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Why environmentally conscious consumers do not purchase green products: A cognitive mapping approach

Camilla Barbarossa (Department of Human Studies, LUMSA University, Rome, Italy)
Alberto Pastore (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 13 April 2015




This paper aims to address the green purchasing gap by: exploring environmentally conscious consumers’ mental representation of the barriers responsible for the green purchasing gap; assessing which barriers are perceived as the most relevant in hampering the purchase of green products for environmentally conscious consumers; and investigating the relationships among these barriers. Although consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental deterioration, the current market share of green products remains fairly low.


An introspective qualitative study is conducted; 51 environmentally conscious consumers showing a green purchasing gap are interviewed, and the data are analysed with a cognitive mapping technique (Decision Explorer software) and Freeman’ structural indices (UCINET software).


Higher price and scarce availability of green products are the main barriers to green purchasing. However, consumers’ perceptions of price and availability may vary by changing other barriers (e.g. green products displacement inside the store and in-store communication).


This work reconstructs the decisional premises of environmentally conscious consumers’ choices to not purchase green products, identifies the most relevant barriers to green purchasing behaviour and the relationships between these barriers. With this knowledge, marketers of green products can focus on the most important barriers so that interventions in these barriers may change environmentally conscious consumers’ perceptions of other related barriers.



The authors are extremely grateful for the constructive comments of the two anonymous reviewers and the sage guidance of the editor. Andrew Lindridge served as editor for this article.


Barbarossa, C. and Pastore, A. (2015), "Why environmentally conscious consumers do not purchase green products: A cognitive mapping approach", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 188-209.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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