Sustainable consumption: green consumer behaviour when purchasing products.
Oates, Caroline J.
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YOUNG, W., HWANG, K., MCDONALD, S. and OATES, C. J., 2010. Sustainable consumption: green consumer behaviour when purchasing products. Sustainable Development, 18 (1), pp. 20-31.
The ‘attitude–behaviour gap’ or ‘values–action gap’ is where 30% of consumers report that they are very concerned about environmental issues but they are struggling to translate this into purchases. For example, the market share for ethical foods remains at 5 per cent of sales. This paper investigates the purchasing process for green consumers in relation to consumer technology products in the UK. Data were collected from 81 self-declared green consumers through in depth interviews on recent purchases of technology products. A green consumer purchasing model and success criteria for closing the gap between green consumers' values and their behaviour are developed. The paper concludes that incentives and single issue labels (like the current energy rating label) would help consumers concentrate their limited efforts. More fundamentally, ‘being green’ needs time and space in people's lives that is not available in increasingly busy lifestyles. Implications for policy and business are proposed.