The Relation Between Rema 1000 CSR and the Ethical Consumer

Amanda Hasselsteen Nielsen & Christa Kabel

Student thesis: Master thesis


The dissertation focuses on the possibilities and challenges organizations face in the encounter with a new consumer group – the ethical consumer. It is a consumer group, who have new characteristics and expect something different from organizations. They don’t simply buy their product because of functionality; they also have several ethical considerations associated with their purchase. This consumer group’s increasing focus on ethics, environment and sustainability force organizations to adapt to them in a new way. Companies must work with their CSR profile so that it appeals to the ethical consumer, if they wish to achieve recognition from this group. The case organization for the dissertation is Rema 1000 because the grocery industry is close to its consumers and reaches straight into civil society. It is one of those industries where consumers are daily faced with choices. The fulcrum of the dissertation is thus to examine the relation between the ethical consumer, CSR as a phenomenon and Rema 1000 as a brand. We examine how Rema 1000’s strategic space for action is affected by the factors in its vicinity and by CSR as an institution. CSR has a central role in the dissertation, and we examine how the phenomenon is articulated in the media, and which opportunities and limitations are associated with this. In the specific relation between the ethical consumer and Rema 1000, we analyze Rema 1000’s image, and some of the causes for it. Our results show, that the image of Rema 1000 is good and correlates with many of the values and characteristics associated with the ethical consumer. However, the knowledge of Rema 1000’s specific CSR actions is low, which might indicate that Rema 1000 doesn’t communicate their CSR actions well, or that their actions drown in the sea of others in the industry. Therefore, we examine how Rema 1000 can work with their strategic communication around CSR in such a way that can promote their position and help sustain their good brand and image. Finally, we zoom in on the ethical consumer as a consumer group and discuss to which degree the ethical consumer is as ethical as they claim, and as our construction of them as a group indicate. Our dissertation indicates the importance of these organizations adapting their strategic communication to the ethical consumer to obtain recognition and loyalty from the consumer group. Thus, it is important for Rema 1000 to target its understanding of CSR, and to focus its strategic communication in a way that will focus on and articulate the specific values that correlates with the values and opinions of the ethical consumer. This can be challenged by the nuances you find within the ethical consumer as a consumer group and other factors in consumer choices, and Rema 1000 has to keep this in mind

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages167
SupervisorsDorte Madsen