch and Öberseder, 2012.). However, it has been critically evaluated that it became difficult for the firms to follow all the ethical principles when facing immense competition from the other corporations. In this context, it has been seen that the manager of firms faces huge pressure in the competitive business environment. Due to this, they have to make some unethical decisions which seem completely against the views and opinions of the ethical consumerism. But, the company cannot survive in the business environment for the longer period if it uses unethical approach or path. Thus, using the ethical consumerism strategy is the good approach which every firm must adopt (Stanaland, Lwin and Murphy, 2011).
On the basis of analysis, there are different type of companies identified which claims to function ethically. However, among the number of firms, the company which is associated with the travel and tourism industry is selected which is named as Thomas Cook. Thomas Cook is the British global travel company which has its stock listed in London Stock exchange. The firm was founded in the year 2007. It is the travel agency and it offers different types of products and services such as passenger airline, packaged holiday, cruise lines along with scheduled and charter airlines (Werther Jr and Chandler, 2010).
Thomas Cooks claims to operate ethically and the evidence of the same can be seen in the ethical principles which is being followed by the company. In this context, on the basis of analysis it is assessed that cited firm must comply with the sustainable tourism practices. Here, 71% of the hotels in which cited firm operates tend to hold the travelife sustainability award (Thomas Cook Group plc launches its 7th annual Sustainability Report, 2015). This award is given to those firms which adopts eco friendly practices while delivering the services to its respective customers. In this regard, Thomas Cook encourage the hotels for educating thier customers with regard to adopt all type of sustainable practices. In this regard, the staff of hotel makes sure that they must switch off all the lights in rooms whenever any guests check out. In addition to this, firm also encourages the hotels to use cost effective LED lights which consumes less energy. The steps which Thomas Cook adopts are small and it causes major impact upon operation of the company in an effective manner (Zander and Hamm, 2010).
Here, by adopting the given ethical values, two way benefits are gained by the Thomas Cook. Here, on the one hand cited firm can save different types of cost. Likewise on the other hand, corporation can enhance as well as maintain the satisfaction of those customers who gives first preference to ethical aspect while making the decision for purchasing the goods and services from the specific enterprises. However, through this activity overall benefit can be gained by the firm in the form of increased profits and sales.
In addition to this, Thomas Cook follows sustainable practices in its airline sector also. In this regard, Thomas Cook made continual investment in the fuel efficiency type of practices. The cited company operates one of the most effective aircraft fleet with 70.9g CO2 per passenger kilometre. Through this way, cited firm is showcasing its ethical responsibility towards natural environment of nation (Carrington, Neville and Whitwell, 2014). Furthermore, by complying with the given type of activity only organization is maintaining the satisfaction level of its buyers. In addition to this, Thomas Cook function ethically because it complies with all human right related principles and practices. In this regard, it is assessed that cited firm make utmost measure with regard to enhance as well as maintain the satisfaction level of its customers in an effectual manner. Here, Thomas Cook provides all type of perks and rewards to its employees which they always deserve. Furthermore, the cited firm also comply with all the employment related principles which it has promised to its workers. In addition to this, the recruitment policy of Thomas Cook is fair and effective (Katz, 2011).
In accordance with the given context, it is assessed that the corporation follows all provisions of equality act when making the measure to fulfill the vacant position within corporation. Here, firm will give importance to the skill and ability of individual rather than their gender, caste and creed. Moreover, Thomas Cook organizes conservation and animal welfare project. Thomas Cook organizes tours in number of country where it behaves ethically. Thomas Cook make measures with regard to give best holiday experience to its buyers. But, in the process of achieving the given objective cited firm also ensure that the natural environment of the nation will not be impacted in a negative way. These all are being consider as the part of ethical aspect. Thus, it is correct to said that Thomas Cook is the company which function ethically (Shen, Wang, Lo and Shum, 2012).
In this section, survey has been conducted upon the GSM students in London. This survey is conducted with an aim to get the information about the factors which leads to influence the buying behaviour of customers. In this regard, sample of 10-15 students is selected. Here, in order to assess their view points, primary research has been carried out. However, with an aim to conduct the research the tool such as questionnaire is used. The given tool is effective as with the help of this the views and opinions as being given by the buyers can be analysed in an effectual way.
In accordance with the given context, on conducting the survey upon the GSM student London, it is assessed that majority of the respondents have given positive response with regard to the asked question that they given preference to the ethical aspect while purchasing the products and services of any firm. This means that the young customers also give preference to the ethical aspect. In this context, they have the opinion that they always prefer to purchase the goods and services from that firm that comply with all type of ethical principles and practices. Furthermore, on conducting the research upon the topic such as analysing the factors which leads to influence the behaviour of GSM buyers it has also being identified that some students are influenced through the views and opinions as being given by the friends and family members of customers relating to the firm's product (Singh, Iglesias and Batista-Foguet, 2012). In this context, it has also being seen that for some buyers product purchasing experience as being communicated by their relatives matter a lot than that of other. Thus, if family members of buyers have the bad experience from the products and services of the firm at that time the given thing will lead to cause significant impact upon the behaviour of respective individual too.
In addition to this, from the opinions gather through survey conducted it has also being assessed that students will not give second chance to the firm if at the first chance they had the bad experience of purchasing the product. This is because, they believe that an individual must not spend their money in giving second chance to the firm to whom it has bad experience of purchasing (Solomon, Russel-Bennett and Previte, 2012). The quality of product is being consider as one of the most significant factor which leads to cause necessary impact upon the buying behaviour of buyers in an effectual way. Overall, it can be said that social and personal are being regarded as the two major factors which leads to influence the buying behaviour of buyers (Smith, 2014).
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From the whole report, it can be stated that ethical consumerism is the new and evolving concept which is being followed by many customers. In addition to this, for the firms also it is very essential that they must comply with the given concept when making the production of goods and services. It is due to the fact that by relying upon the given concept, enterprise can fulfill its ethical responsibility towards the nation in which it is working. The given thing will also enable enterprise with regard to enhance as well as maintain the satisfaction level of its buyers in an effectual manner. Through this way, overall impact can be seen by the firm upon the sales and profits.
In addition to this, Thomas Cook is the firm which claim to operate ethically. Here, the values and ethics which firm follows showcase that it complies with all type of sustainable practices. Here, through this way only the corporation is getting the benefits in the form of increase sales and profits.
Following recommendations are suggested to the manager of Thomas Cook.
- It is recommended to the cited firm that it must organize ethics education related training and development related programs for its workers on monthly basis. Here, in this program organization must educate its employees about ways that they must perform in order to act ethically.
- It is also suggested to the firm that it should associate reward with the performance of the employees. Here, firm should give reward to that particular employee only who have behaved ethically or have done something ethically. Here, by complying with the given type of practices, organization can attract large number of buyers who behave ethically.
Books and journals
- Bray, J., Johns, N. and Kilburn, D., 2011. An exploratory study into the factors impeding ethical consumption. Journal of Business Ethics.
- Carrington, M.J., Neville, B.A. and Whitwell, G.J., 2014. Lost in translation: Exploring the ethical consumer intention–behavior gap. Journal of Business Research.
- Howard, P. H. and Allen, P., 2010. Beyond organic and fair trade? An analysis of ecolabel preferences in the United States. Rural Sociology.
- Katz, M.A., 2011. The politics of purchasing: Ethical consumerism, civic engagement, and political participation in the United States.
- Lewis, T. and Potter, E., 2011. Ethical consumption: A critical introduction. Routledge.
- Concept of ethical consumerism. 2015. [Online]. Available through: <http://leadingincontext.com/2012/10/10/what-does-ethical-consumerism-mean-for-business/>.
- Thomas Cook Group plc launches its 7th annual Sustainability Report. 2015. [Online]. Available through: <http://ethicalperformance.com/reports/view/918>.