Example Business Essay:Describe the ethical concerns facing the communities in which the Cooperative Group operates

Example Business Essay:Describe the ethical concerns facing the communities in which the Cooperative Group operates
This essay examines the ethical concerns which are foremost in the communities in which the Cooperative Group operates. The discussion argues that most important among these ethical concerns are the dual problems of global ethical dilemmas, led by the issues of fair trade and climate change, but also a keen interest in supporting local communities and local suppliers. The latter has become increasingly important in light of the financial crisis as it often a key factor in how local communities fare. The discussion begins with a critical analysis of how these ethical concerns affect local communities before reflecting briefly on how the Cooperative can be seen to assisting with such problems.
The Cooperative Group operates throughout the entirety of the UK. It can therefore be said that broadly speaking, the ethical considerations which effect the communities in which the Group operates are the ethical considerations which are currently foremost among the UK population as a whole. As outlined in the introduction, these issues can broadly by summarised as a concern about the environment and concerns about global poverty, international development and the role of trade in dealing with such problems. The UK voluntary sector is one of the best supported in Europe and has an annual turnover into the tens of billions (Harris 2001). Whilst this is not explicitly relevant to the role of the Cooperative Group it nonetheless illustrates the general spirit of the British nation and the importance which they attach to ethical considerations in life. These ethical concerns are important ones for the Cooperative Group to consider as much has been made recently of the role of consumer choice in shaping the nature of the world's problems (Klein 2010 p.242). There is therefore a strong connection between the ethical considerations of such communities and the role of the Cooperative Group.

We must therefore acknowledge that one of the biggest concerns which many people feel in relation to the issue of climate change and global poverty has been the sense of how best they can help with the problem on an individual level. In an age when many people have lost faith in traditional political routes to problem solving or addressing ethical concerns, there is more and more emphasis placed on the importance of consumer choice. Writers such as Klein (2010), Tomlinson (1999) and Giddens (2002) have all been involved in arguing that perhaps one of the most important ways in which people can change the world in which they live is through supporting movements such as the Fair Trade movement, through taking an interest in the carbon footprint of their shopping and in generally being a much more politically aware consumer. Such arguments argue that consumer choice can effectively be used as a less dramatic form of economic sanction to place diplomatic pressure on certain areas to either reform their political practice, or to operate in a more considered manner. This point is made particularly strongly by Garton Ash who argues that, with so much choice over which charity to support and what particular manner in which to attempt to influence events, many people feel overwhelmed. Evidence put forward by the Guardian Sustainable Business report suggests that many consumers do believe that there choice of products makes a difference to such issues and that the majority of consumers are influenced by such factors . There is therefore a strong precedent for supermarkets and organisations such as the Cooperative Group to develop practical alternatives for such people and furthermore to inform their customers of the ethical issues which surround their consumer choices.

However, perhaps one of the most important ethical issues which faces such groups in the current economic climate is the issue of local employment and local livelihoods. Like many ethical considerations this issue ties in neatly with many of the other concerns which we have previously discussed. Throughout the post war period there has been a growth in the power of markets internationally to the point where the vast majority of the UK's manufacturing industry and a large part of British domestic agriculture has been superseded by cheap foreign imports, be it manufactured goods from China or fruit and vegetables which are grown in warmer climes and shipped to the UK either on boats or planes . Such trends create a dual problem of increasing carbon emissions but also threatening local livelihoods, particularly in the more rural areas which the Cooperative Group operates in such as parts of Yorkshire and the Lake District. A significant ethical issue in this context is therefore the level of support which major shops such as the Cooperative Group give to local industries and producers. This issue has been highlighted by a significant number of globalisation theorists such as Dunkley , as well as more mainstream writers such as Stiglitz and Klein . Such ideas represent a significant concern for much of the world as the free market system has created more problems than it has solved for a great number of people.

Strong evidence suggests that such trends are being felt at the supermarket checkout and in the local shop. In 2010 Bevin reported that in response to a survey carried out for the Guardian “the majority of the 766 respondents indicated strong concern about carbon emissions, pollution, and resource depletion” . A majority of respondents also stated that the level of transportation was a key factor for them. They were therefore much more likely to purchase a product which had been locally sourced . It is also worthy of note that the Guardian report also found that the purchase of groceries came second only to transportation in the full ethical consideration of household expenditure. Areas such as utility bills or clothing were not considered to be as important ethically as were groceries .

When all of the evidence is collated there is a strong precedent set for the centrality of environmental and wider global ethical considerations in consumer choice. The evidence put forward by the Guardian report provides recent and solid support for the idea that an increasing number of consumers see themselves as key actors within the global economy and global society. It is increasingly the case that works by Stiglitz on globalisation, Klein on marketing and Dunkley on free market capitalism are becoming mainstream texts with a growing number of people understanding and forming judgements on some of the wider macro issues which are presented in such works. The result has been a grass roots movement away from simply buying products at the cheapest price towards buying products based on their ethical considerations. This is something which has continued through the recent financial recession with the Guardian Sustainable Business report being published in June of 2010. It is also worthy of note that the ethical stance, although slightly more of a factor at higher incomes, was largely constant across the income range.

It can therefore be concluded that the major ethical considerations for those people who live in areas that the Cooperative Group would operate in are the major ethical considerations which people consider in their day to day lives. Perhaps the most important of these has been the impact of products on the environment. It is increasingly the case that people buy products based on the distance that they have been transported, the amount of packaging they have and the place in which they originated. However, we should not ignore the wider 'knock on' ethical considerations which surround global warming and global climate change. The influence of poverty has been strongly felt with the fair trade movement receiving considerable support, to the point where the majority of coffee is now fair trade certified . It is clear that such issues have considerable crossover. The more locally something is grown the more chance there is that it will have less of a carbon footprint and the more chance that it will have of supporting local industries and therefore reducing global poverty overall. However, more important of all to the ethical considerations of the local people in which the Cooperative Group are considerations as to how best to reduce their carbon footprint and assist in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Example Business Essay:Describe the ethical concerns facing the communities in which the Cooperative Group operates 6.8 of 10 on the basis of 1580 Review.