Towards ethical consumerism: bridging the gap between the obstacles and drivers of ethical consumerism

Botha, Sonja (2018-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Being an ethical consumer means making informed purchasing decisions. Ethical consumers buy products that are ethically produced and that are not harmful to the environment or to society. They value all stakeholders within the manufacturing process by using their consumption power to support ethical production throughout the product cycle. Through their consumption choices and by voicing their concerns, ethical consumers play an important role in shaping the ways in which companies direct their business. This interdependent relationship or co-responsibility between businesses and ethical consumers impacts positively on the sustainability of both the environment and society. Moreover, businesses need to convince their customers that they truly care about the impact of their operations on their consumers, society and the environment, and that they are not only interested in making a profit. The main problem statement that this thesis addresses is that the majority of consumers are not currently committed to ethical consumption practices. In order to understand why there is such a weak uptake of ethical consumerism, the thesis investigates the different obstacles and drivers that may influence consumers as they make their consumption choices. After identifying and examining each of the obstacles to and drivers of ethical consumerism, possible change levers and change agents are proposed in an attempt to bridge the current gap that prevents consumers from committing to ethical consumerism.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Om 'n etiese verbruiker te wees, beteken om ingeligte aankoopbesluite te neem. Etiese verbruikers koop produkte wat eties geproduseer word en wat nie skadelik vir die omgewing en die samelewing is nie. Etiese verbruikers ag alle belanghebbendes tydens die vervaardigingsproses as belangrik en gebruik hulle koopmag om etiese produksie tydens ‘n produk se lewensiklus te ondersteun. Deur middel van verbruikskeuses en die verwoording van hul besware, vervul etiese verbruikers 'n belangrike rol in die vorming van die wyse waarop maatskappye hul besighede rig. Hierdie interafhanklike verhouding of medeverantwoordelikheid tussen ondernemings en etiese verbruikers bring 'n positiewe uitwerking op die volhoubaarheid van beide die omgewing en die samelewing teweeg. Daarbenewens moet besighede hul kliënte oortuig dat hulle werklik omgee oor die impak van hul bedrywighede op hul verbruikers, die samelewing en die omgewing, en dat hulle nie slegs winsbehep is nie. Die hoof probleemstelling waaroor hierdie tesis handel, is die feit dat die meerderheid verbruikers nie huidiglik verbind is tot etiese verbruikspraktyke nie. Ten doel om te begryp waarom daar 'n swak verbintenis tot etiese verbruikerswese bestaan, ondersoek die tesis die verskillende hindernisse en kragte wat verbruikers kan beïnvloed tydens hul verbruikskeuses. Nadat die struikelblokke en kragte van etiese verbruikerswese geïdentifiseer en ondersoek is, word moontlike hefbome van verandering asook veranderingsagente voorgestel in 'n poging om die huidige gaping wat verbruikers ervaar, te oorbrug en sodoende hulself tot etiese verbruikerswese te verbind.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104957
This item appears in the following collections: