A survey of 367 residents in Fairfax County, Virginia found that

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A survey of 367 residents in Fairfax County, Virginia found that

Barrier/Motivation Inventory #3

    Why Consumers Buy Green; Why They Don’t

    A Barrier/Motivation Inventory: The Basis of Community-Based Social Marketing

Introduction Motivations

     Understanding what motivates The factors below are positively linked consumers to make environmentally to consumers’ willingness to buy green.

    conscious purchases (i.e. to “buy green”) Perceived Consumer Effectiveness and what discourages them from doing An environmental opinion poll of the so is the first step in promoting green Canadian population and a phone buying. Social science research makes survey of 387 metropolitan Atlanta an important contribution to this residents both resulted in the same understanding. In order to identify the conclusion: the more that people believe barriers and motivations that are related that the efforts of an individual can make to people’s willingness to buy green, a difference in the solution to social scientists ask consumers environmental problems, the greater 1questions about a variety of factors that their likelihood of buying green.

    might influence their buying behavior. Perceived Knowledge

    They then use statistical methods to Perceived knowledge appears to determine which of these factors are contribute to perceived consumer 2linked to people’s willingness to buy effectiveness. Not surprisingly then, products that are better for the the greater people perceive their environment. knowledge to be about buying recycled

     If you follow the news, you know that content and source reduced products, 3scientific studies are not always in the more likely they are to do so.

    agreement. Is margarine good for you or Environmental Concern

    bad for you? High fiber foods lower your Predictably, people’s level of

    environmental concern is linked to their cholesterol. Then again, maybe they

    don’t. Estrogen supplements have interest in and willingness to purchase 4valuable benefits. But, the dangers green products. Furthermore, a survey might outweigh the benefits. The sorting, of 201 households in western Los sifting and weighing of sometimes Angeles found that respondents’ specific contradictory, sometimes confirming attitudes towards environmental evidence is part of the process by which consumerism predicted their likelihood scientists arrive at recommendations of (a) buying products because of their regarding health issues. environmental claims, (b) considering

     Similarly, in identifying the factors that safety to the environment more strongly influence green buying, it is important to when making a purchase, and (c)

    switching products for environmental look at patterns that emerge across

    numerous studies, rather than relying on reasons or purchasing brands packaged 5the results from a single study. Here are in recyclable or reusable containers.

    some patterns that emerge from social Respondents’ attitudes towards science research on green buying. environmental consumerism were

     Much of the research summarized measured by the strength of their here has a particular focus on products agreement with statements such as: with recycled content or less (i.e. source “We have a responsibility to avoid reduced) packaging. purchasing or using products that are

     known to be damaging to the

     environment” and “I believe that being

    1 November 25, 2002

    Barrier/Motivation Inventory #3 environmentally conscious when buying knowledge of phrases, logos and does not directly benefit the symbols used on packaging and in 6 environment.” advertisements to convey information

     about the environmental impact of the

    products or packaging. Accurate Barriers

    knowledge was relatively low among a The factors below have been

    group of environmentally concerned identified as barriers to buying green. 14 individuals. Perceptions of Inferior Product

     Price Sensitivity Quality

     Marketers have found that even when Some consumers believe that

    consumers profess strong support for because recycled products are

    environmental protection, they are still manufactured with used materials, they 7extremely price sensitive when it comes might be of lower quality. In fact, 15to buying green. Indeed, a perception “…proprietary research conducted by

    among King County, Washington Rubbermaid, a manufacturer of recycled

    residents that recycled-content products products, concludes that purchase

    are more expensive was a barrier for behavior is at least partially determined 168them in purchasing these products. by beliefs about product quality.”

     Furthermore, when product performance

    Resources is an issue, other factors, such as a pro-environmental label, have a diminished Tools for overcoming the barriers and

    impact on people’s inclination to buy strengthening the motivations for green 9green. buying can be found at Skepticism about “Green”

    Click on “Behavior Change Tools.” Marketing Claims

    Questions about this inventory can be A variety of polls and surveys indicate

    directed to Brooke Nash of the that Americans distrust advertising and

    Massachusetts Department of labeling clams pertaining to the 10Environmental Protection, Municipal environment. In an Advertising Age

    Recycling Branch, at 617-292-5984. poll, more than half of the respondents

     indicated that they paid less attention to

     environmental advertising claims

    End Notes because of overkill, and most 1 Berger, I.E. & Corbin, R.M. (1992) p87; respondents reported that

    Ellen, P.S., et. al. (1991) p109. environmental claims were not 211 Ellen, P.S. et. al, (1991) p111. particularly believable. 3 Ellen, P.S. (1994) p48. Difficulty In Identifying Green 4 Mainieri, T., et. al. (1997) p201; Schwepker, Products C.H. & Cornwell, T.B. (1991) p95; Biswas, In Giessen, Germany, a survey of 120 A., et. al. (2000) p4. 5adult shoppers led to the conclusion that Mainieri, T., et. al. (1997) p200. 6people were more likely to follow Mainieri, T., et. al. (1997) p196. 7through on their intention to purchase an Biswas, A., et. al. (2000) p4; McKenzie-environmentally preferable product Mohr, D. (2000) p535. 8 Biswas, A., et. al. (2000) p4. when the environmentally relevant 912 Shrum, et. al, (1995) p9. aspect of the product was more visible. 10 Ellen, P.S. et. al, (1991) p111; Shrum, et. Residents of King County, Washington al., (1995) p1; McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000) indicated that the inherent difficulty of p535. locating products with recycled content 11 Shrum, et. al., (1995) p1. 1312was a barrier to purchasing them. Hormuth, S. E. (1999) p281. 13Furthermore, a study conducted in McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000) p535. Atlanta, GA assessed people’s

    2 November 25, 2002

Barrier/Motivation Inventory #3

     14for Advertising Strategy. Journal of Ellen, P.S. (1994) p45 & 50. 15Advertising, 24(2), 71-90. Mainieri, T. et. al., (1997) p193. 16 McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000) p535.

     References Berger, I. E. & Corbin, R.M. (1992). Perceived Consumer Effectiveness and Faith in Others as Moderators of

     Environmentally Responsible Behaviors. Journal of Public Policy and Advertising,

    11(2), 79-89.

    Biswas, A., Licata, J.W., McKee, D., Pullig, C., & Daughtridge, C. (2000). The Recycling Cycle: An Empirical Examination of Consumer Waste Recycling and Recycling Shopping Behaviors. Advertising and Environmental Issues, 19(1), p93-115. Ellen, P. S. (1994). Do We Know What We

     Need to Know? Objective and Subjective Knowledge Effects on Pro-Ecological

    Behaviors. Journal of Business

    Research, 30, 43-52. Ellen, P.S., Wiener, J.L., & Cobb-Walgren, C. (1991). The Role of Perceived Consumer Effectiveness in Motivating Environmentally Conscious Behaviors. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 10(2), 102-117. Hormuth, S. E. (1999). Social Meaning and

     Social Context of Environmentally

     Relevant Behaviour: Shopping,

    Wrapping and Disposing. Journal of

    Environmental Psychology, 19, 277-286. Mainieri, T., Barnett, E. G., Valdero, T. R., Unipan, J. B., & Oskamp, S. (1997). Green Buying: The Influence of Environmental Concern on Consumer Behavior. Journal of Social Psychology, 137(2), 189-204. McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000). Fostering

     Sustainable Behavior Through

     Community-Based Social Marketing. American Psychologist, 55(5), 531-537.

    Schwepker, C. H., & Cornwell, T. B. (1991). This project is funded by a grant from the An Examination of Ecologically Massachusetts Department of Concerned Consumers and Their Environmental Protection. Intention to Purchase Ecologically Packaged Products. Journal of Public This document was prepared by Aceti Policy and Marketing, 10(2). 77-101. Associates of Arlington, MA. Shrum, L. J., McCarty, J. A., Lowrey, T. M. (1995). Buyer Characteristics of the

    Printed on recycled paper Green Consumer and Their Implications

    3 November 25, 2002

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