The Ethical Shopper: A Myth?

It has often been assumed that one of the characteristics of SCM philosophy is “a customer focus to create unique and individualized sources of customer value, leading to customer satisfaction” (Mentzer et al., 2001). This assumption has led to business models like Primark, which aim to satisfy customer needs for fashion by making incredibly cheap garments available – so cheap that many teenagers nowadays are used to throw them away after just two weeks. Part of the truth is that such customer needs are not only satisfied by these businesses, but also created by the marketing experts that are part of the system. But to what extend can we expect that customers critically reflect the way they consume? A very interesting article by Michael Hobbes argues: “We’re still trying to eliminate sweatshops and child labor by buying right. But that’s not how the world works in 2015.” Hobbes’ article is titled The Myth of the Ethical Shopper. See also: Supply Chain Management and Corporate Social Responsibility.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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