Determinants of environmentally conscious consumer behaviors: Measuring the value consumer environmentalism and predicting behavioral intention to purchase environmentally friendly products
Consumers’ decision making and consumption behaviors have a significant and direct impact on our natural environment. The continued consumption of limited and/or non-renewable natural resources has been of growing concern for individuals and firms, creating a trend towards environmental awareness unique to this day and age. During the past decade, ‘buying green’, a moniker once reserved for hippies and alternative lifestyle seeking individuals, has permeated the mainstream market. Currently, organic farming is practiced in more than 130 countries worldwide, (Organic Trade Association, 2008) and, in 2007, the global sales of organic food topped $46 billion dollars (Organic Monitor, 2008). Between 2003 and 2006, sales of hybrid cars exploded almost 2000% (Tanneeru, 2006); a trend that continued into 2007; hybrid sales reached 352,184 units, up from 2006’s 250,000 (Hybrid Car, 2008). In 2008, the Natural Marketing Institute teamed up with renowned ratings analysts, The Nielsen Company, to better understand the $209 billion dollar market of consumers who make purchases based on the environment, sustainability, personal health and social issues (Case, 2008). Both academicians and practitioners would benefit from a valid and practical scale designed to measure Consumer Environmentalism as an individually held value, and, a method to predict behavioral intentions with respect to purchasing environmentally oriented goods. Determining who is most likely to adopt green products will help practitioners develop effective marketing strategies and help theorists more thoroughly model choice behavior.
This research investigates the environmentally conscious consumer, by developing a scale to measure the individually-held value, Consumer Environmentalism, and, based on consumers’ attitudes towards environmentally friendly goods, predict consumers’ behavioral intentions towards purchasing environmentally friendly products. Constructs related to Consumer Environmentalism will be examined, including; Locus of Control (Rotter, 1966), Consumer Self-Actualization (Brooker, 1976), Materialism (Richins, 1992), Innovativeness (Goldsmith and Hofacker, 1991), and Social Desirability (Reynolds, 1982). The contributions of this research will help practitioners communicate more effectively and directly target the rapidly expanding environmentally conscious segments of the consumer goods market.