Mainstream consumers are increasingly expressing concerns about the ethicality of their consumption choices upon the environment, animals and/or society (De Pelsmacker, Driesen, & Rayp, 2005; Shaw & Shui, 2002). Yet, the reality is that there is a ‘gap’ between ethically-minded consumers’ intentions and the extent to which these are expressed at the cash register (Auger & Devinney, 2007; Szmigin, Carrigan, & McEachern, 2009). A growing body of research attempts to understand ethical purchase decision-making (e.g De Pelsmaker et al., 2005; Vermeir & Verbeke, 2008), but focuses mainly on the formation of ethical purchase intentions. A handful of studies do go beyond ethical consumer intentions to explore the ethical consumption intention-behaviour ‘gap’, but these focus solely on the role of the consumer in the creation of this gap – such as social desirability bias (Auger and Devinney, 2007), rationalisation and neutralisation (Chatzidakis, Hibbert, & Smith, 2007; Szmigin et al., 2009), and cognitive and situational factors (Carrington et al., 2010). A significant dimension of the ethical consumption ‘gap’ that is yet to be explored, however, in the role of firms and their marketing managers in the co-creation of this gap.
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- Reframing The Ethical Consumption ‘Gap’