Study skills include the essential approaches that are used for learning in order to gain success in school along with getting better grades in exams. Along with this, these skills are helpful in learning new things and gaining more knowledge throughout the whole life (Cottrell, 2011). In the present report, study skills will be applied to gain information and knowledge regarding the ethical consumerism which is a growing sector in the present era. This report is made to describe the importance of ethical consumerism in the business practices. By considering the case of Rana Plaza, it has been evaluated that this building named Rana Plaza was collapsed on the workers which were working inside its garment factories. Due to this incident, 1100 people were died and 2500 were injured.
In accordance to this case, it is very essential for the management of company to adopt the ethical practices in order to ensure of safety of environment as well as society. Along with this, it is necessary for the companies such as Benetton, Matalan, Mango and Bonmarche which are sourced form products Rana Plaza to ensure that they are purchasing products form the sustainable sources or not. Further, this report will include the description about the ethical consumerism and a survey which is prepared by using primary data collected from the 15 students of GSM London in the respect of ethical practices and level of customer satisfaction in Marks & Spencer.
Ethical consumerism includes a range of activities and practices related to purchase of products and services in such a manner which does not affect the resources of environment as well as society (Thompson and Coskuner-Balli, 2007). It influences organizations to maintain their purchasing practices in an ethical manner in order to reduce the negative impact of those practices on environment. Ethical consumerism is focused on enhancing the level of positive buying along with eliminating the chances of moral boycott. Positive buying is a term in which businesses adopt principles which are focused on making better quality of products by adopting ethical practices for the production and purchasing instead of self–interest. On the other hand, moral boycott refers to the negative purchasing that takes place by adopting the principles of company based purchasing as well as self-interest (Shaw and et. al., 2005). In accordance to the report of CO-operative Bank, food and drink, travel and tourism, banking and finance, fashion as well as energy are the major sectors that are included in the market related to ethical products and services.
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In case of United Kingdom, expenditure on ethical products and services has been increased to the threefold in between 1999 to 2008. Further, it is found that this figure is less than 1% of the total household expenditure. Further, according to Co-operative bank report UK ethical market was worth £36 billion in 2008 as compare to £13.5 billion in 1999. Further, it has been observed that per household spend related to purchase of ethical products or services had been reached to £735 that does not include the expenditure spent by the ethical finance and charitable institutions (Ethical consumerism in UK, 2015). However, expenditure on the renewable energy and energy efficiency had been increased to £251in 2008 in comparison with £23 in 1999. From the report of 2008, 50% adults are focused on purchasing products for the purpose of ethical consideration as compare to 1999 when only 25% adults were purchased products for the ethical reasons.
In case of food and beverage market in UK, expenditure on food and drink had been enhanced to the three times in between the year of 1999 to 2008. Increased figure related to expenditure in ethical food and beverage is from £1.9 billion to £6 billion. In the year of 1999, organic, fair trade, dolphin friendly and free trade products had already established but with inadequate availability (Freestone and McGoldrick, 2008). After ten years in 2008, several new schemes were emerged such as Marine Stewardship Council’s ecolabel for the welfare of fish and RSPCA’s Freedom Food standard for the protection of animals.
Marks & Spencer is one of the leading and growing multinational retail companies in Britain whose headquarter is in London. It is focused on rendering better quality of products to its customers such as clothing, home products and luxury food items. This company has been selected to assess the level of ethical consumerism in UK as it deals in the sector of fashion as well as food and beverage (Clarke and et. al., 2007). Main aim of Marks & Spencer is to provide sustainable products to its customers through using new and innovative techniques on the regular basis. Behind technology innovation, there is an objectives of company that is related to maintain its business practices in an ethical manner.
In order to ensure ethical consideration in its business practices, management of company has been introduced Plan A. It is a type of environmental and ethical programme launched by Marks & Spencer for the purpose of purchasing products from the ethical sources and minimizing the level of waste to the higher extent (Ethical practices adopted by Marks & Spencer, 2015). Along with this, this plan includes an objective that is related to help and assist communities in which it is operating. Plan A is considered as a business plan which is focused on guiding the world to perform their resource management practices in an effective manner for reducing the chances of harming environment as well as social values.
In accordance to the plan A, management of company is trying to help the farmers of developing countries in adopting appropriate methods for the purpose of producing cotton through using less water and pesticides. Availability of less water and pesticides leads to save water and reduce the adverse impact of pesticides on environment as well as land. Along with this, it helps in making better quality of clothing products for the communities and customers (Smith and Barrientos, 2005). In order to minimize the impact of agriculture on environment and to get high quality of cotton, WWF techniques and better cotton initiatives (BCI) are recommended to the cotton farmers. Through using these techniques, 75% cotton of Marks & Spencer comes from the ethical sources. With the help of this plan, company is focusing to reduce the level of food wastage to the 20% by 2020.
Behind making this plan, there is also an objective of company that is related to provide jobs to thousands of people by maximizing the quantity of its stores, products and customers. Introducing the plan A is the major step of Marks & Spencer to make their business practices more ethical, environment friendly as well as sustainable (Young and et. al., 2010). This plan involves three different global challenges including demand of sustainable and healthier lifestyle, enhancement in social inequality and increasing pressure on the resources of our planet. These are three major challenges which company wants to be overcome for ensuring ethical consumerism in its operations and practices.
In order to provide ethical products to its customers, management of company is focused on sourcing goods from the producers who consider growing standards and sustainable methods while producing raw materials as well as machinery (Low and Davenport, 2007). To make its products environment friendly, company tries to understand the advantage and disadvantage of materials on the natural resources used by suppliers at the time of producing products. Disadvantage of palm oil on tropical forests is initially introduced by Marks & Spencer that proves that company is participating actively with the ethical standards and also adopting the methods of positive buying instead of moral boycott. Along with this, company is focused on rendering fund to the higher level for the development of renewable energy projects and technologies currently running in the Britain (Beard, 2008).
In order to collect data and information in an effective manner, primary research has been conducted by the researcher of study. Questionnaire method has been used to gather information related to primary data. 15 students of GSM London are the respondents for the present research. In accordance to the data collected from the 15 students of London, it has been evaluated that 5 out of 15 students believe that customers are satisfied with the ethical practices performed by the management of Marks & Spencer and other 5 out of 15 respondents believe that customers are highly satisfied with the ethical practices of the company. Further, in the remaining 5; 2 students are not able to say anything about it, 1 respondent says that customers are dissatisfied with the ethical practices of company and at last two students say that customers are highly dissatisfied with the ethical practices performed by Marks & Spencer. By considering the above figure, it can be said that mostly respondents believe that mostly customers are satisfied and highly satisfied with the ethical practices of company.
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According to the second question of questionnaire, it has been observed that 12 students are believed that Marks & Spencer purchases products from the producers who adopt sustainable methods at the time of production and 3 out of 15 students do not agree upon the above statement. Further, it has been evaluated that 7 out of 15 students are satisfied and 4 out of 15 are highly satisfied with the overall quality of products provided by the management of company. In the same, 2 students are dissatisfied with over quality of company’s products, 1 is highly dissatisfied and 1 does not able to say any comment on this.
Furthermore, result of question is revealed that in 10 out of 15 students, some are satisfied and some are highly satisfied with the launch of plan A in order to guide farmers and help communities. However, 2 is dissatisfied with the efficacy of plan A, 1 is highly dissatisfied and 2 are neutral to say anything. Moreover, it has been observed that environmental factor mostly affect the buying behaviour of customers in case of Marks & Spencer instead of culture, social and economic factor. Along with this, it has been stated mostly customers prefer to purchase products from the stores of Marks & Spencer due to availability of ethical practices adopted by the management of company.
By considering the primary and secondary data, it is observed that Marks & Spencer adopts ethical practices in its business operations that are related to sourcing of goods, delivering of products and its production methods. One of the major recommendation for Marks & Spencer is that management of company needs to focus on reducing the level of carbon emissions by adopting sustainable practices in more effective manner for ensuring the safety of environment. Along with this, it is needed for company to get detailed information about its suppliers and mostly about the practices adopted by them at the time of producing goods and sourcing materials from the nature.
From the above study as well as survey, it has been concluded that most of the customers of Marks & Spencer are satisfied and highly satisfied with the ethical practices performed by it as well as with the overall quality of its products and services. Along with this, it can be said that most of its customers are prefer to purchase products form its stores due to availability of ethical practices performed in its business operations. It is also identified by the primary research that environmental factor is the major one which is mostly affect the buying behaviour of customers in case of Marks & Spencer.
In accordance to secondary data, it has been observed that plan A has been introduced by the management of Marks & Spencer that is considered as the most essential ethical and environmental programme in the history of company. This plan is mainly focused on the following practices such as guiding farmers to develop better ways for producing cotton through using less water as well as pesticides, helping communities by rendering more jobs, providing fund for the renewable energy projects and rendering remaining products for the donation.
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