International Sustainable Marketing Strategy - A multiple case study of Swedish multinational companies within the apparel industry

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: The growing awareness from both consumers and companies of unsustainable operations in many industries has led marketers to incorporate sustainability into their marketing practices. Unsustainable operations can especially be seen in the apparel industry, which is ranked as the second most unsustainable industry in the world. There is a lack of previous research in terms of how companies within this industry use sustainable marketing, as well as how they do this internationally. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to bridge the gap between international marketing strategies and sustainable marketing strategies in the context of the apparel industry, by conducting a multiple case study of seven Swedish multinational companies within the industry. To find respondents of each chosen company a snowball method was used and the empirical data was gathered through semi-structured interviews, as well as secondary sources such as reports from the companies. By the use of our own developed conceptual framework, which is based on linking existing frameworks and theories within the two fields sustainable marketing and international marketing, the gathered data was analyzed. The study concludes that sustainable marketing can be integrated in the international marketing strategy of apparel companies in various ways. It can be done either by standardizing or adapting the sustainable marketing mix of a company. Which type of strategy is most suitable can depend on different external factors such as regulations and demand from customers, as well as internal factors such as the companies’ commitment and integration of sustainability in their organisation.

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