Ethical Branding and Fair Trade

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In most companies, many of the marketing strategies concentrate their attention on origination, development, realization, and popularization of a unique, original and successful brand. The creation of such a brand requires quite a lot of research in different areas to make this brand memorable and popular. It has been established that to achieve this goal it is necessary to include certain ethical values. In order to mark out, what different groups of people consider to be ethical, brand creators should focus on the current global issues. Thus, companies will be able to associate and link issues, which have an overall impact, with their products to make them successful and popular.

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Despite the fact that brands exist for centuries, greatly important they become only nowadays. Brands prevail in every aspect of present-day life. They have a huge influence on modern people’s lifestyles from clothing and food to music and politics. Eventually, brands become part of people’s culture. They are even considered a social construct. The important part of marketing is advertising and publicity, but it focus is always centered on branding.

By promoting a brand’s ethical stance companies are more likely to appeal and hold down the permanent inflow of customers. Such information was provided by recent research made by Marketing Week. “Ethical consumers… are more likely to favor brands that they believe share their green values” (Barnett 2011, n.p.). Recent research shows that highly ethical people are likely to be wealthy and reach, which makes them a profitable group of customers.

Let us consider ethical branding for example Divine Chocolate and compare US and UK consumers’ behavior in regards to its ethical branding. Divine Chocolate Limited, formerly the Day Chocolate Company, was established in the United Kingdom in 1998. It is an extremely successful company. It was established as a partnership between the Kuapa Kokoo collective in Ghana and the Twin Trading organization. Divine Chocolate is a manufacturer of different chocolate products in the United Kingdom and the United States. In the company farmers of KUAPA owned 33% shares. The Divine Fair Trade milk chocolate was launched in the UK market and became the first farmer-owned Fair Trade product (Pride and Produce: A Tale of Fair Trade). The Divine Chocolate trading system is unique. That is what people think about Divine Chocolate: “Divine is a social business that is often cited as an archetypal social business at that because of the way it is successful and yet the ide itself is simple” (Reid 2013, n.p.). Divine Chocolate tries to represent ethical values:

…without a doubt, the improvement of the livelihoods of those that produce cocoa for their many products, the company’s stylized packaging creates a look that reflects the culture of where it came from while adding aesthetic value and intrigue to the product. (Reid 2010, n.p.)

They cover each chocolate bar with special West African symbols. These symbols show the values of African people “such as family, wisdom, humility, democracy and enlightenment” (Reid 2010, n.p.).

For international companies like Divine Chocolate, understanding consumer behavior in different countries is very important. In the US consumer behavior is rather different than in the UK. It can be traced to its culture’s roots. So-called “Green Americans” choose to buy Fairtrade production, which in this case supports African farmers and guarantees that the product is free from child slave labor. Fair Trade is a nonprofit agency, which label appears on drinks and food independently. It shows that farmers receive a fair earning for their work. It also shows that goods were made in environmentally sustainable conditions. A lot of American buyers look for the Fair Trade Certified™ logo on drinks and chocolate bars like Divine Chocolate when they visit stores. They want to assure that the goods are healthy. The customer’s way of thinking is as follows “people who might pass by a normal fundraiser are more likely to participate because they feel like they are making a difference.

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You actually improve the world by eating sweets” (Korfhage 2012 n.p.). Both UK and US consumers spend a lot of time at home and use online buying channels. Fairtrade products are no exception. The largest market of chocolate labeled by Fairtrade is in the UK. The sales are worth $760m in 2011. While in the US they are $175m in sales. In defining buying behavior, social, cultural, and individual forces play a significant role. US customers’ behavior can be specified with their longing for freedom. They are exposed to achievement and individualism.

Many of the American customers want to participate in the struggle against slavery in Africa by buying Fairtrade goods. Researches also show that highly educated people are more likely to buy Fairtrade products than a less educated one. The UK is well known for its high educational level. This factor makes its contribution to Fairtrade’s purchase rate in the UK. As for Divine Chocolate, it is no wonder that sales in the UK are much higher than in the US because it is a British company. It tends to set exclusive moral solidarities of alternative tastes and establish high ethical values.


Barnett, M. 2011. ‘The only way is ethics’, Marketing Week.

Korfhage, A. 2012. Real Green Living. Web.

Pride and Produce: A Tale of Fair Trade. Web.

Reid, T. 2010. Divine Chocolate is a Social Business Partly Owned by Its Farmers. Web.

Reid, T. 2013. From Fair Trade Cocoa to Ethical Pop-Up Shops. Web.

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BusinessEssay. "Ethical Branding and Fair Trade." November 26, 2022.