Does Fair Trade Breed Contempt? A Cross-Country Examination on the Moderating Role of Brand Familiarity and Consumer Expertise on Product Evaluation
- 643 Downloads
This article is a within- and cross-country examination of the impact of fair trade certification on consumers’ evaluations and attitudes toward ethically certified products. Across three experimental studies, the authors analyze how different levels of brand familiarity and fair trade expertise impact consumer decisions. The authors study this phenomenon across markets with different social orientation cultures to analyze potential dissimilarities in the way consumers evaluate and behave toward ethically certified products. Findings suggest that fair trade certifications enhance product valuations. However, this effect is especially observed for low familiar brands, once the level of fair trade expertise increases. Findings also suggest that there are individual cultural differences with respect to social and environmental labeling expertise that may account for some of the unexplained variation in choice behaviors observed across countries. Results indicate that especially in more (mature) individualistic markets (vs. collectivistic) consumer ethical behavior seems to be greatly influenced by consumers’ perceptions about the eligibility of brands using (or not) fair trade. This effect is strengthened by the significant mediating role of consumers’ ethicality perceptions on the relationship between fair trade and the willingness to pay for brands.
KeywordsFair trade Product valuation Product evaluation Willingness to pay Ethical consumption Cross-cultural ethical behaviors
Corporate social responsibility
Consumer perceived ethicality
Willingness to pay
This study was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT Portugal)—Grant Number (SFRH/BD68358/2010)—and by the Multi-Year Funding Program for R&D Units (UID/GES/00407/2013).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Human and Animal Rights
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- BBMG, Globescan, & SustainAbility. (2012). Re: Thinking consumption, consumers and the future of sustainability. Globescan Papers and Reports. http://www.globescan.com/component/edocman/?view=document&id=46&Itemid=591. Accessed November 14, 2016.
- BBMG, Globescan, & SustainAbility. (2013). From obligation to desire: 2.5 billion aspirational consumers mark shift in sustainable consumption. http://www.globescan.com/news-and-analysis/press-releases/press-releases-2013/98-press-releases-2013/291-two-and-a-half-billion-aspirational-consumers-mark-shift-in-sustainable-consumption.html. Accessed November 14, 2016.
- Brunk, K. H., & DeBoer, C. (2015). Ethical brand perception formation when information is inconsistent—An impression formation perspective. Advances in Consumer Research, 43, 319–323.Google Scholar
- Burke, P. F. (2006). Meaningless and ambiguous differentiation: Considering their relative value using random utility theory and signaling theory. In Y. Ali & M. van Dessel (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2006 Australian and New Zealand marketing academy conference—ANZMAC conference, Brisbane, Australia, December 2006 (pp. 1–7). Brisbane, Australia: Advancing Theory, Maintaining Relevance.Google Scholar
- Carrington, M., Neville, B. A., & Whitwell, G. J. (2010). Why ethical consumers don’t walk their talk: Towards a framework for understanding the gap between the ethical purchase intentions and actual buying behaviour of ethically minded consumers. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(1), 139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- De Mooij, M. (2010). Global marketing and advertising: Understanding cultural paradoxes (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Devinney, T. M., Auger, P., & Eckhardt, G. M. (2010). The myth of the ethical consumer. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Fairtrade Ibérica. (2013). Fairtrade se lanza en Portugal y Amplia su Base Social. http://www.sellocomerciojusto.org/news/es_ES/2013/12/05/0002/fairtrade-se-lanza-en-portugal-y-amplia-su-base-social. Accessed October 10, 2016.
- Fairtrade International. (2017). Annual report 2015–16. https://annualreport15-16.fairtrade.net/en/power-in-partnership/. Accessed February 15, 2017.
- FLO. (2011a). Fair trade international: Setting the standards. http://www.fairtrade.net/setting_the_standards.0.html. Accessed October 10, 2016.
- FLO. (2011b). Fair trade international: Minimum price and premium information. http://www.fairtrade.net/price-premium-info.html. Accessed October 10, 2016.
- FLO. (2012). Fair trade by the numbers: Key data for 2009–2011. http://www.fairtrade.net/fileadmin/user_upload/content/2009/resources/2012-02_Fairtrade_ByTheNumbers_2009-11.pdf.
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). An introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Herédia-Colaço, V., Coelho do Vale, R. (2016). Seize the day or save the world? The importance of ethical claims and product nature congruity. Journal of Business Ethics, 1–19. doi: 10.1007/s10551-016-3342-0.
- Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences. International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviours, institutions and organisations across nations. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (2016). Author’s webpage. https://www.geert-hofstede.com/united-states.html.
- Markovic, S., Iglesias, O., Singh, J. J., & Sierra, V. (2015). How does the perceived ethicality of corporate services brands influence loyalty and positive word-of-mouth? Analyzing the roles of empathy, affective commitment, and perceived quality. Journal of Business Ethics. doi: 10.1007/s10551-015-2985-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mooij, M., & Hofstede, G. (2011). Cross-cultural consumer behavior: A review of research findings. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23, 181–192.Google Scholar
- Nowlis, Stephen M., & Simonson, Itamar. (1996). The effect of new product features on brand choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 33, 36–46.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2017). OECD ecoscope. https://www.oecd.org. Accessed February 15, 2017.
- Patagonia. (2017). Our choices define us. http://eu.patagonia.com/enGB/international. Accessed May 02, 2017.
- Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Salzhauer, A. L. (1991). Obstacles and opportunities for a consumer ecolabel. Environment, 33(9), 10–37.Google Scholar
- Schoormans, J. P. L., & Robben, H. S. J. (1996). The effect of new package design on product attention, categorization and evaluation. Journal of Economic Psychology, 18(2–3), 271–287.Google Scholar
- Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universal in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 1–65). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Spence, M. (1974). Market signaling: Informational transfer in hiring and related screening processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Srinivasan, N., & Agrawal, J. (1988). The relationship between prior knowledge and external search. Advances in Consumer Research, 15, 27–31.Google Scholar
- Starbucks. (2017). Ethical sourcing: Coffee. https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/sourcing/coffee. Accessed May 02, 2017.
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education Inc.Google Scholar
- Triandis, H. C. (1995). Self-description and cultural values scale: Individualism and collectivism. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar