Ethical Products and Consumer Involvement: What's New?

Valéry Bezençon and Sam Blili
Publication Date: 
This paper aims to provide an adequate instrument to measure involvement, its antecedents and its impact on behaviours relating to ethical product consumption, using the case of fair trade.
• Design/methodology/approach – Based on an in-depth analysis of the involvement literature and the specificities of ethical products, a model is derived using a hypothetico-deductive approach. It is then analysed using structural equation modelling. • Findings – The new construct specific to ethical products is a strong predictor of involvement. In addition, the involvement in the ethical aspect of products is much stronger than the involvement in the product category to explain selected consumer behaviours. • Research limitations/implications – It is likely that highly involved consumers are more prone to participate in such a survey, which limits the representativeness of the sample. • Practical implications – Beyond the theoretical contribution for ethical consumption analysis, practical implications for fair trade marketing can be derived. A section of the article discusses how to improve fair trade products' communication, how to make those products more competitive, and who should distribute them. • Originality/value – Current generic involvement models are insufficient to apprehend ethical consumers, who constitute a market in constant expansion. This research fills this gap by providing an original instrument which distinguishes the product-specific involvement from the involvement in the ethical values carried by the product.