The power to heavily in fl uence the products a

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the power to heavily in fl uence the products a consumer purchases, including the brand values they choose to buy into. Through the utilisation of social marketing techniques, retailers have the power to educate and inform the consumer about ethical and sustainable issues in fashion and help them to make informed decisions. This approach however needs to be handled with care and attention, as consumers do not want to feel they are subject to preaching regarding certain issues. This was highlighted by Catarina Midby, Head of Sustainable Communications for H&M; consumers go shopping to be inspired, not educated (James 2015 ). This method of informing consumers also runs the risk of green washing, which is the use of marketing and PR to wrongly promote a companies products to being sustainable when they are not. To avoid green washing as well as to ensure communication is effective, when retailers communicate with consumers they need to ensure that they pitch their information at the right level. This is to ensure engagement and interest in the consumer otherwise the communication is a pointless exercise. It is the role of the retailer here to know and understand their consumers, what they want from fashion and how much information they would like to know about the responsibility of the products they buy. The retailer needs to take responsibility for this and ensure that market research fully informs them of their target market. As well as the level the information is pitched at, the retailer needs to ensure that the methods of com- munication are correct for their target audience. Again through the detailed knowledge of their consumer s wants and needs, companies should be able to implement successful communication techniques. The Role of the Retailer 33
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In addition to the informant, the retailer also needs to adopt the role of providing a sound rationale for the engagement in ethics and sustainability. As seen with many companies, it is the responsibility of the retailer to not only provide engaging campaigns and initiatives for the consumer to engage in but also to provide incentives to do so. Philanthropy alone is not enough for successful engagement and it is the job of the retailer to ensure that again their incentives are appealing and pitched at the correct level for their target market. If successful, the retailer could not only get their consumers to engage but they could further inform them of ethical and sustainable issues in the process, providing multiple bene fi ts to this approach being utilised. Above all however it is the role of the retailer to successfully engage in ethical and sustainable pursuits, whilst remaining pro fi table and desirable to the market. The Global Ethical Trading Manager for Monsoon and Accessorize reiterated this point; whilst pro fi t might be a dirty word, if we do not have a commercially successful business then we cannot put pressure on our suppliers to make changes and its trying to create that necessary balance and harmony (James 2015 ).
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  • Fall '19
  • Business Ethics, Corporate social responsibility, Alana M. James, Bruce Montgomery

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