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Consumer attitudes to ethically labelled products
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology and Organisation Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1673-6288
2013 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This report is an overview of academic research into consumer attitudes towards, and choice of, alternatives with ethical, in the sense of socially aware, product labelling. Nearly all research within this field has been conducted on consumers in (northern) Europe and in the USA. In certain literature on the subject, a broader definition is used of ethical product alternatives; normally products are included in that case with different types of environmental labelling. Socially responsible product labelling focuses on issues linked to how the production of labelled goods influences both the people as well as the local communities where the production of the goods takes place. In order for the product to be socially labelled it is necessary that active work is undertaken in the field of employee rights. Child labour and all forms of discrimination shall be actively opposed while democracy and the right to organise in the workplace, including the right to form trade unions, shall be promoted. The purpose of social labelling is that consumers in the developed world shall be given the possibility of choosing product alternatives that have a more favourable effect on the communities where the goods are produced. The Fairtrade label is the dominant social labelling; the lion's share of the academic research into consumer attitudes to products with social labelling has been carried out with Fairtrade labelled product alternatives in focus. Research has shown that a large share of the Swedish population knows the Fairtrade label and their trust in the Fairtrade label is relatively high. Women generally have a more positive attitude towards Fairtrade than men. To place greater emphasis on self-transcending values, i.e. to strive to transcend personal and individual interests and instead to work for the good of others (and in that case also others with whom one is not in direct contact) has been shown to increase the likelihood of having a positive view of Fairtrade. To strive for "warm relations" (to have close colleagues and friends and deep ties of friendship) are also associated with a positive attitude to Fairtrade. Certain studies have investigated how much consumers are prepared to pay for a socially labelled product. The results vary quite sharply and the methodology in itself has also been criticised. Researchers in this field believe that the so-called "willingness-to-pay" studies function as a kind of attitude indicator, rather than a measure of how much one is actually prepared to pay. In studies where factors such as good working conditions are set against the products being produced in an eco-friendly manner, it has been found that the social, employee right aspects, and in particular the fact that no child labour has occurred, are shown to be more important than the fact that the products are produced in an eco-friendly way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: University West , 2013. , 32 p.
Rapport Högskolan Väst, 2013:2
Keyword [en]
Fairtrade, fair trade, social product labelling, consumer psychology, survey report
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-5126OAI: diva2:605063
Available from: 2013-02-13 Created: 2013-02-13 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved

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Grankvist, Gunne
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