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Increased Material Consumption Will Have Long Term Deleterious Effects

3126 words - 13 pages

Marketers may promote materialistic values as positive in the short term, but this increased material consumption will have long-term deleterious effects. Do you believe that the responsibility for addressing this issue lies with organisations or consumers?

There are many examples of marketer’s promoting material values as positive in the short term which have led or will lead to long term deleterious effects. This essay will argue that the responsibility for addressing the potential deleterious effects of irresponsible marketing lies with consumers although in the examples examined, the point is made that consumers need to be acting on information that will have been provided to them by ...view middle of the document...

As the primary recipients of the marketers focus clearly the ability to influence and thus the responsibility for avoiding deleterious consumption rests with them.
The following examples will clearly illustrate that an informed consumer whether part of a group or simply becoming informed by a group are the most successful in changing the long term deleterious effects of increased consumption.
Putting material consumption into the context of a deleterious effect.
Schandl and Wiedmann (2013) state that Australia is considered to be amongst the most visible examples of increased material consumption in the world. This is due in large to the population’s “resource intensive lifestyle of large houses with poor energy efficiency, large travel distances, significant amounts of food waste and their diet being heavy in meat and dairy products.”
Materialism has been growing rapidly and is estimated that today’s X and Y generation consume twice as many goods and services as the Baby Boomers generation before them (Twitchell 1999). The reason this has changed so dramatically is that today’s consumers are increasingly shopping for wants rather than needs. Clive Hamilton, part of a Roy Morgan Research conducted a study which found that whilst young Australians "express concern about the environment they live materialistic lives that result in high levels of waste" (Smh 2005).
Both the production of these goods and the eventual disposal have a well-documented impact on the environment. Therefore it can easily be argued that a continued growth in material consumption will have a deleterious effect on our environment. Whilst this may be stating the obvious given the recognition of the issue amongst experts and the media the fact that a large part of the issue is in fact driven by material consumption is often underplayed if not overlooked altogether.
Does this view suggest that consumers are solely responsible or that the organisations should make an effort to combat this materialistic lifestyle?
In order to see the effects that consumers groups have had on organisations it is best to showcase some of the most pressing examples of consumer group power in action. When consumers have a just cause they apply pressure through lobbying, Public Relations and Advertisements to force organisations into change. Example one, having agitated for many years on the issue of depleting fish populations and the risks of species extermination through over-fishing, Greenpeace Australia have successfully worked to have every supplier of Tuna in Australia registered either as a company who conducts responsible fishing practices or one that does not. Greenpeace activist Nathaniel Pelle states "The best thing Aussie consumers can do is use our canned tuna guide, find a brand that labels its cans correctly, and choose a product that has already switched to using skipjack tuna caught by 'pole and line' or FAD-free fishing methods" (Greenpeace 2015).
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