This paper discusses whether companies’ over-riding profit orientation can ever promote social outcomes; Important questions exist over whether, where and how individual and corporate responsibility should intersect; these questions require explicit consideration of how best to balance the potentially competing interests of consumers and corporations.
The concepts of “market justice” and “social justice” provide a framework for addressing these questions. Using the rising popularity of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), as an example the paper explores the role tobacco companies have in promoting ENDS uptake and the risks that could eventuate from their involvement.
Before market and social justice can intersect and consumers can assert responsibility for their actions, corporations need to delist products that harm health and demonstrate the compatibility between their marketing strategies and public health goals. Only then will their introduction of more healthful (or less harmful) alternatives appear credible and support claims that marketing and social justice can intersect.
Debate over the role corporations could play in promoting public health is very timely, and this paper contributes to a larger conversation in critical social marketing.
Hoek, J. (2017), "Is there an intersection between “market justice” and “social justice”? An analysis of ENDS marketing", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 241-249. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-04-2017-0023
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