Is it possible for consumers to shop guilt free, and if so, at what cost?

Is it possible for consumers to shop guilt free, and if so, at what cost?

So, this is actually an assignment I wrote for my Master’s degree. It’s something I feel VERY passionate about and have therefore decided to self-publish on my blog. I got 84% for it, so I guess it’s kind of credible?! It’s a long piece, so please bear with and hopefully feel enlightened and inspired. Some interesting content, not just for academics. I mean, I REALLY enjoyed researching and writing it, so do feel free to discuss int he comments section below!

Anyways, ENJOY!

1. Introduction

“At present, it estimates, our global footprint exceeds the world’s regenerative capacity by a full 30 percent, meaning that an entire extra planet would be required to sustain prevailing consumption patterns beyond roughly the next 25 years” (Soron, 2010, p172).

Once thought to be a passing fad, there is now growing concern regarding the effects of overconsumption of our finite resources, the environmental impact of gross consumerism, the ideals of social responsibility and sustainability, and business ethics (McEachern and Carrigan, 2012). Consumers generally decide what they want, when they want it and do not take into consideration the environmental and social impact of their actions. This has become the norm in society on a global scale and is rarely challenged, yet a significant change in behaviour is required to avoid increasing impact on our planet (Koch, Buch-Hansen, & Fritz, 2017). Marketing in general is still very much driven by the ideology to satisfy consumer needs and desires (Ottman, Stafford and Hartman, 2006). A ‘need’ can refer to the difference between a consumer’s actual state and their desired state, as detailed in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (fig 1). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was developed in 1943 and is used as a tool to understand basic human needs working up the pyramid to desired fulfilment (Achrol and Kotler, 2011). For example, a consumer may feel hungry therefore would need to obtain and consume food to sustain themselves which meets their very basic physiological needs; whereas they may see an advert for a pair of shoes and feel a desire to want and ‘need’ those particular shoes which would then sit middle to top of the pyramid. This is important when considering consumers motivational and behavioural habits when making purchase decisions.

Figure 1. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, Simply Psychology, 2017


This paper aims to address the issues consumers face when it comes to responsible consumption, with a focus on the fashion industry. Consumer behavioural habits (conscious and unconscious) relating to both psychological and self-fulfilment needs of Maslow’s hierarchy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), brands and their product offerings and also the issue of green washing are considered. When referring to the ‘cost’ this would not only include the price of the product in question, but also its social and societal cost, environmental cost and economical cost. To address guilt free consumption, researchers have frequently referred to McCartney’s 4P’s of the marketing mix, a simplified version of Borden’s 1964 marketing mix being: product, price, place and promotion. In 2010 Peattie and Belz expanded on McCartney’s 4P’s (fig. 2) to include sustainability, adding four “C”s to the mix: customer solution, customer price, convenience and communication (Kumar et al, 2012). Therefore, the importance of sustainability in marketing and why it is a contemporaneous issue will also be researched within this paper.

Figure 2. “McCarthy’s 4P Approach Vs Sustainability Marketing Mix”, Kumar et al, 2012, p487)


Though the 4P’s are standard when it comes to the marketing mix, when looking into guilt free consumption and greener sustainable marketing the concept of ‘Demarketing’ will also be addressed. Demarketing was first introduced by Kotler and Levy in 1971 and sets out to discourage high levels of consumption, reduce excessive consumption and minimise product availability (Sheth, Sethia and Srinivas, 2010).

These theories combined put forward a strong case and understanding of why it is important for consumers to be more aware of their spending and consumption habits and the lasting impact this can create. If consumers have the opportunity to shop guilt free, are they able to do so and what possible factors could there be preventing them from doing this.

 2. Why is sustainability in marketing a contemporaneous issue?

Marketing is forever evolving and changing, and marketers are very aware that we (as the human race) are rapidly using up our finite resources. Due to this it is almost impossible to carry on the way we are, and things cannot be just ’business as usual’ as it purely isn’t sustainable (Soron, 2010). Marketing continues to be criticised for stimulating unsustainable levels of consumption (Morrison and Humlen, 2013; Lueg, Pedersen, & Clemmensen, 2013; Solér, Baeza, Svärd, 2015), so the more attention marketing discipline brings to green and ethical marketing, the better it could be for societal well-being in the long run (McEachern and Carrigan, 2012). One of the forefathers of marketing, Kotler (2011) highlights that the environmental agenda is likely to have a profound influence on marketing theory and practice moving forward and companies need to be addressing sustainability issues and encouraging more mindful consumption. Though it is also important for companies to make a profit as well as being socially and ethically responsible, and to satisfy consumer needs (Kennedy, Kapitan, and Soo, 2016). During the recession of 2008, there was what can only be referred to as an ecological credit crunch where consumers were forced to think differently when they may have previously partaken in reckless consumption (Soron, 2010). Encouraging consumers to think more wisely about their purchasing behaviours almost goes against what marketers are supposed to do (Carrigan, and Attalla, 2001). Marketers want people to be drawn in and delighted by advertising, whether that be intangible such as digital, or the more traditional forms of marketing which are more tangible such as print (e.g. magazines, posters, postcards, shop point of sale) and encourage consumers to purchase products (Kennedy, Kapitan, and Soo, 2016).

When it comes to the term ‘sustainability’ many think of this as relating to purely environmental issues, when actually it also covers areas such as economic and social/ societal issues (Rennings, 2000). Marketing guilt free consumption and sustainability to consumers can be difficult and complex, as it’s not something they are familiar with, for far too long marketers have been promoting an unsustainable culture of consumption (O’Shaughnessy, 2002). Due to this, consumers have become very materialistic (Scott, Martin, Schouten, 2014) and tend to act on impulse, hold hedonistic tendencies and show compulsive behaviour when it comes to making purchase decisions, therefore asking consumers to think before they act on impulse could be quite a challenge (Dunning, 2007).

 2.1 Green Demarketing

Demarketing can be compared to the 4 P’s, though it presents them in a reverse order (Kotler, 2011). What the usual 4 P’s aim to do is encourage consumers to act upon their wants, needs and desires, Demarketing of the 4 P’s encourages the consumer to think that perhaps their desires are not necessarily good for them and to think more mindfully about consumption (Pookulangara, & Shephard, 2013). Sheth, Sethia and Srinivas (2010, p33) address form of mindful consumption through Fraizer and Sheth’s 1982 framework (fig 3).

Figure 3. Advancing mindful consumption, Sheth, Sethia & Srinivas, 2010, p33

This framework is based upon consumer behaviours and their propensity when it comes to consumption. The Caring Mindset—Excessive Consumption (incentives and disincentives), would suggest that consumers care about their consumption and purchase behavioural habits, though may need incentives and rewards to become more sustainable, this can be seen in the Caring—Temperate (reinforcement) of the framework. An example of this would be a cycle to work scheme to encourage reduced carbon footprint, where the disincentives focus on Demarketing, encouraging minimal consumption. Reich & Soule (2016) highlight that little research has been conducted within the realms of ‘Green’ Demarketing and the ”effectiveness of marketing messages depends heavily on how consumers perceive the motives of the brand communicating the message” (Reich & Soule, 2016, p443 citing, Groza, Pronschinske, and Walker 2011); this can be relative to the Non-Caring—Temperate within the aforementioned framework as lack of knowledge and education when it comes to green marketing practices could invoke indifferent feelings about sustainability and the environment. Marketers therefore need to be more focused and transparent about their message (Diddi, & Niehm, 2017) This also shows a potential attitude – behaviour gap, as consumers may have the best intentions, but this doesn’t always translate into behaving or even consuming in an environmentally or sustainably friendly way.

2.2 Green washing

Although recent research suggests that a more sustainable and greener way of consumption is on the rise, (Cojuharenco, Cornelissen, and Karelaia, 2016; Joyner Armstrong et al, 2016; Liobikienė, Grincevičienė, & Bernatonienė, 2017), there are companies and brands which still use green washing to win over new customers and consumers under the false pretence that they have green and ethical practices. For example, fashion brand H&M have a “conscious” range (“About H&M Conscious”, 2017), though they are still producing clothing at a high rate at low cost to the consumer in the form of fast fashion. However, their use of sustainably sourced materials saw continued growth from 11% in 2013 to 20% in 2016 (Chua, 2017) which is a positive step for a fast fashion brand. H&M also have recycling facilities onsite in many of their stores, where customers and consumers can drop off unwanted clothing into their recycling bins which then gets sent to Germany to be recycled (Christian, 2017).  While their recycling and conscious range are visible to  consumers ; H&M were recently reported for exploitation of factory workers in Myanmar (Burma) where young teenagers work for more than 12 hours a day at low pay, although it was later reported that they were unaware these practices were taking place and appropriate action was taken (Butler, 2017), this illustrates the lack of transparency in their communication with consumers, leading to potential feelings of cognitive dissonance (Kennedy, Kapitan, and Soo, 2016) Another example of greenwashing in the fashion industry is the brand Zara, though they launched their sustainable ‘Join Life’ line of clothing in Autumn/ Winter of 2016 (Goody, 2016), they are still a fast fashion brand which accounts for a high percentage of pollution. According to a report by NPR, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013 in the US alone, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded (“What Happens When…”, 2017). In 2012 Zara, despite promoting their “Join Life” brand to the consumer, were noted as being a major contributor to releasing harmful chemical waste into water streams (“Toxic threads…”,2012, p10).

3. Slow vs Fast fashion

The term ‘slow fashion’ was created by Kate Fletcher from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion in 2007 with a view to combine terms such as ‘eco’, ‘green’, ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ to relate to high-quality products which have been produced fairly and made to ensure longevity of clothing (“The slow fashion…”, 2016). While slow fashion prices are often higher than fast fashion, they usually deliver a minimal collection each year offering the concept of exclusivity, in order to be profitable their prices are generally higher because they incorporate sustainable resources, ethical trading and fair wages (Fletcher, 2010). The people slow fashion takes into consideration is not only their target consumer market, but also the people who are the embodiment of the company from the garment factory workers upwards. Slow fashion is generally sold in smaller quantities than its counterpart fast fashion and generally on the internet rather than being offered to consumers on the high street (Antanavičiūtė, and Dobilaitė, 2015).

“The fast fashion phenomenon has revolutionized the clothing industry over the past decade. Changing consumer attitudes to apparel consumption, linked with low-cost production and sourcing of materials from overseas industrial markets has led to a culture of impulse buying in the fashion industry, where new styles of clothing are available to the average consumer every week” (Mintel, 2007 cited by McNeill and Moore, 2015, p213). Fast fashion is the polar opposite of slow fashion as the products are produced at a higher rate, with new stock landing in shops on a weekly basis (or sometimes more), it is fast production and fast consumption (“Slow fashion”, 2007). On average women wear an item of clothing 7 times before they dispose of it or it is left unused (“Throwaway Fashion: Women…”, 2015).

According to a recent article from, Mark Diamond, strategy director at Brand Union, explained that ethical brands need to “offer something more and be vocal about what they believe” (“Ethical brands need… “, 2017). Therefore, companies such as ‘Given London’ are trying to do just that. Their company works with brands to develop their message of ‘brand substance’ and not just ‘brand image’, to offer the brands consumers four key areas: trust, transparency, expectation (meeting this of the consumer and what they expect of the brand) and responsibility (to the consumer to deliver what they have promised) (“Given London – A Story…”, 2013).

According to Zarely Watson and Yan (2013), there has been little research into how marketers are tackling the issue of fast fashion not being sustainable and little focus on slow fashion. They highlight that young consumers are not aware of the waste issues fast fashion causes and are unaware of the need to recycle clothing items.  Yet, only a year later in 2014 a report (fig. 4) on ethical sourcing in retail in the UK (by age) suggested that across the board over 50% of all age ranges were noted as concerned and showing an interest in obtaining knowledge about how products they were purchasing were produced/ sourced. In these stats, millennials were showing just over 50%, therefore showing encouraging figures relating to engagement of younger consumers when it comes to being more ethically and sustainably minded.

Figure 4 Concern for ethical retail sourcing, by age 2014 | UK survey. 2014. Statista

3.1 Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is an important factor when researching guilt free consumption as this is usually something which starts within a corporation/ brand and filters through to their consumers, giving the consumer insight into the company’s ethic’s and standards therefore encouraging positive feelings, increased purchase intentions and greater overall satisfaction with the corporation/ brand etc. (Reich and Soule, 2016). There would therefore be a strong rationale in developing positive CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives. In 2014, it was reported that around 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries were willing to “pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact” (Brands up their game…, 2015).  By thinking more about their social responsibility, corporations would have a broader constituency of stakeholders than shareholders alone, for example in 2014, FORBES reported that brands that initiate CSR from day one are more likely to thrive within the sustainable and ethical brand market as they are clear about their mission and what products they provide, without sacrificing  the important factor of well-designed, stylish  and good quality products which consumers want to buy (McPherson, 2017). Corporations/ brands etc. would then hold responsibilities which would go beyond the production of their offerings at a profit and help to solve important social issues, including the ones they helped create.

Perhaps when planning most effective strategies when it comes to marketing ‘green’ products or services, and to initiate CSR, it is best first to make sure corporations/ brands etc. avoid what is known as ‘green marketing myopia’ (Ottman, Stafford and Hartman, 2006). According to Ottman, Stafford and Hartman (2006), many products have failed due to companies focusing too much on the green element of the product over what the customer or consumer actuals needs and wants to purchase.

4. Consumer behaviour

“However, when it comes to actual purchase behaviour, corporate social responsibility claims (such as “sustainably produced”, “fair trade” and “chemical free”) often fail to outweigh other attributes such as price, convenience, and product quality judgements” Kennedy, Kapitan and Soo (2016, citing Ailawadi et al., 2014; Bhattacharya and Sen, 2004; Luo and Bhattacharya, 2006). Consumers are still very much driven by convenience and price of products, therefore if there is initial lack of trust and clarity, as well as obstacles making it more difficult to access these more sustainable and green brands, then consumers are more likely to purchase cheaper and more convenient products, regardless of how they are produced etc.

In an article in marketing week, 2017, it was reported that consumers are over 60% likely to spend more money on a simple brand experience than something more complex (Consumers will spend more… Marketing week, 2017), therefore sustainable marketers could learn from this when developing a strong strategy for sustainable brands, or promoting a sustainable/ eco-friendly product. If it is made transparent to the consumer what they are purchasing and that process is simplified, they are more likely to engage with the product and make a positive purchase decision. If the actual transaction is simple, they’re more likely to become repeat customers/ consumers.

In 2013, Watson & Yan stated that little research had been conducted up to this point with regards to consumer perception of fast fashion and the difference between slow and fast fashion consumers within the stages of their Consumer Decision Process (CDP). According to AdAge (2012) fewer consumers are willing to pay for green and ethical products due to marketers “over-hyping green products and making overly aggressive claims” leading to negative feelings and distrust (“As more marketers…”, 2012). This is also reflected by Sheth, Sethia and Srinivas (2010 citing Bonini and Oppenheim 2008) who suggest that consumers lack trust when it comes to green marketing and are wary as it can be misleading.

In recent research on consumer purchase behaviour in green products, Choshaly (2017) suggests that consumer attitudes are what drive purchase decisions, these include several factors such as concern over self-image, environmental concern, social influence, perceived environmental responsibility and affective commitment (Choshaly, 2017).

According to Joyner Armstrong et al (2016, citing Briceno and Stagl 2006; Fletcher 2008; Max-Neef 1995), consumers acquire fashion goods above and beyond the two initial stages of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, those being basic needs of warmth and protection, and instead acquire goods as a recreational practice. Although this can have initial hedonic affects, this can then lead to discontent and feelings of unhappiness. Those feelings can be generated as what used to be quite a social practice, shopping in general has started to become something which a high percentage of people do online, therefore leading to the demise of social interaction.

4.1 The Conscious Consumer

Consumers known as LOHAS (lifestyle of health and sustainability) are growing in numbers (Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) – LOHAS Segmentation, 2017).  According to the NMI sustainability segmentation report, the percentage of American LOHAS consumers outweigh ‘conventionals’ and ‘unconcerneds’ consumers by 4 – 5% (table. 1). This would suggest that more ‘LOHAS’ consumers should begin to directly affect the marketing consciousness and practices of producers (i.e. Brands).

Table 1. Adapted from NMI’s Sustainability Segmentation report

Consumer Type Described as Percentage which denotes the composition of the segment within the US population
LOHAS (Lifestyle of health and sustainability) ·         Active environmental stewards

·         Personal and planetary health priority

·         Sustainability is entrenched in lifestyle

·         Heaviest purchasers of ‘green’

·         Early adopters & Influencers

Drifters ·         Green followers

·         Newer to the ‘green’ marketplace

·         Want to be seen as doing their part

·         In search of easy green changes

Naturalites ·         Personal health drivers greater than planetary health

·         Strong secondary target for natural/ green CPG brands

Unconcerneds ·         Less concerned about the environment and society 18%
Conventionals ·         Practical & rational

·         Driven by cost savings: eco-benefits secondary


However, many consumers associate possessions with happiness which stems from materialism (Banerjee and McKeage 1994). In 2016, Joyner Armstrong et al, conducted a study where a selection of students were required to abstain from clothing acquisition for 10 weeks, which they refer to as a ‘fashion detox’ (Joyner Armstrong et al, 2016) The results found that the participants experienced withdrawal symptoms from the rush of buying a new item of clothing, and found it had an effect on their social interactions. Although those are perhaps negative to the participant, over-all they found that it was a positive experience as not only did they save money, but they also felt more fulfilled with their basic wants and needs (Maslow’s first two tiers of the hierarchy) and were able to be more creative with their daily outfit choices (Joyner Armstrong et al, 2016).

5. Brands

Though through previous discussion there is evidence that brands are starting to become more environmentally and socially conscious, evidence suggests they are doing little to communicate this to their consumers (Lueg, Pedersen, & Clemmensen, 2013). These brands can be noted as ‘muted sustainable’ brands (Solér, Baeza, & Svärd, 2014). There are many offerings of sustainable and green brands available, however these are generally viewed and sourced via digital mediums, rather than being readily available to purchase on the high street.  This lack of accessibility forces consumers to take on the role of a ‘seeker’ to actually discover brands they want to build a relationship with if they want to be more sustainably and ethically minded (Carrigan and Attalla, 2001). When looking at brands the 4P’s vs 4C’s can be addressed in terms of place vs convenience, and promotion vs communication (Kumar et al, 2012).

There are plenty of exciting innovative brands on the market either creating sustainable lines or being completely sustainable and ethical brands from the start. Some examples of brands are Po-Zu shoes, who use innovation such as pinatex made from pineapple leaf fibres to create shoes (“A sustainable approach”, 2017); Girlfriend Collective, who made leggings out of recycled plastic bottles from Taiwan (“Behind the Seams…”, 2017); Adidas, who have launched a line with Parley using recycled ocean waste Morby, A. (2017), and Patagonia, who encourage longevity of wear and are environmentally conscious and Fairtrade (“Patagonia”, 2017). Apart from Adidas who are already a global fashion leader, these brands seem to heavily rely on WOM (word of mouth) and EWOM (electronic word of mouth) social communications to spread the brands message instead of traditional forms of promotional marketing, which, in itself is taking on Kotler and Levy’s 1971 concept of ‘Demarketing’.

Brands such as MUD jeans, who started in 2013, have set to revolutionise consumption by being one of the first brands to become what is known as a ‘circular brand’ (“Sustainability | MUD Jeans | Quality Jeans, Vegan & Recyclable”, 2017). This sits within the term ‘circular economy’ by meaning that there is zero waste produced. Customers/ consumers are offered the opportunity to hire a pair of jeans by signing up to a 12-month contract. At €7.50 a month this makes them more affordable to the consumer and an innovative approach to guilt free consumption (“Lease A Jeans | MUD Jeans | Lease Your MUD Jeans Online!”, 2017) At the end of this term they can either keep the pair of jeans or exchange for a new pair and keep the cycle going. If they decide to exchange their denim the pair they send back is then put into the MUD “vintage” section where other customers/ consumers can buy them or they are recycled and made into other items which MUD sell such as sweaters.

Image 1.”MUD Jeans | Circular Denim & Ethical Esthetics”, 2017

Some brands also use celebrity endorsements to promote their products such as the brand Zady, who worked with celebrity Emma Watson to promote their fashion online (Spedding, 2017).  This brand is at the higher end of sustainable fashion and really closes the affordability gap, though consumers may admire what certain celebrities are wearing if they are of a certain social status it doesn’t make the product accessible to them, though may encourage them to shop for similar styles at a lower price point.

Image 2. “Instagram post by Zady • Sep 20, 2016 at 3:02pm UTC”, 2017

Marketers usually view consumers as choosing among brands on the basis of functional and emotional criteria, though the third dimension that it becoming more prevalent is how brands meet their social responsibilities (Gao, & Zhang, 2015).

5.1 Product

In the Ethical Consumer Markets report, it was highlighted that 2015 was a good year for ethical product sales, as “Over 20% of UK consumers bought second-hand clothes for ethical reasons during 2015” (Ethical Consumer Markets Report, 2016, p18), though Fairtrade clothing suffered a double-digit decline on the previous year shrinking 12.1% to a 10-year low of £29 million (Ethical Consumer Markets Report, 2016). Though the product (being one of the aforementioned 4P’s of the marketing mix) is important to the consumer, potentially being something that they desire and would like to buy, the counterargument for the 4C’s being the ‘customer solution’ where the focus is more on what the customer/ consumer actually wants to buy (the tangible product) rather than the emotional desirability product. Therefore, the potential reason for decline in Fairtrade clothing could be because marketers didn’t research into the specific wants and needs of their customers/ consumers, with too much of a focus on pushing the message of Fairtrade, ethical and eco-friendly, when they maybe should be focusing on pushing factors such as longevity and durability which may be more appealing. An example of this is when Puma released their ‘InCycle’ range in 2013, claiming that all products were either 100% biodegradable to recyclable (Pasolini, 2017). Although Puma evidently set out to make a unique range to stand out against their competitors with sustainability in mind, the range flopped because there was no demand from retailers to stock this product, therefore it was only sold in Puma stores where there was also little uptake (Chhabra, 2017). There was evidently heavy focus on the eco-friendly and sustainable marketing, which did not appeal to Puma’s target market at the time.

Image 3 “Puma Unveils “InCycle” Line of Cradle-to-Cradle Apparel, Footwear”, 2017

Adidas, however launched a similar product in 2016, which was a limited edition run of just 50 pairs of trainers made from recycled ocean plastic in collaboration with Parley (Howarth, 2016). They were very clever in their marketing strategy as not only did they launch these on world oceans day (to raise awareness of protecting the ocean environment), they also made the 50 pairs available to be earned rather than bought. Adidas launched an Instagram competition, asking potential customers/ consumers to create and submit a video that “demonstrates their commitment to stop using single-use plastic items” (Howarth, 2016). Not only would this raise important environmental issues, it also let the customer/ consumer be part of the brand and utilised them to spread the word about the product to their social groups online.

Image 4 Adidas x Parley shoes made from recycled ocean plastic launch, Howarth, 2016

This was evidently successful as in 2017, Adidas and Parley have again teamed up to launch another collection of trainers made from recycled marine plastic waste which will be available to purchase on their website (Green, 2017), as well as a collection of swimwear, also made from ocean plastics (Morby, 2017). Adidas are aiming to make these forms of upcycling and sustainability the norm, in their recently released sustainability report they are aiming to have 100% of their cotton goods certified as sustainable (Adidas Group Sustainability Progress Report, 2015, p38). This would then allow the consumer to shop guilt free unconsciously and without bias, rather than making the hard sell of eco-friendly products which can lead to negative consumer behaviour.

6. Conclusion

Throughout this study, we have looked at a combination of the 4P’s and the 4C’s marketing mix as well as addressing the wants, needs and desires of consumers through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and have established although it is possible for consumers to shop guilt free (to an extent), many still choose not to due to product price and convenience. Therefore, it is marketer’s responsibility to work with brands to encourage more sustainable and ethical practices within the corporations/ companies/ brands and the creation of green products and make these the norm in order to change the consumer behaviour and their purchase decision making process. This will allow consumers to ‘think’ more about what they are purchasing, or indeed shop unconsciously and without bias, no longer having to take on the role of the ‘seeker’, shopping more ethically in general. Consumers may change their thought process, taking into consideration if they actually need a product to fulfil their basic needs, or to satisfy needs on a more hedonistic or social level. They may then consider investing in higher value, higher quality products which will last years, instead of convenient ‘throw-away items’. Companies therefore need to start making drastic changes in their research and development, production, financial and marketing practices if sustainability is to be achieved and think more about their corporate social responsibility.


All thoughts are my own and this is officially a piece of work I submitted for my MA marketing Degree, 2017. Please do not plagiarise!! happy for you to share, quote etc as long as I am credited. Thanks in advance!


  1. Julie
    August 6, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    Hi Alanna, I got back to finishing reading and found it all really interesting and thought provoking. Had vaguely heard about Adidas using recycled ocean plastic but didn’t really know much more than that and hadn’t heard at all about Puma’s not so successful attempt – I guess cos it wasn’t!! I’m quite glad to not be a fast fashion person and I really like the whole circular economy idea but sadly I think that’s going to be a long way off for most folk… if we ever get there I feel it will be via baby steps for the wider consumer base, which is exactly why your writing and use of social media to share ideas and info is so important, you are helping others to think about and then take those steps 🙂

    • August 7, 2018 / 8:53 am

      Thanks so much lovely!

      It’s all about gentle education, and we can all be doing our own little part. Whether that be shopping in charity/ thrift stores, cutting down on the amount of clothes we buy in general, do clothing swaps etc. Though I know this doesn’t entirely tackle the fast fashion problem, it makes people more aware. I quite enjoy living a slower lifestyle and not spending so much,. but if I want something special I try to find the more ethical and slow brands which make good quality garms for a higher price which will last, rather than throw away fashion 🙂

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