Green Consumerism Literary Submission

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University of Waterloo
Faculty of Environment

ENBUS 306: Research Design
Literary Review and Submission on
Green Consumerism

Prepared By:
Wendy Ngai
Student ID: 20351676
3B Environment and Business
October 02, 2012
This literary submission will take on a systematic, convergent approach in focusing on five separate articles regarding green consumerism. The five peer-reviewed articles which have been selected for this paper have been placed in the appendix of this submission in the order in which they appear in the bibliography.

A key point which is continuously brought up within each article is that environmental consumerism is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society (Mazar and Zhong, 2009). Although there has been numerous research conducted on the increase of pro-social consumption patterns, there are, however, still major areas of interest which are yet to be explored, such as finding determinant factors which contribute towards green consumerism, discovering how these factors can be potentially quantified, and whether social demographic attributes are correlated to these pro-social consumer variables (Auger et. Al, 2003). The understanding behind such topics can be extremely beneficial for businesses who wish to gain more insight into what drives their consumers to make socially ethical product choices, so that they can subsequently produce and market goods and services which are more closely suited to their consumer’s needs (Auger et. Al, 2003).

Within these five peer articles, specific research questions which were addressed include: “What kind of consumer behaviours are responsive to green advertisement and green products?” (Haytko and Matulich, 2007), “Are there specific determinants and variables (social demographic attributes, personality traits, values, etc.) which lead to increased ‘green consumer’ habits?” (Mazar and Zhong, 2009), as well as “What extent do consumers value ethical attributes in order to commit to trade-offs between conventional product traits and pro-social features?” (Auger et. Al, 2003).

In terms of main conclusions which were derived from these articles, “Green Advertising and Environmentally Responsible Consumer Behaviours: Linkages Examined” identified that those who were already practicing environmentally-friendly behaviours, were most often affected by green advertising (Haytko and Matulich, 2007). As well, Shrum’s article on green consumer buyer characteristics and their implications indicated that consumers in general have now become more conscious enough to be concerned about social issues, thus enabling themselves to become more responsive to green products and their marketing (Shrum et al, 1995).

The conclusions above help indicate that green consumerism levels are on the rise, however, they do not necessarily identify what factors motivate consumers to make eco-friendly choices. Haytko and Matulich’s article partially answers this query by stating that consumers who are already environmentally-conscious tend to make more socially conscious choices. Yet, Shrum et. Al’s, Mazar and Zhong’s, and Auger et. al’s articles all highlight that a majority of research have found that although most consumers have pro-social thoughts, these thoughts are not the driving force behind pro-social purchasing actions (Auger et. Al, 2003). This further reinforces the conclusions brought up in two other articles, that however many good intentions consumers may have, carrying them out is an entirely different story (Shrum et al, 1995), and that self-identified traits, such as one’s self expressed pro-social position, may not necessarily lead to similar behavioural outcomes (Sparks and Shepherd, 1992).

A conclusion which more thoroughly answers the pending inquiry is Shrum’s article, which helps portray a rough sketch of the typical green consumer’s profile. Several characteristics identified are that eco-friendly consumers tend to have an interest in new...
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