Ethical Branding in the Modern Retail: A Comparison of Italy and UK Ethical Coffee Branding Strategies

  •  Ornella Papaluca    
  •  Mauro Sciarelli    
  •  Mario Tani    


Modern markets can be seen as complex systems of relationships where stakeholders are able to influence the firms’ decision-making processes and their value creation processes. Modern businesses should adopt a broader perspective in order to not focus their actions only on maximize economic performance, but to design them considering even their social and environmental impacts on the system as a whole. Firms have to respond to the stakeholders’ expectations as a way to obtain the legitimacy needed to create a beneficial environment that will help them in creating a positive effect out of their system of relations, without violating the social contract tying together all the actors in a given system. It follows that, when companies can effectively communicate to their systems’ actors how they are following the principles of sustainability and prove that their actions are socially responsible, they can get several advantages. One of the way companies must accomplish this feat is to ask third parties to certify their actions in order to be able to print on their products one of the various Ethical Labels. Using these labels to mark their products can be a tool to influence the consumer to buy from the firm over the competitors, leveraging on a higher legitimacy.

In this paper, we have studied the evolution of the practice of non-financial disclosure trough ethical labels that 14 coffee brands, both in Italy and in England, as a way to understand how, in different markets they have changed over a 5-year time.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-719X
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7203
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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