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Critical Analysis

In: Business and Management

Submitted By moeen
Words 291
Pages 2
Cleaning up down South: supermarkets, ethical trade and African horticulture is a piece by Susanne Freidberg published in Social and Cultural Geography journal in 2003 (Freidberg, 2003). Susanne Friedberg holds PhD from UC Berkely and is a Professor of Geography in Darmouth College, New Hampshire (“Susanne Freidberg,” n.d.). In the article the author argues that the ethical standards have become fetishised. The UK supermarkets compliance with such standards edges on paranoia. It does not mean that the supermarkets care about these standards from moral point of view but that the compliance is driven by fear of bad press and brand reputation loss as well as consumer marketing opportunities. The piece concentrates on what effect this has on the supply chain in Africa with particular focus on Zambia.
The author outlines how appearing transparent and offering full disclosure has translated itself into what supermarket stores look like and into the vegetable packaging. Ethical standards have become a tool for supermarkets to stave off bad publicity, another way to market products to consumers and to distinguish themselves from competitors. Mistrust in government has given supermarkets “the opportunity to portray themselves as the new and more effective gatekeepers of the food supply” (Marsden and Wrigley 1996; Marsden, Flynn and Harrison 2000 cited in Freidberg, 2003, p. 32). But more power also comes with more responsibility. The power supermarkets wield combined with the ethical standards, such as ETI or EUREP-GAP, provides a convenient and more structured way to control the supply chain. However, such codes do not concern themselves with who pays for the compliance and supermarkets are unwilling to do so. In addition, even those consumers who care about ethical standards do not necessarily want to pay more for the products.

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