In order to address this lack of consumer knowledge

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consequences this production has on the environment. In order to address this lack of consumer knowledge, fashion retailers need to begin to communicate their responsible intentions and actions. Despite the negative factors discussed with regards to the social and environmental compromise that occurs in the fashion supply chain, recent years have seen companies slowly changing their approach towards social responsibility. Many brands and retailers can now be seen to acknowledge these negative consequences and have began to implement goals and 30 A.M. James and B. Montgomery
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responsible actions as a result. As previously discussed, retailers have opportunities during the purchasing process to in fl uence consumer behaviour for the better. The sharing of these goals and actions could help increase consumer knowledge and raise awareness of the steps the industry is taking to address the problems found. Increased communication could also help improve the consumer to retailer rela- tionship and aid in development of this shared goal for a more responsible future. The improvement of this relationship has multiple bene fi ts including the creation of brand trust and the power that consumer demand could have on moving the industry forward. This increase of communication has began to slowly develop over the past few years with companies beginning to create communication channels such as annual reports to demonstrate their responsible intentions and actions. To help increase the effectiveness of these methods, the use of storytelling and narrative can be a powerful tool. The nature of this tool allows consumers to engage to a degree that suits them at the time, being able to dip in and out of the story to obtain pertinent details. It also helps to draw consumers in and aids engagement due to the structure of the text being used. This relates directly to another recommendation that can help in the increase of consumer knowledge and awareness, which is to ensure that when retailers do communicate with their customers regarding ethics and sustainability that they do so at the correct level. If the communication tool utilised uses heavy business language and jargon then a consumer will disengage with the message. Likewise if the method is too text heavy, consumers want to be visually interested and stimulated by the materials in order to successfully engage with the underlying messages. The second key issue said to be preventing change is consumers not imple- menting their knowledge during the purchasing process. This relies on consumers who already have existing and pre-requisite knowledge of ethics and sustainability and the fact that they may use justi fi cation strategies to ignore what they know. Whether it be conscious or unconscious, the lack of connection between knowledge and the products being purchased is seen as a common issue when it comes to ethics and sustainability. Consumers often do not put the two together due to a lack of a relationship between products and their manufacturing supply chain. Therefore, it
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  • Fall '19
  • Business Ethics, Corporate social responsibility, Alana M. James, Bruce Montgomery

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