What are the problems that hinder ethical products from entering your country's mainstream consumer market? How can such problems be resolved?
Until recently, there has not been any heavy emphasis on the importance of ethical products in Singapore. It is because of the critical situation of our global warming and pollution that the government and related organization have to act right now. A recycling campaign has been set up and more ethical products are being brought into the market. But Rome wasn't built in 1 day; likewise, ethical problems could not be resolved that easily. Right now, ethical products could not enter mainstream consumer market because of the high cost price and the lack of awareness in most Singaporeans.
In Singapore, ethical products are much more expensive due to the low demand for them. When demand is low, the supply will be low too. Thus,distributors in Singapore are bringing in small amounts of ethical products at rather high prices.Many Singaporeans will not choose ethical products due to a limited budget, and the availability of other options further determined to turn away from the ethical goods. In the article written by Tan (2007), she claimed that many Singaporeans regard organic foods as too pricey and distributors are not bringing in quantities because the "critical mass" is not reached. Thus, the 'green' market in Singapore will not do well.To solve this problem, the Singapore government should help to reduce the tax on these import goods or even help to subsidise some part of the cost. This would greatly reduce the price of the ethical products. Singaporeans might consider changing their taste if the price is comparable. When the demand increases, the supply will follow and this leads to reduction in price due to the more evenly shared import cost. Supermarkets could do their parts by supplying more ethical varieties and restricting on non-ethical products. These solutions could help ethical products move towards mainstream consumer market.
As the emphasis of ethical products just came about recently, the awareness of the importance of using such products is still very low.Many Singaporeans, especially the elderly, do not understand why they should spend more on ethical products when they could get the same for a much lower price. According to Tan (2007), "of the over 5000 Honda Civic cars that agent Kah Motors sold last year, only 158 were hybrid - litre model." It is understood that the 1.3 litre hybrid model costs the same as a 1.8 litre non-hybrid model. In this case, most Singaporeans could not see the reason to spend so much for a smaller capacity car. The on going "Bring Your Own Shopping Bag On Wednesday" campaign organised by the supermarket giants is receiving negative responses from the public. The shoppers are unhappy that they have to pay extra money if they want a plastic bag. It is rather clear that most Singaporeans do not know what is going on with our earth and what is the purpose behind all the campaigns. To resolve this issue, proper education have to be provided to the public. Schools can educate young children on environment awareness right from their young ages. Then, we can ensure that our next generation will be more willingly to choose ethical products. For masses not in school, the government can reach out to them through the media or more campaigns on environmental awareness. When the mindset of the Singaporeans changes, the ethical products will move into mainstream more easily.
To solve the current environmental issues, ethical products have to be more readily accepted by the everyone. The government, schools , media and supermarket giants all have a role to play but what matters most is the individual. If everyone takes this ethical problem more seriously and put in a little more effort, the ethical products will very soon replace all harmful products in the market.