EDITORIAL: Companies take the lead in ethics

Public debate over the past decades has increasingly focused on buying a better world, as people have come to expect environmentally friendly and ethically sound goods and services. Companies are under increasing pressure to improve their image, ensure the well-being of employees and fulfill their responsibilities, as labor rights and social conscience go hand in hand with economic development.

For example, as people become more aware of environmental sustainability and switch to ‘green’ products, they are pressuring companies to reduce pollution and reduce the environmental burden of manufacturing, marketing, waste disposal and product recycling.

Through ethical consumption, people promote their values, such as opposing labor exploitation and unscrupulous business practices, which have spawned ethical investment products and fair trade products, among others.

A growing number of companies are emphasizing their efforts to promote a sustainable and ethical marketplace, showing that they keep pace with public awareness, fulfill their social responsibilities as companies and gain an advantage. competitive over their peers.

This explains why more and more companies are paying attention to negative public reactions, financial risks or legal sanctions related to the use of labor or materials from countries where personal freedoms and human rights. man are seriously raped.

However, consumer nationalism is also a growing phenomenon in the market. This type of consumerism awakens people’s national identity and prompts them to express nationalist beliefs in their encounters with products and brands. Especially in a time of rising anti-globalization, consumer responses based on social conscience and nationalism are increasingly intense.

For example, the Nielsen Global Brand-Origin survey for 2016 found that national pride was one of the reasons people preferred local brands over foreign brands, with nearly 75% of global respondents claiming that origin of the brand was as important as other purchasing criteria, such as price and quality.

While nationalist sentiment has varied across countries and business categories in recent years, consumer nationalism has unsurprisingly increased amid political rhetoric that increasingly includes economic nationalism, skepticism to towards globalization and trade protectionism.

Consumer nationalism has led some Indians to boycott Chinese goods after clashes between the two nations along their disputed Himalayan border, while prompting some Chinese to target Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz on social media after that a company statement surfaced, saying it was “deeply concerned” about reports of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.

Although businesses have experienced setbacks after such incidents, experience shows that the effects on their businesses tend to be short-term.

It would be interesting to see how ethical consumerism and consumer nationalism play out and their effects on the market.

Market research has shown that people increasingly prefer local brands out of national pride and a desire to support local businesses, but ethical consumption is fast becoming a universal value. The consumption power displayed by people making ethical purchasing decisions could potentially outrun consumer action generated by political mobilization or prompted by nationalist fanaticism.

Ultimately, in an era of fierce global competition, companies that place more emphasis on ethics and quality, and focus more on branding and social responsibility, will have the edge over n ‘any given market.

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