Sustainability and the UK’s Major Food Retailers: Consumer Concentric Cause Marketing Writ Large

Sustainability and the UK’s Major Food Retailers: Consumer Concentric Cause Marketing Writ Large

Peter Jones (University of Gloucestershire, UK), Daphne Comfort (University of Gloucestershire, UK) and David Hillier (University of Glamorgan, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2524-2.ch018
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‘Consumers are increasingly concerned about their own environmental impacts, those of the products they buy and those of the companies at which they shop. These concerns focus on physical impacts such as global warming and on broader social issues such as how their purchasing actions and choices affect the livelihoods of people in other countries’ (Global Coca Cola Retail Research Council Forum, 2009, p. 5).
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The concept of sustainability can be traced back as far as the thirteenth century but in more recent times it appeared in the environmental literature in the 1970s (Kamara, Coff, & Wynne, 2006) and since then it has attracted increasingly widespread attention. Jamieson (1998) suggests that ‘most people’s thoughts about the meaning of sustainability are probably simple and grand: sustainability is about human survival and the avoidance of ecological disaster’ (p. 184) but he recognizes that ‘professional discourse, on the other hand, is complex and technical’ (p. 184). Defining this concept is not straightforward and a number of different and contested meanings can be identified. Diesendorf (2000) has argued that ‘sustainability’ can be seen as ‘the goal or endpoint of a process called sustainable development’ (p. 21).The most widely used definition of sustainable development is ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (p. 43) (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) which Diesendorf (2000) suggests ‘emphasises the long term aspect of the concept of sustainability and introduces the ethical principle of achieving equity between present and future generations’ (p. 21).

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