Tipping the green scale

Research reveals shoppers who value conserving the planet often are also concerned with conserving their wallets.

That shopper in the aisles searching for eco-friendly products is not just concerned about saving the environment, but conserving their own resources as well.  

The findings from an in-depth study published in the July issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggest marketers may need to emphasize value in positioning environmentally-friendly products to target consumers with higher so-called “green consumption values,” since they also likely value their personal financial resources.

The findings come out of the researchers’ efforts to develop a scale to measure green consumption values, defined as “the tendency to express the value of environmental protection through one’s purchases and consumption behaviours.”

The studies found a correlation between people’s tendency to be financially frugal and their tendency to conserve physical resources through sparing use or recycling. They say this demonstrates that “greener consumers not only have concern for environmental resources but also personal resources,” a finding they say is backed up by recent sustainability efforts that emphasize the personal and economic well-being of consumers.

However, using this “green scale,” which they tested across six studies, the authors also note the research suggests more environmentally-conscious consumers need less convincing to purchase environmentally-friendly products, since their affinity for those types of products appears to have a positive effect on how they view the items’ non-environmental attributes.

“As such, marketers of environmentally-friendly products may need to focus more on what can be done to increase purchase of [environmentally-friendly] products among consumers with weaker green consumption values,” the authors write, “since those with stronger green consumption values are motivated to do so on their own.”

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