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date: 09 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys corporate activities to promote social, economic, and environmental standards across the clothing, electronics, and cocoa industries and argues that political consumerism has been one factor driving these activities. Factors pertaining to government intervention and business strategy, having little to do with societal pressure or conscientious consumer activities, also drive brands and retailers to engage in sustainability standard-setting. As a result, across the sectors investigated, there appears to be a gap between business-driven sustainability-standard efforts and experiments to get businesses to cater to political consumerist interests. Using empirical examples from the Netherlands, the chapter discusses the degree to which the relationship between these consumerist initiatives and corporate sustainability strategy can be considered in or out of sync. Can political consumerism guide and/or inspire mainstream brands and retailers towards better sustainability practices, or is it a movement supporting niche projects isolated from mainstream business efforts?

Keywords: political consumerism, firms, private standards, sustainability, corporate social responsibility

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