Packaging is a critical factor in the marketing of a product, as it is in essence the covering that the manufactured goods comes in. the customers go to a store after all the advertising and promotion and select a product based on its casing, the smell and the touch. They have no idea what is inside or what the package really contains. Therefore, all marketers and business enterprises need to ensure that their packages are attractive and get the attention of the customers when it is displayed with other products used for the same purpose. It should draw the customers to your product and induce them to buy it among the other array of products in the shelf. However, the organization needs to have in mind that ethical issue have a vital role in the packaging industry. The package needs to provide information about the product for a consumer to read before they buy the product. The information in the label may include things like the safety of the product, the size, quality, quantity, environmental friendliness and the nutritional value if it is a food product. There are many ethical issues to be considered in the business world and one of them is packaging. Ethics are moral ideologies that act as guidance to decision-making and strategy planning in any legal entity (Tassel & Howfield, 2010).
Ethics are important in providing good practices in any organization and helps maintain a good working relationship between the different stakeholders. Many products have been packaged without consideration of the main packaging issues that come after or before the use of the product packages. It is important for any business concerned with the well-being and success of their business to maintain a high level of business ethics especially in regards to their packaging. The ethical issues that some mostly from business packaging include environmental safety issues of the materials used to package the items, misleading labels on the packages, packaging graphics and packaging safety.
Many manufacturers put labels in their packages that attract customers without considering whether there is any truth in the information provided. The packaging may have information meant to attract the consumers by providing the information they so desire to see. Some of the packages have labels like "fat free", "low-fat", or "organic". The packaging will contain information that appeals to the customers, yet in the real sense the product contains the ingredients not named in the label .this is a misleading act as the consumers will rush to buy the commodities yet they are not what is presented in the label. The other issue that comes from labeling is the use of pictures that do not represent the product packaged. Many producers tend to use pictures that represent a different product. This is mostly seen in the food industry where a food package has the entire yummy look and looks tasty, but when one takes a bite of the so-called yummy and nutritious food, one cannot help but feel cheated by the packaging.
The music industry is also marred by this packaging issue as customers may by a CD only to find that the content differs from what is actually in the CD. Many producers also provide false information on the label considering the quality and the quantity of the product in an effort to attract more customers. There are issues and cases where firms have been taken to court for providing misleading information on their packages. This forces the users to use low quality products that may be harmful to their health without knowing. The issue of environmental safety is one of the important aspects in any business and many businesses try as much as they can to maintain a good picture on their environmental concern. As a result, some resort to using false information on their labels that make their products environmentally friendly while the truth is that the product lacks all the attributes provided by the label. The information on the label also provides direction for use and how regular the consumer should use the product. However, some manufacturers provide the wrong directions on the use of their products. There are cases where manufacturers use the same product and give different time spans for their use. One such case is with the Johnson products where they provided two products with a daily application and a one-month use. However, the two products were the same (Tassel & Howfield, 2010).
The labels in a package also provide a warranty especially when one purchases a product that is expected to be in service for a long time. However, many manufacturers put labels in their products to attract customers especially when they produce a long time warranty. The consumers’ tend to believe in the warranty as a proof of the product quality. The other issue with warranty comes when a consumer goes back to complain about a product. In most cases, the manufacturers will not own up to the warrant provided yet they put it there purposely to attract the buyers.
The graphics used to market a product needs to be a true representation of the product inside the package. The only thing a buyer interacts with when purchasing a product is he packaging, their choice of a product depends on the appearance, and the pictures provided in the packaging. The manufacturers need to ensure that the pay attention to the pictures they provide so that the user does not end up disappointed once they open the package and see what the product is in reality. Some of the facial creams and other beauty products have pictures of people who use the products that attract a customer with same issue (Cross & Miller, 2009). The product need to produce the same effect as that in the package if it is to maintain and attain the ethical standard required in packaging. The issue of ethics in the use of graphics also comes up in cases where small upcoming businesses use the brands of other huge and established businesses to package their products. Other produce brands similar to big brands ad in the process confuse consumers. This unethical practice misleads the users who trust the business enterprise already established in the market. The businesses that produce packages with similar brands normally have poor quality products and when the customs pick their products and use them the lose trust in the other original brand.
Safety is one of the top priorities that consumers look for in the products they purchase. This includes the chemical content in the product, the side effects to those allergic to the product. This can also include the direction to take if one misuses the product especially when the products have chemical contents. Many manufacturers use packages that have misleading information on the safety of the products. This is mostly the case in beauty products where the package has false information on the possible outcomes from the use of the product. The case of facial creams and their results may not be what the consumer expected. The case of safety should be an utmost concern to all manufactures as they package their products. The information on the labels should represent the true of the product. Marketers need to consider the safety of the packaging material and ensure that they use low chemical content material for packaging. The packaging should also have secured packaging that is tamper-proof. This is to ensure that children do not open the package and consume the content.
Environmental concern is one of the upcoming trends in the business world and many people are becoming aware of their roles in ensuring that they conserve the environment. Everyone is trying to play a role in the conservation process. There are also environmental regulations that regulate the production of environmentally unfriendly goods and packaging by manufactures. The issue of environmental safety needs to be addressed by everyone and this has forced some manufactures to provide false information in their packaging about the environmental attributes of their products (Cross & Miller, 2009). Many packaging provides false information on the attributes of the packaging and the products on environmental issues. a good example is the degradable trash bags that is normally labeled as environmental friendly yet it takes years to degrade once disposed. The bags remain intact for many years before it can begin degrading. Other environmental issues that come up with packaging is the amount of material used in packaging .there are many layers of packages used on one product yet it does not add value to the product. All this goes to waste once the consumers unwraps the product and throws the packages into the trash bin. The other issue is in the work that goes into the packaging of the product. Any manufacturing companies pay a lot of attention to the packaging of the products hence invests a lot of time, resources and energy in packaging yet it all goes to waste once the consumer purchases the product. This is against the law of conservation applied in environmental conservation.
It is also the duty of the manufacturers to give correct information on the impacts of their packages and their products on the environment. This includes the pollution effects, the carbon footprint and other environmental issues. This is closely linked to ecological impact concerns of many consumers and other environmental groups. The ecological issues that arise from packaging include the effects of the product on biodiversity, the materials used for its productions and whether it has any negative effect on the natural habitat and the result of its production on the ecological balance.
Safety in use of the product
The issue of safety of a product is one of the major concerns when producing a product. People have many health issue and they ne to be assured of the safety of a product before they purchase it. The packaging provides the critical information a user needs before they can decide to purchase or use a product. However, many manufacturers overlook the health repercussions of the minor details they include or exclude in their products. Some manufacturers will consciously omit some major effects of the products especially for people who have health issues caused by some ingredients used in the production of the product. The consumers are the ones who suffer from such cases as one will unknowingly use the product believing in the information provided in the package. This may include the side effects on the use of their products and the health concerns that may arise from the use of the product.
The packaging of any product needs to provide some important additional information about the production and the use of the product. Some of the things that can be added to the package to provide the user with more knowledge on the product may be the wages given to the workers and the producers of the products. The other additional information can be on the working conditions of the producers. This is mostly the case with food products. The consumers have a right to know the working and living conditions of the producers of the products. This is mostly the case when the products are produced in the farms and middle men are used to bridge the gap between the producers and the consumers (Blanchfield, 2011).
The information on a package should be clear on the age and the people suitable to use it. There are products that do not clarify the contents used in its production. A good example is the beef content in some food products. Vegetarians are very specific about the presence of any animal product in the products they consume. It is therefore, ethical for any manufacturer to provide information on the content of the product and provide a wring on any animal content in the product. This way a vegetarian will know which product to use and what to avoid. This is closely associated with the welfare of those animals used to produce the products. This is a major concern to animal welfare groups who advocate for animal rights.
The issue of ethics is an important part of any business and any organization needs to uphold their ethical standards. The line between what is ethical and what serves as unethical practice is vague. The decisions made in an organization needs to be guided by ethical principles. The use of ethical principles and values comes in handy when one is faced with a dilemma or has to provide justifications for their actions. It is therefore important to make ethical practices a part of our daily practices. This is most applicable in the world of business where the desire to make profit and please their customers. The businesses need to evaluate the impacts of their actions and choose the right course of action that serves to benefit both the consumers and the organization. The case of ethical issues in packaging is on the rise as it is becoming clear that manufacturers are using wrong packaging to attract customers. It is important for any organization to ensure they uphold fairness and moral rights in their marketing and packaging practices. Some of the issues they have to deal with include the labels used in their products. The label needs to be a correct and true representation of the product. The information provided in form of labels need to give the buyer facts about the product, (Horton 2008).
The other issue to be addressed is the safety of the product in question. Many consumers use packaging to conceal the true contents and the harm contained in their products. It is ethical to come out clearly on the safety standards when one uses your products. The issue of environmental safety of the product and the packaging material is another concern when it comes to ethical issues in packaging. There are many environmental regulations set up to control the use of products that are not environmental friendly. It is important to uphold ethical issues when packaging products because the package of a product is the first thing a consumer interacts with when they go to buy a product. The package needs to be a true representation on the product and present the user with correct information about the product. Everyone needs to take a keen look at the ethical practices of any product they consume and demand good ethical practices by ensuring that the products they buy are what they want. This includes the content used, the safety it provides to the children and the environment.
Blanchfield, D. S. (2011). Environmental encyclopedia (4th ed.). Detroit, Mich.: Gale.
Cross, F. B., & Miller, R. L. (2009). The legal environment of business: text and cases : ethical, regulatory, global, and e-commerce issues (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Horton, N. (2008). Next generation soft drinks innovation in natural, functional and premium beverages / by Natasha Horton.. London, U.K.: Business Insights Ltd..
Tassel, J. M., & Howfield, L. (2010). Managing electronic media making, marketing, and moving digital content. Burlington, MA: Focal Press/Elsevier.