As the demand green products increases, there is an incentive for companies to offer them, and understand consumer behaviour to market them effectively.
As customers increasingly demand green products, there is incentive for marketers to offer such products. So what are key drivers of sustainable consumption?
Business managers should pay attention to demand and niche markets to decide which green products to offer. Customers who care about the environment will choose environmentally friendly products if given sufficient choice and information.
Customers buy products that enhance their lifestyles.
Firms can market green products as a way to build a responsible lifestyle to fulfil customer needs, like self-identity or social relationships.
Customers buy products as a way to fulfil needs like self-identity and social relationships. Firms that market green products as a way to help “save the planet” or improve health of loved ones encourage customers to fulfil these needs.
Customers who care about the environment do choose green products when given sufficient choice and product information. These customers often make purchasing decisions by weighing the environmental cost of a product in combination with considerations of price, quality, and convenience.
Responsible products respond to demand.
Respond to demand by offering green products and services. These include eco-friendly, local, organic and fair trade goods, and farmers markets.
Pay attention to market niches and demand to decide which green products to promote. For example, customers have become increasingly concerned with buying organic food, which has created a large market niche for supermarkets.
Show customers how products enhance their lives—and their children’s lives.
Market green products as a way to build a responsible identity and lifestyle. For example, firms can encourage parents to buy natural, organic foods for their children’s health.
Managers of NGOs can shape discussion on consumption.
Non-governmental organizations or non-profits can benefit from involving academics, pressure groups, and media to highlight the current environmental crisis. This can help raise awareness to reduce overall consumption.
Managers in these organizations should engage in open dialogue with the public, consumers, and government to rethink how society views consumption. Dialogue can encourage consumers to think about how lifestyle choices affect the environment, recognize sustainability implications of consumption, and reduce reliance on products.
Drive sustainable consumption through research.
This findings are based on a study by Anja Schaefer and Andrew Crane. Their study, “Addressing Sustainability and Consumption,” analyzes previous research to link trends in conceptions of consumption to current views of sustainable consumption. It highlights how sustainable consumption must take into account social and cultural functions that consumption fulfils. And, it discusses how social actors can work to achieve sustainable consumption.
Researchers suggest future research 1) expand on how to change social norms and attitudes related to sustainable consumption, 2) examine sustainable consumption in developing regions, and 3) expand implications for how government can remove barriers to individual green behaviour. For example, by regulating ads or creating brand-free zones in schools, governments can encourage consumption reductions.
Schaefer, Anja, & Crane, Andrew. (2005). Addressing Sustainability and Consumption. Journal of Macromarketing, 25(1): 76-92.