Socially responsible consumption : an exploratory study on the Western Cape

Korboi, Jesse B. (2007-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.


Socially responsible consumption plays a major role in achieving environmental sustainability in any part of the world. The aim of this investigation was to identify whether consumers in the Western Cape are socially responsible. The research was conducted using a sample of 200 consumers in the Cape Town area as a representative sample of the Western Cape. Data were gathered from respondents by means of a questionnaire. The statistical interpretation of the survey results were done by means of constructing frequency distribution tables since the data are nominal. The results of the analysis of the data pointed out that while consumers in the Western Cape demonstrated willingness to know how products are made before buying; they do not take into consideration the environmental and social impact of their purchases, meaning that they are not socially responsible consumers. Out of 167 completed questionnaires, 36% of respondents based their buying decision on the price and quality of products. This constitutes the single largest group of respondents in the survey. The results also revealed that consumers are willing to boycott products that are proven to be unethically produced, which is a positive development. Radio and television were the main sources of information for consumers about entities. In terms of the definition of moral standards, consumers proved to be idealistic, meaning that they believe that moral standards should be viewed as universal regardless of the society in which it occurs. These findings clearly indicate that while consumers in the Western Cape are not socially responsible, there are positive indications from the survey that can be used to improve the situation. Consumers' willingness to know how products are produced before buying, the willingness to boycott products proven to be produced unethically, and their idealistic view on moral standards are all positive indications for improvement. The recommendations provided in the study, if implemented, will go a long way towards making consumers more conscious about the social and environmental impact of their purchases.

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