A selection of interesting articles we found recently on green consumers.
Green leather for ethical consumers in China and Korea: Facilitating ethical consumption with value–belief–attitude logic
Using an innovative fabrication technique, eco-friendly faux leather (EFFL) has been newly developed as a green leather alternative for the Chinese and Korean markets. Value–belief–attitude logic drawn from the heuristic-systemic model (Zuckmand and Chaiken in Psychol Mark 15(7):621–642, 1998) and value–belief–norm theory (Stern et al. in Environ Behav 27(6):723–743, 1995) is proposed to explicate the consumer acceptance attitudes toward the EFFL product. The findings from the multi-group structural equation modeling analysis of online data (n = 600) support the relevancy of VBA logic in which utilitarian and hedonic value motivate pro-environmental belief, and the EFFL product attributes significantly mediate belief and positive attitude toward the EFFL product.
The discrepancies across two countries and two age cohorts are noteworthy when pro-environmental belief and product-related information lead to different consumer VBA processes in specific market segments. This study presents insights which provide novel opportunities for managerial implementations and theoretical advancements in eco-friendly related subjects and issues.
Read more at: Hye Jung Jung, HaeJung Kim & Kyung Wha Oh. 2016. Green Leather for Ethical Consumers in China and Korea: Facilitating Ethical Consumption with Value–Belief–Attitude Logic.
Journal of Business Ethics, 135(3),483-502.
Who buys overpackaged grocery products and why? Understanding consumers’ reactions to overpackaging in the food sector
While most studies dealing with waste reduction at the consumer level focus on recycling, this paper rather concentrates on precycling strategies and purchasing behaviors in order to understand how to promote waste reduction at the source. More specifically, the purpose of this work is to grasp consumers’ perceptions of overpackaging and understand the mechanisms underlying their choice of overpackaged versus non-overpackaged food products. Based on the different themes that emerged from a qualitative study (study 1, n = 11), a quantitative research was conducted among French interviewees (study 2, n = 327) in order to identify relevant groups of consumers.
Five profiles emerged from the cluster analysis: the supporters, the self-sacrificing, the detractors, the indifferent, and the self-centered. Finally, an experiment was conducted (study 3, n = 808) that highlights the influence of range positioning and salience of non-overpackaging on consumer choice. Implications for public policy makers and companies are discussed.
For more detail: Leila Elgaaïed-Gambier. 2016. Who Buys Overpackaged Grocery Products and Why? Understanding Consumers’ Reactions to Overpackaging in the Food Sector.
Journal of Business Ethics, 135(4), 683-698.
Are ethical consumers happy? Effects of ethical consumers’ motivations based on empathy versus self-orientation on their happiness
Studies on fair-trade consumption have concentrated on economic, demographic, and ethical issues, and research on consumers’ moral emotions and self-orientation is limited. Although consumers’ satisfaction with their consumption has been emphasized in consumer studies and marketing, little substantive empirical research has addressed ethical consumers’ emotional satisfaction and the link between their motivations and happiness. This study focused on ethical consumers who regularly purchase fair-trade coffee to understand their moral emotions and self-orientation as motivations for fair-trade consumption and determine whether empathy and self-oriented motivations led to their happiness.
A survey was conducted on 471 regular purchasers of at least one cup of fair-trade coffee weekly or a pack of fair-trade coffee beans monthly. The survey data were analyzed using partial least squares. The results showed that guilt was positively associated with empathy, which positively influenced self-actualization. Contrary to the proposed hypothesis, empathy did not elicit consumers’ happiness. As expected, narcissism affected self-actualization, which in turn elicited happiness. Happiness was positively associated with customers’ repurchase intentions for fair-trade coffee.
The results of this study demonstrate the strong associations of the paths from narcissism to self-actualization, self-actualization to happiness, and self-actualization to repurchase intentions compared to the paths from guilt to empathy, empathy to happiness, and empathy to repurchase intentions. Contrary to common expectations, the results indicate that self-oriented motivations focused on self-actualization rather than moral emotions (guilt and empathy) play key roles in ethical consumers’ happiness with fair-trade consumption.
Read more at: Kumju Hwang & Hyewon Kim. 2016. Are ethical consumers happy? Effects of ethical consumers’ motivations based on empathy versus self-orientation on their happiness.
Journal of Business Ethics, 1-20. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-016-3236-1.
Towards a framework for understanding fairtrade purchase intention in the mainstream environment of supermarkets
Despite growing interest in ethical consumer behaviour research, ambiguity remains regarding what motivates consumers to purchase ethical products. While researchers largely attribute the growth of ethical consumerism to an increase in ethical consumer concerns and motivations, widened distribution (mainstreaming) of ethical products, such as fairtrade, questions these assumptions.
A model that integrates both individual and societal values into the theory of planned behaviour is presented and empirically tested to challenge the assumption that ethical consumption is driven by ethical considerations alone. Using data sourced from fairtrade shoppers across the UK, structural equation modelling suggests that fairtrade purchase intention is driven by both societal and self-interest values. This dual value pathway helps address conceptual limitations inherent in the underlying assumptions of existing ethical purchasing behaviour models and helps advance understanding of consumers’ motivation to purchase ethical products.
Find the full paper at: Fred Amofa Yamoah, Rachel Duffy, Dan Petrovici & Andrew Fearne. 2016. Towards a framework for understanding fairtrade purchase intention in the mainstream environment of supermarkets.
Journal of Business Ethics, 136(1), 181-197.
Who says there is an intention–behaviour gap?
The theories of reasoned action and planned behaviour (TRA/TPB) have fundamentally changed the view that attitudes directly translate into behaviour by introducing intentions as a crucial intervening stage. Much research across numerous ethical contexts has drawn on these theories to offer a better understanding of how consumers form intentions to act in an ethical way.
Persistently, researchers have suggested and discussed the existence of an intention–behaviour gap in ethical consumption. Yet, the factors that influence the extent of this gap and its magnitude have not been systematically examined. Louise Hassan and her team, therefore, contribute to the debate on the intention–behaviour gap by reviewing the empirical TRA/TPB studies that have assessed both intention and behaviour in ethical contexts. The findings from this review show that few studies assessed the intention–behaviour relationship and as a result, there is limited empirical evidence to date to quantify more accurately the intention–behaviour gap in ethical consumption.
A second contribution aims to provide an empirical case study which assesses the magnitude of the intention–behaviour gap in the context of avoidance of sweatshop clothing and to assess the roles of planning and actual behavioural control in potentially reducing the intention–behaviour gap. The findings of this case study suggest that there is indeed a large gap between intention and behaviour, and the authors conclude by calling for more empirical longitudinal studies to assess the complex nature of the relationship between intention and behaviour.
For more see: Louise M. Hassan, Edward Shiu & Deirdre Shaw. 2016. Who says there is an intention–behaviour gap? Assessing the empirical evidence of an intention–behaviour gap in ethical consumption.
Journal of Business Ethics, 136 (2), 219-236.
Care and commitment in ethical consumption: an exploration of the ‘attitude–behaviour gap’
In this paper, the authors argue that greater attention must be given to peoples’ expression of “care” in relation to consumption. They suggest that “caring about” does not necessarily lead to “care-giving,” as conceptualising an attitude–behaviour gap might imply, but that a closer examination of the intensity, morality, and articulation of care can lead to a greater understanding of consumer narratives and, thus, behaviour.
To examine this proposition, a purposive sample of self-identified ethical consumers was interviewed. Care is expressed by the study’s participants in a variety of ways and linked to behaviour through diverse patterns that includes consumption and abstention. The researchers find significant correspondence between the academic literature on the ‘ethics of care’ and our participants’ articulation of their ethical consumption behaviours. They suggest, therefore, that a close understanding of an ethics of care among consumers is important both in providing insight into the attitude–behaviour gap challenge evident in the literature and to the continued development of an ethical consumption discourse.
Further details are at: Deirdre Shaw, Robert McMaster & Terry Newholm. 2016. Care and commitment in ethical consumption: an exploration of the ‘attitude–behaviour gap’.
Journal of Business Ethics, 136(2), 251-265.
When do consumers choose green hotels?
Previous research on consumers’ willingness to choose a green hotel has yielded mixed results, with some studies indicating a positive relationship with the hotel’s CSR initiatives, while others suggesting that there is no booking advantage for hotels going green. The present research seeks to understand the social nature of green hotel booking decisions and proposes a conceptual framework elucidating three primary factors that underlie consumers’ propensity to choose a green hotel.
The study findings indicate that, importantly, a consumer’s social relationship situation (social inclusion vs. social exclusion) with other consumers, self-affirmation (self-value/self-concept reinforcement), and the option popularity jointly influence consumers’ willingness to choose a green hotel. The authors adopt a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial experimental design to test the proposed hypotheses. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
See more at: Yixing Lisa Gao & Anna S. Mattila. 2016. The Impact of Option Popularity, Social Inclusion/Exclusion, and Self-affirmation on Consumers’ Propensity to Choose Green Hotels.
Journal of Business Ethics, 136(3), 575-585.