Cases of exploitation and discrimination of workers, wage dumping and violations of legal or ethical minimum standards of working conditions are reported on an almost daily basis in the media. These social aspects of economic activity have a particularly high relevance in less developed countries. Global companies are severely criticized for tolerating starvation wages paid to women, accepting poor working conditions at their suppliers or not actively combatting these conditions. Companies are no longer able to pursue pure profit maximizing strategies. They have to take social aspects into consideration due to the globalization of markets, the strengthening of stakeholders through technical progress and media, and a growing sense of responsibility of consumers.
The increased relevance of social issues manifests itself in the consumption of products with the Fairtrade label. Buying fair trade products, consumers’ consider the interests of disadvantaged producers while making purchase decisions. The increasing relevance of social issues is contrasted by the very often even low market shares of fair trade products. Besides, the research on fair trade products has significant gaps and cannot explain the relevance of social and fairness considerations for purchase decisions.
This book investigates to which extent social issues play a role for consumers in their purchase decisions. It provides the first comprehensive analysis of purchasing decisions and willingness to pay for fair trade products. The author develops a model that demonstrates impressively how altruistic motives in particular motivate the consumers to buy fair trade products. The book also scrutinizes whether and which consumers are willing to pay for additional social quality of products. The author derives practical implications for the marketing of fair trade products from his results.