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Reflection Essay on Ethics in Marketing

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Reflection essay on ethics in marketing

        There is a thirty page chapter in the book “Principles of Marketing” by Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong. The chapter is numbered 20 and it’s about ethics in marketing. There are many conceptions and terms described, and each conception is provided with example of how they work.

        Each example tells about certain companies’ experiences, which shows, that each companies’ success or failure can be affected by consumers and consumer advocates. Every action done by a company causes the society’s negative or positive attitude toward this company, so it will lose or gain profits. Therefore, companies should take care about such things as: providing customers with exactly the same level of quality, which was advertised; taking care about environment; not forgetting about consumers’ satisfaction; and many other things that keep high reputation of a company. I personally suppose that all the rules and conceptions described in the chapter can be fit in one sentence: “Never forget about your consumers and image of your company in pursuit of profits”. In other words, one shouldn’t break ethical principles to get more money.        

        Let’s take an example of Apple Inc. Today this company has only two problems: terrible working conditions in its factories in China and lawsuits related to patents. However, it’s known, that Apple had some problems in terms of environmental sustainability earlier. For example, Greenpeace claimed that Apple had been using polyvinylchloride (PVC) and brominated compounds in its products (Evans, 2007). Therefore, in 2007, Steve Jobs reported that Apple will exclude PVC and other toxic elements out of its products by the end of 2008 (Greenpeace, 2007). And it actually did (Jobs, 2008). But after this case, the relationship between Apple and Greenpeace didn’t end. In 2011, Greenpeace published a report, in which it accused Apple on spending 2% of overall worldwide energy consumption (Cook, Van Horn, 2011). After that, Apple announced that it will dump coal power and switch to 100% ecologically safe source of energy (McMillan, 2012). Later, in 2013, Apple announced that now it uses 100% renewable energy and 75% of its energy consumption is based on ecologically safe sources of energy (Burrows, 2013). Therefore, today, Apple occupies 6th place among 16 companies in Greenpeace’s “Greener Electronics” rating with 4.5 scores out of 10 (Greenpeace, 2014). By the way, in 2008, Apple occupied 11th place among 14 companies and had only 2.7 scores out of 10 (Greenpeace, 2008). In October, 2010, Apple announced that starting from that time it will produce arsenic-free display glass and mercury-free LED backlight (Apple Inc., 2010). Therefore, in 2012, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) put the “gold standard” on Apple (Platt, 2012). It means that according to EPEAT, Apple’s products aren’t harmful for environment.

        Let’s consider reason of why I think Apple Inc. have benefited from these changes in its production system. First of all, today, Apple has a reputation of one of the most ecologically safe companies worldwide, therefore the company won’t have any problems with “green people”. Second, I assume that reaching such reputation allowed Apple Inc. to gain large profits, especially from purchases of those, who are obsessed by environment. I have an example from my own experience. My best friend is not environmentally obsessed, however, he’s obsessed by Apple products. So when he purchased last model of Apple’s headphones, he told me that their package can easily dissolve in the water. Actually, it didn’t mean almost anything for him in terms of environment, but it meant that his favorite electronic company became more “super-cool”. Third reason: according to the Apple’s report, Mac Pro computer’s environmental improvements lead to the reduction of the thickness of Mac Pro, therefore now Apple can transport three times more Mac Pro units than it before (Apple Inc., 2013). So I suppose that now Apple can sell more Mac Pro computers spending less money on shipping. That’s what people call “benefit”.

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