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This paper aims to achieve a better understanding of the social dimension underlying green purchasing behavior by assessing the impact of environmental concern ascribed to…
This paper aims to achieve a better understanding of the social dimension underlying green purchasing behavior by assessing the impact of environmental concern ascribed to relevant others.
A survey was conducted among 468 French interviewees. Using a scenario, respondents were asked to choose between two similar products: one is very fashionable but harmful to the environment and the other has comparable features with a lower negative impact on the environment. In parallel, respondents had to cite four relevant others and to make several attributions about them. Environmental concern was one of these attributions.
Ascribed environmental concern increases the probability to choose the product with a low environmental impact over the more harmful alternative. This process is mediated by perceived social risk and self-incongruity associated with the environmentally unfriendly product.
Conclusions are drawn on the basis of a specific choice for a particular product category.
Environmentally responsible consumers should be encouraged to express their convictions publicly within their social network.
Consumers are more inclined to adopt an environmental reading of what they plan to buy when they ascribe environmental preoccupations to their referent others either to preserve their social ties or to preserve their self-congruity. This proximity effect should be exploited to promote pro-environmental behaviors.
Most studies on the determinants of green behavior either focus exclusively on individual predispositions or tackle social influence too explicitly. By assessing the effect of ascribed environmental concern instead on individual environmental concern, this research offers an original approach.
To encourage sustainable consumer practices, public policy makers introduce new ecological measures, including mandatory programmes that require companies to provide…
To encourage sustainable consumer practices, public policy makers introduce new ecological measures, including mandatory programmes that require companies to provide environmental information about their products, even if the information is not flattering. Few academic studies consider the potential impacts of such mandatory eco-labels on consumer behaviour; the purpose of this paper is to seek to identify conditions in which a generalized eco-label in stores might modify consumers’ purchase choices.
Two quasi-experimental studies (n=333, 126) manipulate environmental information with a simple, traffic light – shaped eco-label. The measures focus on respondents’ choice or purchasing intentions, perceptions of the environmental harmfulness of each product, and individual characteristics (i.e. environmental concern, price sensitivity, familiarity with environmental information about the product category).
The presence of an eco-label influences consumers’ beliefs about products’ environmental harm and thus choice. The effect of perceived harmfulness on choice is moderated by environmental concern and price sensitivity, though combined effects arise for only one of the two product categories tested (dish soap, not yoghurt). With a third product category (paper towels), Study 2 confirms the influence of familiarity with environmental information.
Familiarity with environmental information accounts for some differences across product categories, but other factors also come into play. These results must be interpreted carefully due to the use of a fictive eco-label.
This paper examines the potential effects of a generalized, mandatory programme. It also addresses the lack of consistent label effectiveness across product categories, with a possible explanation based on perceived familiarity with environmental information.