4 E’s Framework for Sustainable and Ethical Marketing

Professor Hasan developed the 4Es Framework, which he introduced in a published article co-authored with YU Z. The framework is outlined in their article “Capitalism leading to unhealthy food consumption” in the journal Strategic Change, 2020; volume 29. This framework serves as a holistic guide for businesses aiming to align with ethical and sustainable practices, addressing four key areas: Product, Pricing, Placing, and Promotion. Below, I’ll describe each component of the 4Es Framework, provide an example, and explain how these elements influence the perceived value and buying intentions of ethically-minded consumers.

4E’s Framework of Ethical and Sustainable Marketing

Please also read related case study to understand the framework.

1. Ethical Product

Description: An Ethical Product is designed and developed with consideration for its environmental and social impacts. This includes the use of sustainable materials, ensuring fair labor practices, and minimizing the carbon footprint throughout the product lifecycle.

Example: A clothing retailer that utilizes organic cotton, employs non-toxic dyes, and ensures that all garments are produced in factories with fair wages and safe working conditions.

Influence on Perceived Value: For consumers who prioritize ethics and sustainability, these products are seen as higher quality because they align with their environmental and moral values. This alignment enhances their satisfaction with the product, thereby increasing its perceived value.

2. Ethical Pricing

Description: Ethical Pricing involves setting prices that are fair for both consumers and sustainable for the community and environment. It steers clear of price gouging and promotes transparency, helping consumers understand why products may cost more due to ethical considerations.

Example: A coffee brand that charges more than conventional options but explains to customers that the premium goes towards fair-trade premiums that support the livelihoods and community development of coffee farmers.

Influence on Perceived Value: Transparent pricing builds trust with consumers. When they understand and support the reasoning behind the pricing, they are more likely to see the product as worth the premium, which enhances their valuation of the brand.

3. Ethical Placing

Description: Ethical Placing focuses on distributing products in a way that minimizes environmental impacts and supports equitable access. This includes choosing eco-friendly transportation options and selecting retail locations that reflect the brand’s ethical commitments.

Example: A company opts to sell its products exclusively in locally-owned stores rather than large chains, thus supporting local economies and reducing transportation emissions.

Influence on Perceived Value: By distributing products in a manner that minimizes environmental impact and supports community businesses, companies strengthen their reputation. This responsible behavior is highly valued by ethical consumers, further elevating the brand’s perceived value.

4. Ethical Promotion

Description: Ethical Promotion entails advertising products in a way that truthfully represents the benefits and challenges of sustainable practices. It avoids greenwashing and genuinely promotes the positive impact of the products.

Example: A beauty brand that uses marketing campaigns to accurately depict the effectiveness of their all-natural products and educates consumers on the environmental benefits of avoiding synthetic chemicals.

Influence on Perceived Value: Honest and educational marketing makes consumers feel informed and confident in their purchasing decisions. This transparency fosters trust and loyalty, which are crucial components of perceived value among consumers interested in sustainability.

Influence on Consumer Intention

Link Between Perceived Value and Consumer Intention: The perceived value influenced by the 4Es Framework significantly impacts consumer intentions. When consumers recognize the ethical efforts of a brand, they are more likely to purchase from, recommend, and remain loyal to the brand. This perception of added value—beyond just the functional attributes of the product—encourages a deeper emotional connection to the brand, motivating buying decisions that align with personal values regarding ethics and sustainability.

Professor Hasan’s 4Es Framework provides a comprehensive strategy for businesses to engage the growing market of ethically-conscious consumers and contribute positively to global sustainability efforts, establishing a strong, values-based relationship with their customers.

To understand 4E’s Framework, Please watch the following Youtube Video.


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