Ethical Consumption from A Cross-Cultural Perspective



In last few decades, the discussion on ethical consumption has received significant research attention. The term ‘ethical consumption’ refers to individuals’ and/or organizations’ purchasing and consuming behaviour and actions in considering about moral, environmental and societal issues (Bray et al., 2011; Newholm and Shaw, 2007). Similar terms include moral consumption, ethical consumerism, green consumerism, sustainable consumerism, ethical purchase, ethical shopping, and so on, Ethical consumption is not necessarily about zero consumption, nor consumption deprivation; it is more about how to use consumer power to support a better environment and society in which we are living, and to influence business to become more ethical, responsible and sustainable.

In recent years, many individuals started to adopt ethical consumption lifestyle and behaviour in order to address global issues by changing their patterns of shopping and consumption. Consumers became more aware about their decision-making process and the choices that they make in regard to product and service purchases (Quoquab and Mohammad, 2019). Consumers’ day-to-day purchasing choices, decision making processes, and post-consumption behaviour are influenced by their ethical considerations. Not only consumers, many organizations also have been actively taking part in societal issues for the ethical concerns. However, understanding the ethical consumption problems that are connected to individuals’ diverse lifestyle and organisational strategies and the way they are rooted in different societies, traditions and cultures remains in dearth. Therefore, further investigations on understanding the reasons, causes and outcomes of ethical consumption in different contexts and different cultural settings are required (Hoelscher and Chatzidakis, 2020; Sun, 2020).

Several aspects of ethical consumption have not been unveiled, which calls for more research to understand why many countries are not able to create a sustainable progress on this matter. Sun (2020) argued that consumers’ judgment of ethical behaviour is dynamic and changes over time and across cultures. Therefore, it is needed to explore from different cultural perspectives what can create a sustainable change in the purchase pattern of individuals and/or organizations, and what can drive the ethical consumption mindset or facilitate the ethical purchase process.
This is in line with the Ethical Behaviour Model which indicates that individuals’ values, beliefs, moral development, norms, etc. vary across cultures and have significant effect on individuals’ attitude and behaviour (Weber and Gillespie, 1998). It is also echoed in the works of Farh et al. (1997) and Mohammad et al. (2016) which found differences in individuals’ cultural values that impacted their beliefs and behaviour at work.

Many individuals have started to consider about ethical aspects like fair-trade, organic and green food, and no-single use plastic in their purchase. Not only consumers, but many organisations have also attempted to integrate ethical aspects in their strategies through the concept of corporate social responsibility, which associates social issues and environmental concerns to the economical goal of organizations. In this instance, the concepts like corporate social responsibility (Öberseder et al., 2011), waste management (Rasool et al., 2021), frugality (Sadom et al., 2020; 2021), zero-plastic bag campaign (Quoquab and Mohammad, 2020; Saleh Omar et al., 2019), mindful consumption (Mohammad et al., 2021), sustainable consumption (Quoquab et al., 2019; Quoquab et al., 2020), organizational citizenship behaviour for environment (Paille and Boiral, 2013), green HR practices (Paille et al., 2013), awareness of food waste (Rasool et al., 2021), and food waste reduction (Thi et al., 2015) have emerged. Nevertheless, cross-cultural studies that identify, comprehend and compare the differences in consumers’ beliefs with respect to the process of forming ethical behaviour in different societies is lacking (Sun, 2020). Thus, this special issue is expected to fill this gap in the existing literature by exploring, highlighting, explaining, and debating these issues in different cultures and societies.    

List of topic areas:

  • Ethical consumption from different cultural perspectives
  • Fair trade
  • Waste reduction (food, plastic, clothing, etc.)
  • Attitude, belief, cognition towards ethical consumption
  • Environmentally significant behaviour
  • 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle)
  • Psychological aspects towards ethical consumption
  • Anti-consumption behaviour
  • Ethical tourism practices
  • Consumption and individual and societal wellbeing
  • Greenwashing and/or whitewashing
  • Motivations for ethical consumption 
  • Ethical aspect of fashion
  • Social media marketing in enhancing ethical consumption
  • Personality traits in considering about ethical consumption
  • Employees' perception towards ethical consumption
  • Organisational strategies toward ethical consumption

Submission information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 1st March 2022

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 30th September 2022                                                                                        


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