58 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2013 Last revised: 8 May 2014
Date Written: May 7, 2014
Despite ongoing efforts to encourage sustainable behavior and consumers’ claims that they are eco-minded, green attitudes remain insufficiently reflected in consumers’ choices. In order to better understand and help explain what drives consumers’ choice of green products we consider three major theoretical accounts drawn from literature highlighting positive and negative spillover effects in green choice: a) a moral account involving the desire for a moral token or activation of moral standards, b) an identity account involving the motive for consistent green behavior and identity, and c) an accessibility account whereby sustainability is top of mind. Using a combination of hypothetical and consequential choice experiments, we tested the relative role of these drivers in governing peoples’ choices of pro-environmental options over equivalent non-green alternatives, as each dictates vastly different marketing strategies. We find green product choice is largely and consistently explained by the real-time accessibility of eco-friendly concepts. Moral and identity drivers also play a role but to lesser and varying degrees. We discuss the implications of our findings for increasing consumers’ choice of green products.
Keywords: Decision-making, eco-friendly, accessibility, identity, moral
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