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Why Consumers Buy Green

Nicole Darnall1, Cerys Pointing2, Diego Vazquez-Brust3


1
George Mason University , 4400 University Drive, MSN 5F2 3020 David King Hall Fairfax, VA 22030 , +703 349 1233; ndarnall@gmu.edu
2
Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS), Cardiff Universit y , 55 Park Place, Cardiff, UK.
CF10 3AT; T: +44 (0) 29 2087 6562, pontingc@Cardiff.ac.uk
3
Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS), Cardiff University, 55 Park Place. Cardiff, UK
CF10 3AT, +44 (0) 29 2087 6562; vazquezd@Cardiff.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Increasingly, consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about the environment and reflecting this knowledge in their decisions to buy green
products. While previous research on the topic has generally examined green consumption related to a single product label, numerous
questions exist about why consumers choose various green products and services, in addition to why they utilize multiple eco-labels, and what
factors encourage potential eco-label users to buy green. We address these concerns by examining individuals’ actual and anticipated green
consumption as it relates to their trust of various sources to provide them with environmental information, environmental knowledge, and
personal affect towards the environment. These relationships are studied for a sample of more than 1,200 UK residents using Tobit regression
to control for numerous confounding concerns. The data underpinning the analysis is gathered from an on-line survey used to collect detailed
information about environmental attitudes, motivations, and purchasing behavior of 1513 British customers, carried out by the Future
Foundation and Cardiff University.
Amongst other things, the result suggests that:
Individuals who either: a) understand more about climate change issues; b) feel more empowered to address these issues or c) trust government
and environmental groups to provide information about climate change; are more likely to engage in green consumption and use
environmental labels. This is true even for individuals who are not presently using environmental labels in their purchasing decisions.
Individuals who are not using environmental labels in their purchasing decisions are more likely to do so if they have a greater sense of
personal risk related to climate change
Private business is largely impotent in that green consumers are no more or no less likely to trust their information about climate change.
These results highlight both the importance of environmental education and awareness to empower customer’s pro-environmental behaviors,
and the need for business interested to differentiate their products and tap into the green market to articulate coalitions with trust-holders such
as government and environmental NGO’s in order to legitimate their green credentials.
KEY WORDS:
environmental consumerism, green purchasing, green consumption, environmental knowledge, trust, climate change

consumption related to a single product label. In particular, earlier


INTRODUCTION scholarship has considered consumer purchasing decisions related
Individuals worldwide are becoming increasingly savvy about the to organic certified products (Perrini, Castaldo, Misani & Tencati,
environment, and basing their purchasing decisions on a product’s 2009; Loureiro, McCluskey & Mittelhammer, 2001), eco-labeled
environmental attributes (Darnall, 2008a; Perrini, Castaldo, Misani food (Loureiro, McCluskey & Mittelhammer, 2001), sustainable
& Tencati, 2009). For instance, within the United States (US), forest products (Teisl, Peavey, Newman, Buono & Hermann,
approximately 15 percent of consumers routinely pay more for 2002) and energy label ed electrical appliances (Sammer &
green products, and another 15 percent seek green products if they Wüstenhagen, 2006 ; Mills & Schleich, 2009). These studies
do not cost more (Ginsberg & Bloom, 2004). Similarly, consumers illustrate that there are numerous types of labels that might
in Costa Rica are willing to pay price premiums of $30 per night influence consumers’ shopping decisions. However, as yet
for hotel services that have certain eco-labels (Rivera, 2002). researchers have little sense regarding factors that are related to
Consumers have also revealed a willingness to spend 20-50 consumers’ overall use of eco-labels in their purchasing decisions
percent more for organically labeled food (Barkley, 2002). In spite (Galarraga Gallastegui, 2002). Even less is known about
of their greater cost differentials, by the end of 2007 international individuals who acknowledge that they do not utilize eco-labels in
sales of UK organic products climbed to €33.7 billion, which their purchasing decisions, but would if presented with the right
represents a 10% increase from the prior year (Perrini, Castaldo, circumstances or information. Perhaps more importantly, many
Misani & Tencati, 2009). As a consequence, there is a compelling green consumption decisions do not involve an eco-label at all. As
reason for companies and governments to understand more about such, numerous questions remain about the overall factors that
why consumers buy green. underpin why consumers buy green (Galarraga Gallastegui, 2002).

Previous research on the topic has generally examined green Of the existing studies that have examined aspects of consumers’
green consumption, prior scholarship has emphasized that control for numerous confounding concerns.
environmental knowledge and attitudes as important correlates
(Schlegelmilch, Bohlen & Diamantopoulos, 1996). Other studies UNDERSTANDING GREEN CONSUMERISM
have focused on the socio-demographic aspects of consumers who Green consumption is the purchasing and non-purchasing
buy green, albeit with mixed findings (Straughan & Roberts, 1999; decisions made by consumers, based at least partly on
McDonald & Oates, 2006). However, information is lacking environmental criteria (Peattie, 1995). In general, green
regarding how different sources of environmental information may consumption stems from individuals’ idealism to internalize some
influence these decisions (McDonald & Oates, 2006; of the negative externalities from the production of the green
Schlegelmilch, Bohlen & Diamantopoulos, 1996), especially as it goods they buy (Eriksson, 2004). Green consumerism has roots in
relates to consumer trust of these information sources. Moreover, the 1970’s when p ublic concern for the environment became
much of the existing research is based on weak empirical mainstream (Vazquez & Liston-Heyes, 2008), as did the notion
examinations (Sammer & Wüstenhagen, 2006), small samples or that government should take the lead in mitigating specific
restricted geographic scopes. As such, we have had limited ability environmental problems. However, in the late 1980s and early
to generalize the findings. This issue is particularly important since 1990s, a new ‘green thinking’ emerged (Dryzek, 1997). Green
many more companies now market their products to other thinking advocates argued that most environmental problems were
countries, and as such a more robust international examination is borne from the prevailing socio-economic systems of production
needed (Lee, 2008). and consumption. Remedying environmental problems therefore
Related to the business environment, companies that develop green required a broader emphasis on changing these socio-economic
products and successfully market them to consumers can benefit systems (Dryzek, 1997) rather than simply focusing on
by enhancing their product revenues and gaining differentiation government policies towards specific environmental problems .
advantages in existing markets (Darnall, 2008a). Additionally, Fueling this individual-focused consciousness were popular
these firms can benefit by enhancing their social legitimacy. publications, such as The Green Consumer Guide (Elkington &
Legitimacy refers to organizations’ actions that are considered Hailes, 1988), which laid the foundation for debates about eco-
desirable or appropriate (Suchman, 1995). Socially legitimate labeling in Europe, and encouraged a greater emphasis on green
companies gain from improving their intangible value, such as by consumerism during the 1990s (Jordan, Wurzel, Zito & Brückner,
developing an eco-friendly reputation, improving relations with 2004).
environmental regulators, and enhancing community standing Green consumerism often is viewed as a business opportunity.
(Darnall, 2008a). Combined, these activities help ensure a Customer surveys show that about 44 percent of customers report
company’s long-term survival and competitiveness. their willingness to pay a premium price for green products
Related to public policy, while market failures related to pollution (Chattaway, 2008). For instance, consumers have revealed a
can be addressed by regulating firms through coercive measures, willingness to spend 20-50 percent more for hotel services (Rivera,
coercive regulations have been limited within consumer markets 2002) and organically labeled food (Barkley, 2002). In the decade
(outside of product bans or taxes to curb consumer demand). from 1985 to 1995 the percentage of green products as a
However, government-sponsored eco-labels are one example of a percentage of total new products increased from 0.5% to 9.2%
regulatory tool that is being used with increasing popularity, and (Min & Galle, 1997). These increases are holding strong in that by
even more so now given the modest results of Copenhagen the end of 2007 international sales of UK organic products were
Summit in terms of brokering a coercive global governance increasing at a rate of 10% increase per year (Perrini, Castaldo,
scheme for Climate Change. Even if only a small portion of Misani & Tencati, 2009). At the same time, more firms have been
consumers uses the environmental information in making their developing products and marketing strategies aimed at the green
product purchases, a small portion is all that is needed to thinking consumer (Peattie, 1992). For firms that are committed to
encourage the broader population of firms to radically change their developing these products, they can also benefit by enhancing their
production decisions in an environmentally friendly way social legitimacy. They can also improve their intangible value
(Moorman, 1998). Moreover, if the majority of consumers shift related to developing an eco-friendly reputation, enhance their
towards making green purchas es, it is possible that all firms will relations with environmental regulators, and bolster their
make a switch towards green production (Eriksson, 2004). The community standing (Darnall, 2008a). Together, these activities
societal benefits of this arrangement would be profound and can improve a company’s long-term survival and competitiveness.
largely infeasible using coercive regulations on their own Some scholars believe that in the next decade environmentally
(Eriksson, 2004). However, for government to encourage more friendly production approaches will become mainstream following
widespread green consumption, policy makers must know what advanced green technologies, increased transparency of corporate
factors encourage consumers to buy green. This is especially true reporting (Harris, 2007). Others are more cautious (Eriksson,
for consumers who are at the margin in that they presently do not 2008; Pedersen & Neergard, 2006; Rex & Baumann, 2007). In
buy green but may if presented with the right circumstances. particular, growth in green consumeris m seems limited to certain
We address these concerns by examining individuals’ actual and products (Rex & Bauman, 2007), or impulse and low-involvement
anticipated green consumption as it relates to their trust of products (such as coffee or chocolate) rather than reflected in-store
environmental information sources, environmental knowledge, and choice (Sammer & Wuestenhagen, 2006). Additionally, there is
personal affect towards the environment. These relationships are concern that the majority of consumers do not consider
studied for a sample of more than 1,200 residents living in England, environmental credentials when buying a product and the majority
Wales, and Scotland using sop histicated empirical methodologies of those embracing green values will give environmental criteria a

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lower hierarchy than price or brand when buying higher consumption behavior must be viewed as a series of purchase
involvement products -such as cars or electronics. decisions (Peattie, 1999). These decisions may be inter-related and
underpinned by common values or they may be unconnected and
Corporate distrust is also an issue (Lee, 2008). While customer
situational (Peattie, 1999). There are no agreed criteria for what is
surveys have report ed increasing levels of consumers’
green consumption or a green product (Young, Hwang, McDonald
environmental awareness and concern (Peattie & Crane, 2005), & Oates, 2010). However, prior studies and general logic serve as
reliable information about corporate environmental activities is a guide. In general, green products include choosing organic meat,
limited, which hinders consumers from buying green. Moreover,
organic dairy products (milk/cheese/yoghurt), organic vegetables
customer skepticism and distrust of firms’ green production and (Beckmann, 2001), fair trade products (Galarraga Gallastegui &
product claims have been increasing (Peattie & Crane, 2005;
Markandya, 2000). Additionally, green purchasing decisions can
Harris, 2007; Bamberg & Moser, 2006; Thøgersen, 2000; involve buying locally grown food or products that were produced
Garnkvist., Lekedal and Marmendal , 2007; Moisander, 2007).1
locally, choosing unpacked fruit and vegetables, and avoiding
The distrust is warranted. For instance, within the US during the
buying food that is not in season. Related to household products,
early 1990s, approximately half of the environmental advertising green consumption includes purchasing, recycled toilet paper,
has been considered misleading or deceptive (Kangun, Carlson &
energy efficient light bulbs (Defra, 2002), natural cleaning
Grove, 1991). The amount of deceptive environmental advertising products, recycled stationery, sustainable clothing (i.e., organic
is expected to be greater today given society’s burgeoning interest
cotton or hemp). It also might involve purchasing more durable
in environmental issues and the proliferation of unverifiable
products that optimize energy efficiency of electrical products and
environmental information. This concern has led the US Federal
appliances. Together, these examples illustrate the numerous
Trade Commission (FTC) to fast-track review of its 1998
purchasing and non-purchasing decisions that comprise an
regulations on green marketing. The FTC sees the largely individual’s total green consumption.
unregulated area of “green advertising” as a primary target for
consumer deception (Bastile & Skierka, 2008). Eco-labels and Green Consumption
These concerns suggest that while green consumption and the Use of eco-labels are a second (more specific) type of green
green thinking movement may be viable pathways towards consumption. Eco-labels are product seals that generally convey
achieving widespread environmental improvements, they may information about that product’s environmental attributes. These
need to be accompanied by a variety complementary efforts, such labels communicate information about a single environmental
as enhancing government incentives for both green consumption attribute, for which the product either qualifies or not. Eco-labels
(Autio, Heiskanen & Heinonen, 2009; Darnall, 2008a) and are designed to address the problem that consumers do not have
production (Eriksson, 2008; Darnall, 2008a), and stronger time to research each individual firm’s products for their
regulatory oversight regarding advertising claims. To address this environmental impacts (Young, Hwan, McDonald & Oates, 2009).
latter concern, in the early 2000s the EU initiated an information This issue is of particular concern because most environmental
campaign to guide customers in the acquisition of low-energy impacts are unobservable, and require signific ant time on the part
consumption products (Rex & Bauman, 2007). In the UK, of consumers to research a product’s environmental claims. For
government education efforts occurred due to pressure from a consumers who have the time, verification of these claims can
variety of groups (e.g., Friends for the Earth and the National necessitate enormous effort. For instance, related to organic food,
Consumer Council) that were expressing greater concern about the consumers have difficulties determining whether pesticides or
greater need to address climate change (Young, Hwang, McDonald other synthetic inputs were used in the growing process
& Oates, 2010). Additionally, government s and non-government (McDonald & Oates, 2006). If these farms do not utilize chemical
organizations (NGOs) worldwide took a more prominent role in inputs, consumers would also need to obtain information about
terms of regulation and standardization of corporate claims (Rex & whether or not sufficient buffer zones are used to protect organic
Baumann, 2007) by way of eco-labels. There are numerous food from adjacent farms. Additionally, information would be
examples of green consumerism, we examine three, the first being needed about the production activities of those adjacent farms’
an individuals’ total green consumption. The second type of green growing practices. Such effort is generally more than the most
consumption which we examine is consumers’ use of eco-labels in environmentally conscious consumer is willing to expend.
their purchasing decisions. Finally, we examine potential eco-label
consumption, or when individuals do not utilize eco-labels in their However, the ability for consumers to buy green products and
services uniquely hinges on the availability of reliable information
purchasing decisions, but indicate that they would if presented
regarding a product’s environmental impacts (Minton & Rose,
with certain circumstances or information.
1997). Eco-labels are a simple way to signal information to
Total Green Consumption consumers about a product’s social legitimacy (Cashore, 2002),
and to reduce consumer uncertainty the validity of their green
To adequately understand green consumerism, each individual’s purchases (Pedersen & Neergard, 2006). Eco-labels are generally
developed and administered by an independent organization, such
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Skepticism does not necessarily stem from false claims. Peattie and Crane as the government or an environmental NGO, rather than a product
(2005) identified 5 main bad marketing practices leasing to customers manufacturer. Eco-label sponsors detail specific environmental
distrust: PR used to discredit environmental criticisms; adding green claims standards that must be followed. Companies that elect to adhere to
to existing products to increase sales; being eco-friendly only when it leads the eco-label standards receive certification of this conformance.
to cost savings; creating new green products that are not wanted by Any company whose products qualify for the eco-label is generally
customers and claiming green credentials while not doing more than
complying with existing regulation. required to undergo third-party certification. Doing so increases

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the legitimacy of the eco-label itself and removes corporate small percentage of consumers shift their buying preferences
influence from the label’s marketing claims. towards environmentally friendly products, a relatively small
p ercentage is all that is needed to encourage firms to make
Equipped with the labeling information, consumers have the
significant changes towards green production (Moorman, 1998).
choice to behave in an environmentally responsible way.
However, for government to encourage these consumption shifts,
Consumers who chose to purchase eco-labeled products derive policy makers must know what factors encourage consumers at the
tangible product benefits, but also intangible benefits related to the margin to buy green.
“warm glow” of helping the environment (Darnall, 2008b).
Moreover, the existence of an eco-label may persuade consumers PREDICTING GREEN CONSUMPTION
who might not otherwise consider a product’s environmental
attributes to do so in the future. In considering the factors related to individuals’ green
consumption, we consider the trust of sources to provide
For companies that wish to market their green products, the information about environmental concerns, and the role of
success of any eco-label centers on the label’s credibly to environmental knowledge and personal affect towards the
communicate information about a product’s environmental impacts. environment. Each of these factors is discussed further below.
Eco-label developers therefore market their logos so that
consumers recognize them. Because they are developed and Trust of Sources Provide Information about Environmental
certified by a third-party, eco-labels offer credible information Concerns
about the product’s environmental aspects and can influence the Trust is defined as an individual’s intention to accept vulnerability
demand for environmentally friendly products and services. Earlier based upon positive expectations of the intentions of the behavior
scholarship has considered consumer purchasing decisions related of another (Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt and Camero., 1998) individual
to organic certified products (Perrini, Castaldo, Misani & Tencati, or entity. Trust allows for risk-taking in a relationship (Mayer,
2009; Loureiro, McCluskey & Mittelhammer, 2001), eco-labeled Davis and Schoorman, 1995), and is needed especially where other
food (Loureiro, McCluskey & Mittelhammer, 2001), sustainable control systems (Schoorman, Mayer and Davis, 2007) or
forest products (Teisl, Peavey, Newman, Buono & Hermann, regulations are lacking. In this context, trust is especially relevant ,
2002) and energy labeled electrical appliances (Sammer & as regulatory oversight governing informational claims generally
Wüstenhagen, 2006; Mills & Schleich, 2009). While these studies requires strengthening (Bastile & Skierka, 2008). However, as yet,
illustrate that there are numerous types of labels that might little is known about how different environmental information
influence consumers’ shopping decisions, as yet researchers have sources may influence consumer decisions (McDonald & Oates,
little understanding of the factors that are related to consumers’ 2006; Schlegelmilch et al., 1996), especially as it relates to
overall use of eco-labels in their purchasing decisions (Galarraga consumer trust of these sources. 2 We anticipate that consumers
Gallastegui, 2002). Even less is known about potential eco-label will respond differently to environmental information sources
consumers. based on the trust they have of those sources.
Potential Eco-label Consumers Among other sources, consumers receive environmental
Potential eco-label consumers are a third type of consumer that we information from government, environmental NGOs, private
consider. Potential eco-label consumers are defined as individuals business, scientists, and personal connections with friends and
who acknowledge that they do not utilize eco-labels in their family. In considering government as a source of environmental
purchasing decisions, but would if presented with the right information, it is the primary entity responsible for protecting the
circumstances or information. This segment of the population may global environmental commons, establishing environmental laws,
be considerable. Indeed, about 30% of the population reports being and seeing that the environment is protected. Government is also
very concerned about environmental issues (Defra, 2006) but tasked with p rotecting customers from false market claims ,
struggling to translate this concern into purchases (Young, Hwang, establishing guidelines for product labels and acceptable marketing
McDonald & Oates, 2010). Scant information is known about this claims, and for undertaking legal action against companies that fail
group of consumers and the factors that may influence their to comply with established guidelines (Rex & Baumann, 2007).
decisions to purchase eco-labeled products (Young, Hwang, Outside of coercive regulations and enforcement, government has
McDonald & Oates, 2010). However this knowledge is important taken a lead role in creating eco-labels and providing consumers
to firms and policy makers. with environmental information about the merits of environmental

Companies are constantly seeking ways in which to expand their


market share. Understanding more about non-eco-label consumers 2
While environmental consciousness can impact consumers’
who are at the margin may provide them with the knowledge that purchasing decisions, questions remain about how sources of information
is needed to shift their management and market strategy in a way play a role (Schlegelmilch et al., 1996). Information sources are
that more effectively targets these consumers. Similarly, some particularly relevant in that while a growing number of consumers may be
businesses, in addition to policy makers, are seeking ways in aware of the environmental impacts of their shopping choices, and showing
which to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the interest in understanding how to choose more environmentally friendly
production of goods and services. Moreover, by understanding items (Maciag & Hepting, 2008), many customers still find difficult to buy
more about consumers who are at the margin of buying green, green products. It is believed, however, that these same consumers may be
policy makers may be able to create targeted programs or label more likely to purchase environmentally friendly products if trusted
information sources were available (Young, Hwang, McDonald & Oates,
changes that encourage this consumer group to consider the 2010; Knott, Muers & Aldridge, 2008).
environment in their purchasing decisions. Even if a relatively

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labels and green consumption in general. Some scholars have “greenwashing,” or the practice of companies disingenuously
suggested that government sponsorship and oversight of eco-labels presenting their products and policies as being environmentally
has increased their consumer appeal (Ottman, Stafford & Hartman friendly.
CL, 2006; Harris, 2007). For these reasons, we posit that
The root of corporate greenwashing rests in whether profit-seeking
consumers who trust the environmental information put forward by
government are more likely to buy green. organizations have sufficient market incentives to voluntarily incur
additional private costs to protect the environment (Darnall,
Like government , environmental NGOs help protect customers Potoski & Prakash, 2010). In the absence of sufficient incentives,
from false market claims by developing eco-labels and eco-label private business may symbolically change their products to create
guidelines (Rex & Baumann, 2007). Environmental NGOs also are the public perception that they are green, rather than radically
more likely to protest publicly against labels that fall short of changing their production processes to create truly green products.
environmental expectations (Rivera & de Leon, 2004), and this In so doing, corporate greenwashers can derive an economic
scrutinizing role has also increased consumers’ overall appeal benefit by producing false claims about the greenness of their
towards green products (Ottman et al., 2006; Harris, 2007). It also products. Such actions increase consumer distrust of all green
has increased the legitimacy of eco-labels that are sponsored by products, reduces consumers’ willingness to buy green (Peattie &
environmental NGOs (Banerjee & Solomon 2003; Knott, Muers & Crane, 2005), and creates barriers toward encouraging broader
Aldridge, 2008; Scammon & Mayer, 1993, 1995). As a societal change (Knott, Muers & Aldridge, 2008).
consequence, consumers who trust the environmental information
put forward by environmental NGOs are anticipated to be more For these reasons, it is our belief that individuals who are
distrustful of corporate environmental information do not pay
likely to buy green.
attention to their claims. As a consequence, environmental
Scientists are one of society’s primary sources of environmental information should have little relationship with green consumption.
information. They are the originators of independent studies that However, an exception relates to the consumers’ eco-label
speak to the condition of the environment and to global climate purchases. Since eco-labels are generally developed by third
change. For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate parties, and therefore have greater credibility, consumers who are
Change has released four highly publicized reports on global distrustful of profit-seeking business’ environmental claims are
climate change and received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its more likely to use eco-labels as a means for them to buy green. We
efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man- therefore hypothesize that consumers with greater distrust of
made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures private business to provide environmental concerns information
that are needed to counteract such change (IPCC, 2010). Because are more likely to buy green by relying on eco-labels.
of their credentials, scientists can have a significant impact on
Hypothesis 2: Consumers with greater distrust of private business
societal perceptions. For these reasons, we anticipate that
consumers who trust the environmental information put forward by to provide environmental concerns information are more likely to
buy green by relying on eco-labels.
scientists are more likely to buy green.
Friends and relatives are the most trusted individuals in our social Role of Environmental Knowledge
networks. To the extent that these individuals possess Prior research examining the factors related to green purchasing
environmental information, they can have significant bearing on assert that an individual’s ecological behavior is highly dependent
consumers’ decisions to buy green. Indeed, friends and family are upon his/her knowledge of the relevant environmental issues
the most frequently reported trusted sources of green purchasing (Young, Hwang, McDonald & Oates, 2010; Chan, 2001;
information source for green purchasing (Oates, McDonald, Moisander, 2007; Oates et al , 2008; Bamberg & Moser, 2007).
Alevizou , Hwang , Young & McMorland, 2008; Lee 2008; The broader literature reports a positive relationship between
Young et al., 2007). For these reasons, we posit that consumers knowledge and behavior (e.g., Hoch & Deighton, 1989; Park,
with greater trust of government, environmental nonprofits, and Mothersbaugh, & Feick, 1994). However, related to environmental
friends/family, and scientists to provide environmental concerns research, this relationship is not as consistent (Martin & Simintiras,
information are more likely to buy green. 1995). For instance, Chan (1999) notes that some studies have
Hypothesis 1: Consumers with greater trust of government, found a positive association between ecological knowledge and
environmentally responsible behavior (Dispoto, 1977; Kilkeary,
environmental nonprofits, and friends/family, and scientists to
provide environmental concerns information are more likely to buy 1975; Hines, Hungerford, & Tomera, 1987), while others have
shown that no significant relationship (Arbuthnot & Lingg, 1975;
green.
Geller, 1981; Schahn & Holzer, 1990). Such mixed empirical
Private business is also a source of environmental information. findings may suggest a more complex relationship between
However, environmentally conscious customers often report ecological knowledge and behavior (Chan, 1999). 3
ignoring green advertising claims (Oates et al , 2008) or feeling
confused about the environmental claims used by firms (Mayer,
3
Scammon and Zick, 1993). These consumers report their distrust A general criticism of this work is that it is based on relatively
of firms’ own eco-labels because they ‘did not tell the whole story’ unsophisticated empirical examinations, small samples (Sammer &
(Oates et al, 2008), made false claims (Banerjee & Soloman, Wüstenhagen, 2006) or limited geographic scopes. As such, they are
2003), exaggerated messages, or lacked clear meaning (Fay, 1992; limited in their ability to offer generalizable findings. Generalizability of
the results is particularly important since many more companies now
Carlson, Grove and Kangun., 1993; Scammon & Mayer, 1995). market their products to other countries, and as such a more robust
Corporate messages such as these are referred to as examination across multiple boundaries is needed (Lee, 2008).

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Consumers’ environmental knowledge influences their behavior in are more likely to be aware of the consequences of their individual
several different ways. First, knowledge serves as a personal behaviors (Vining & Ebreo, 2002). These relationships have been
resource to make decisions and as a driver of personal examined in other environmental applications, and show that they
responsibility (Moisander, 2007). Additionally, knowledge predict pro-environmental behaviors related to recycling (Hopper
influences what individuals view is within their behavioral control & Nielsen, 1991; Vining & Ebreo, 1991, 1992), household energy
(Bamberg & Moser, 2007). It affects both motivation and ability to saving (Black, Stern & Elworth, 1995) and reduced private car use
act in an environmentally friendly way (Bamberg & Moser, 2007; (Bamberg & Schmidt, 2003). We believe that they also relate to
Moisander, 2007). For these reasons, we posit that individuals who consumers’ decisions to buy green.
have knowledge of critical environmental issues are more likely to
Sense of empowerment refers to whether or not an individual is
buy green. In particular, we consider two types of environmental
knowledge— general knowledge and action based knowledge. confident that his/her personal actions have bearing on a critical
environmental issue. Individuals with a higher sense of behavioral
General knowledge relates to consumers’ rudimentary control tend see change as something they can actively manage
understanding of environmental issues. It involves a general whereas individuals who have a low sense of behavioral control
awareness of basic terminology and concepts. Consumers lacking see it as somehow random or reserved for more influential people
general knowledge find it more difficult to understand (Fransson & Garling, 1999). Related to the natural environment,
environmental information whereas more knowledgeable individuals who have a stronger sense of empowerment towards
consumers can more readily digest a wide range of environmental environmental concerns may be more likely act to mitigate those
information. Environmentally knowledgeable consumers therefore concerns. For these reasons we hypothesize that consumers with
can make more rapid decisions that translate into action greater personal affect related to environmental concerns are more
(Moisander, 2007). likely to buy green.
By contrast, action-based knowledge relates to consumers’ Hypothesis 4: Consumers with greater personal affect related to
understanding of the activities required to mitigate environmental environmental concerns are more likely to buy green.
problems. It includes an awareness of consequences of individuals’
actions on the environment and awareness of the remedies that can METHODS
improve behavior (Hines et al., 1987) Action-based knowledge is To evaluate our hypotheses, we relied on data collected from an
not only a personal resource, but it also influences consumers’ online survey that was co-developed and administered by the
feelings of personal responsibility for pro-environmental behaviors. Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability
The rationale is that if a person is aware of the consequences of and Society (BRASS) at Cardiff University and The Future
their behavior, the ascription of personal responsibility typically Foundation, a consumer insight and strategic futures company. The
follows. For these reasons we hypothesize that consumers with survey asked UK consumers about their consumption behavior,
greater general and action-based knowledge related to perceptions about climate change, and trust of different societal
environmental concerns are more likely to buy green. sources.
Hypothesis 3: Consumers with greater general and action-based At the time of the survey, approximately 60 million individuals
knowledge related to environmental concerns are more likely to live within the UK. The sample was limited to consumers who had
buy green. internet access. These consumers accounted for 63% of the
Personal Affect towards the Environment population (approximately 38 million residents). Research Now, a
nationally recognized UK market research firm, was enlisted to
Other factors associated with why consumers buy green relate to help finalize the sample. To ensure that the sample was
consumers’ personal affect towards critical environmental issues. representative, Research Now stratified UK residents by gender,
A consumer’s personal affect refers to the emotional state elicited age, household income, terminal education age, region, postcode,
from a particular issue. Related to the environment, personal affect car ownership, and household tenure, personal income, working
relates to a consumer’s emotional state related to environmental status, number of adults in the household and number of children.
concerns.4 We suggest that a consumer’s sense of personal risk and The resulting sample consisted of approximately 400,000 UK
empowerment to address critical environmental problems are consumers, who were then randomly sampled.
particularly salient personal affects related to green consumption.
In September 2007, a total of 1,513 consumers were surveyed
Sense of personal risk relates to the perceived individual harm that online. Prior to its finalization, the survey was vetted among
may arise from a future environmental event. Individuals who feel several leading scholars in the field of green consumerism.
that there is a personal risk related to the environmental problems Research Now offered respondents a financial incentive for the
completion of the surveys, which ensured a relatively high
response rate. A total of 1,278 (84.5%) individuals within the
4 sample completed the survey in its entirety.
Related scholarship has conside red how moral responsibility applies to
environmental behavior, especially in terms of whether a person feels they To check for common method variance, we relied on the post-hoc
cause the problem (Kaiser & Schimoda, 1999). This research suggests that
55% of a person’s ecological behavior can be explained by what they term, Harman’s single-factor test (Podsakoff & Organ, 1986). This test
a responsibility judgment (Kaiser & Schimoda, 1999). However, personal assumes that if a substantial amount of common method variance
affect differs from responsibility in that the latter implies a perceived moral is present, a factor analysis of all the data will result in a single
commitment or expectation to address the concern, whereas the former factor accounting for the majority of the covariance in the
refers to a more general state of concern in the absence of obligation.

5
independent and dependent variables. The results of Harman’s either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement that “Eco-
single-factor test revealed that no single factor accounted for the labels have no impact on my decision to buy products.” We
majority of the variance in the variables, offering evidence that this measured non-label users’ likelihood to purchase eco-labeled
type bias was not a concern. products, by presenting them with the images of 6 different eco-
labels commonly seen on UK products. After viewing each image,
Social desirability bias was addressed by ensuring respondent respondents were asked “with this knowledge to what extent will it
anonymity. Anonymity assurances reduce bias even when influence your in store decisions if you saw this label on a product
responses relate to sensitive business topics. To further address
or service.” Respondents reported in a scale from “1=very
potential problems related to social desirability bias, survey unlikely” to “5=very likely”. Responses for the 6 eco-label
questions related to consumers’ green purchasing behavior were
purchasing intentions were summed to arrive at an overall eco-
separated from questions pertaining to environmental perceptions label purchasing index, which accounted for both the likelihood
and education, in addition to questions related to institutional trust.
and breadth of non-label users’ intentions to purchase eco-labeled
In instances where a social desirability bias exists, researchers are
products.
less likely to identify statistically significant relationships because
there is less variability in respondents’ survey answers. However, Independent Variables
by finding statistical significance, additional evidence would be
offered about the strength of the relationship between the variables We relied on three sets of independent variables that accounted for
respondents’ trust in sources to provide environmental information,
of interest (Hardin & Hilbe, 2001). Non-response bias was less of
a concern because of the survey’s high response rate. personal knowledge about environmental information and,
personal affect towards the environment . We elected to use climate
MEASURES change as our environmental application because it is a critical
environmental problem affecting the global environment (IPCC,
Dependent Variable—For the purposes of this study, green 2010), and has received significant media attention in recent years.
consumption was defined in three ways. The first measure, total
green consumption, accounted for the extent of consumers’ overall To measure respondents’ trust of government, environmental
green consumption related to food and household products. They NGOs, scientists, friends/family and private sector companies to
were asked “Which of the following do you do nowadays when provide information related to climate change. For each entity,
shopping for food?” Consumers reported on 8 different purchasing respondents indicated “No trust at all”=1, “Little trust”=2,
behaviors: choosing organic meat, choosing organic dairy products “Neither”=3, “Trust a little”=4, “Trust wholly”=5. Related to trust
(milk/cheese/yoghurt), choosing organic vegetables, choosing fair of government sources, respondents were asked “How much do
trade, choosing locally grown food, avoiding buying products that you trust your local authority, UK government, and the European
have traveled a long way, choosing unpacked fruit and vegetables, Commission, to provide you with information on climate change.”.
and avoiding buying food that is not in season in the UK. The three government variables were entered into a common factor
Additionally, consumers were asked “Which of the following do analysis. One factor emerged to account for government trust, as
you do nowadays when shopping for non-food?” Consumers seen in Table 1. To measure respondents’ trust of environmental
reported on 6 different purchasing behaviors: choosing and using NGOs, friends/family, private sector companies, and scientists,
‘green’/natural cleaning products, choosing recycled toilet paper, respondents were asked “How much do you trust the following
choosing recycled stationery, choosing energy efficient light bulbs entities to provide you with information on climate change.
over tungsten/other bulbs, choosing sustainable clothing (i.e.,
Table 1: Government trust factor analysis a
organic cotton or hemp), and looking for optimum energy
efficiency when buying electrical products/appliances. For each of Government Trust to Provide Climate Factor
these 14 behaviors, respondents reported “Always”=3, “Often”=2, Climate Change Information — Loading
“Occasionally”=1, or “Never”=0. The responses of the 14 “How much do you trust the following entities to
consumer purchasing behaviors were summed to arrive at a provide you with information on climate change”
respondent’s overall green consumption index, which accounted Local authorities 0.650
for both the frequency and breadth of an individual’s green UK government 0.890
consumption. European commission 0.824
Our second measure of green consumption accounted for
respondents’ eco-label impact on purchasing decisions. Survey Alpha Coefficient 0.846
respondents were asked to “Please indicate whether you agree or a
Loadings stronger than ± 0.50 are bolded.
disagree with the following statement: Eco-labels have no impact
on my decision to buy products.” Respondents ranked their The second set of independent variables measured respondents’
agreement from “1= Strongly disagreed” to “5= Strongly personal knowledge about climate change, we considered
agreed”=5. Responses were then reverse-coded such that higher respondents’ general and action-based knowledge. General
values accounted for eco-labels having greater impact on knowledge relates to respondents’ understanding of climate change
respondents’ decisions to purchase products. terminology, whereas action-based knowledge relates to
respondents’ understanding of the activities that reduce climate
The third measure of green consumption, non-label users’ change. To measure both types of knowledge we relied on one
likelihood to purchase eco-labeled products consider ed survey question that asked: “How familiar are you with each of the
individuals’ intentions to purchase products with eco-labels. Non- following terms.” The general knowledge terms related to “climate
label users were defined as respondents who reported that they

6
change” and “carbon or CO2 emissions,” whereas action- Because the context of the consumption decision is important
knowledge terms related to “carbon offsetting” and “carbon (Hand, Shove and Southerton., 2007), several control variables
labeling.” Respondents indicated whether for each of these items were included. Since scholars have argued that more educated
they “Have never heard of it” =1, “Have heard of it but don’t know individuals, on average, place more importance on eco-information
anything about it”=2, “Know a little about it”=3, “Know a fair and are more likely to trust eco-labels (Noblet, Teisl & Rubin,
amount about it”=4, “Know a lot about it”=5. The four knowledge 2006) we controlled for consumers’ education. Additionally, we
variables were entered into a common factor analysis. The results controlled for the number of children respondents had at home, as
were consistent with our expectations in that two factors emerged environmental concern tends to increase in homes with children.
to account for our two types of climate knowledge: general Since social consciousness tends to increase with income (Huang,
knowledge and action-based knowledge, as seen in Table 2. Kan & Fu, 1999), we added a control variable to account for
consumers’ household income. Additionally, we controlled for
Table 2: Climate change knowledge factor analysis a
respondents’ gender, as women tend to be more socially conscious
Climate Change Knowledge — Factor Loadings (Huang 1993; Laroche, Bergeron & Barbaro-Forleo, 2001; Virden
“How familiar are you with each General Action-based & Walker, 1999). Finally, we controlled for respondent’s age
of the following terms…” Knowledge Knowledge (Anderson & Cunningham, 1972; Lee, 2008) and country of
Climate change 0.854 -0.157 residence, such that England was the excluded country variable. 5
Carbon or CO2 emissions 0.853 0.195
Carbon offsetting 0.406 0.663 Empirical Models
Carbon labeling 0.274 0.642 Appendix 1 includes descriptive statistics and correlations for all
Alpha Coefficients 0.922 0.779 variables. It indicates that while correlations among our non-
interacted explanatory variables were within the range of
a
Loadings stronger than ± 0.50 are bolded.
acceptability in that they were less than .80 (Kennedy, 2003). We
The third set of independent variables measured respondents’ also evaluated the variance inflation factors (VIF) for each of our
personal affect towards climate change. To assess respondents’ explanatory variables. The results revealed the highest VIF was
sense of personal risk related to climate change, we relied on a 1.92, which was well below Kennedy’s (2003) maximum
survey question that asked “To what extent do you feel that you acceptable threshold of 10.0 indicating that multicollinearity was
will be personally affected by climate change?” Respondents not a concern.
indicated whether they thought “I don’t feel worried as I don’t
Total green consumption was the dependent variable in Model 1.
believe climate change is happening”=1, “climate change is not
Likelihood to purchase eco-labeled products was the dependent
happening yet, but my grandchildren will experience the effects of
variable in Model 2, and Non-label users’ likelihood to purchase
it in their lifetime”=2, “climate change is not happening yet, and I
don’t think I will see the effects of it in my lifetime”=3, “climate eco-labeled products was the dependent variable in M odel 3. We
used Tobit regression to evaluate each model. Tobit regression was
change is not happening yet, but I think I will see the effects of it
appropriate since our response variable was right censored
in my lifetime”=4, “I do feel at risk from climate change: it is
(Wooldridge, 2002) in that it had a maximum value of 50 for
happening now and we should do more to prevent it”=5. To
M odel 1, 6 for Model 2, and 30 for Model 3. With respect to
measure consumers’ sense of empowerment about climate change,
we relied on one question that asked respondents, “Please indicate censored regression models (i.e., our Tobit model), the effects of
scaling, which are misleading in the binary choice model (Greene,
the whether you agree or disagree with each of the following
1997), are less likely to be present (Greene, 1998). Statistical
statements.” Respondents were presented with the following two
analyses were performed using Stata 9.2.
declarations: “There is no point in trying to reduce emissions at an
individual level,” and “I don’t see why I should take action on RESULTS
climate change if other people are not.” Respondents ranked their
agreement from “1= Strongly disagreed” to “5= Strongly The results of each of our models (see Appendix 2) show that the
agreed”=5. The two empowerment variables were entered into a likelihood ratio test statistics were significant at p< 0.01, indicating
common factor analysis. As anticipated, one factor emerged to that the null effect of the independent variables could be rejected.
account for empowerment, as seen in Table 3. The pseudo R-squared statistic approximates the squared
contingency coefficient (ranging between 0 and 1), and approaches
Table 3: Sense of empowerment factor analysis 1 as the fit improves (Aldrich & Nelson, 1984). The value of this
Sense of Empowerment about Climate Change Factor
“Please indicate the whether you agree or disagree Loading
with each of the following statements…” 5
It is important to note that in studying consumers’ green purchases, no
There is no point in trying to reduce emissions 0.640 demographic variable is without controversy. For instance, van Kemp et al.
at an individual level (2009) found empirical evidence that low income consumers may be ready
I don’t see why I should take action on climate 0.643 to make pro-ethical choices in the market place, in part because more
change if other people are not opt ions are available. Other studies have found that education, gender, age,
and country of origin had no statistical relationship with green purchasing
Alpha Coefficient 0.697 (Marcard & Truffer, 2004). Similarly, Oates et al., (2008) report that
a
Loadings stronger than ± 0.50 are bolded. demographic variables have inconclusive results in predicting green
consumption. However, because of the mixed and inconclusive findings,
Control Variables we have included the most widely recognized demographic variables in our
statistical models.

7
statistic is generally less than would be expected in a linear model buy green.
(Greene, 1997). Models 1, 2, and 3 had pseudo R-squares of
Related to our control variables, across all three models, women
24.7%, 27.6%, and 38.9%, respectively.
were more likely (p<.01) to be associated with buying green. Older
In examining the relationship between consumers’ trust in different consumers were more likely to have greater total green
entities to provide climate change information and their propensity consumption (p<.01) (Model 1) or be non-label users with a
to buy green, government trust was positive and statistically greater likelihood of purchasing eco-labeled products (p<.10)
significant (p<.01) across all three models, as were environmental (Model 3). However, younger consumers were associated (p<.10)
groups (p<.05 - .01). Similarly, consumers’ trust in friends/family with making purchasing decisions based on eco-labels (Model 2).
to provide information about climate change was related (p<.01) to Additionally, higher education levels were related (p<.01) to
their use of eco-labels in their purchasing decisions (Model 2) and greater overall green consumption (Model 1), but not related to our
to non-label users’ likelihood to purchase eco-labeled products eco-label models (Models 2-3). Moreover, having a higher income
(Model 3). However, consumers’ having less trust in scientists to (p<.05) was related to total green consumption (Model 1), and
provide information about climate change were associated with residing in Scotland as compared to England (p<.05) was less
greater total green consumption (p<.01) (Model 1), and there was likely to be associated with non-label users’ purchase of eco-
no statistically significant relationship with this group and labeled products (Model 3).
consumers’ use of eco-labels in their purchasing decisions (Model
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
2) and to non-label users’ likelihood to purchase eco-labeled
products (Model 3). Combined, these results offer some evidence While consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about the
in support of Hypothesis 1, which suggests that consumers with environment and reflecting this knowledge in their decisions to
greater trust for government, environmental groups, and buy green products, previous research highlights how little we
family/friends to provide climate change information are more know about the reasons why consumers chose to buy green. Since
likely to buy green. However, an unexpected finding related to earlier scholarship has generally examined green consumption
trust for scientists to provide climate change information and green related to a single product label (Perrini, Castaldo, Misani &
consumption, which was statistically insignificant for Models 2 Tencati, 2009; Loureiro, McCluskey & Mittelhammer, 2001;
and 3, and negative and significant (p<.01) for Model 1. Loureiro, McCluskey & Mittelhammer, 2001; Teisl, Peavey,
Our results also showed that individuals who reported that eco- Newman, Buono & Hermann, 2002; Sammer & Wüstenhagen,
2006; Mills & Schleich, 2009), numerous questions exist about
labels had an impact on their purchasing decisions were less likely
why consumers buy green across a variety of products and services,
(p<.05) to trust private business to provide information about
climate change (Model 2), although it had no statistically in addition to why they chose to utilize multiple eco-labels
(Galarraga Gallastegui, 2002). Omitted from this discussion are
significant relationship in Models 1 and 3. These results offer
some evidence in support of Hypothesis 2, which suggests that individuals who acknowledge that they do not utilize eco-labels in
their purchasing decisions, but would if presented with the right
consumers with greater distrust of private business to provide
circumstances or information. This consumer group is particularly
environmental concerns information are more likely to buy green
important because if government and environmental NGOs are to
by relying on eco-labels.
encourage more widespread green consumption, policy makers
Additionally, our results showed that respondents’ personal must know what factors encourage consumers at the margin to buy
knowledge of climate change was associated with greater amounts green.
of total green consumption (p<.01) (Model 1), and their use of eco-
This study advances our knowledge on the topic by examining
labels in their purchasing decisions (p<.01) (Model 2). However,
individuals’ actual and anticipated green consumption as it relates
general climate change knowledge was not related statistically
with non-users’ likelihood of purchasing eco-labeled products to their trust of various sources to provide them with
(Model 3). At the same time, our estimations show that action- environmental information, environmental knowledge, and
personal affect towards the environment. In particular, we examine
based climate change knowledge was associated with total green
claims that sources of environmental information are critical to
consumption (p<.01), eco-label impact on purchasing decisions
understanding green consumption because consumption may
(p<.05) and non-label users’ likelihood to purchase eco-labeled
increase if trusted information sources were available (Young,
products (p<.01). Combined, these findings offer evidence in
support of Hypothesis 3, which states that consumers with greater Hwang, McDonald & Oates, 2010; Knott, Muers & Aldridge,
knowledge related to climate change are more likely to buy green. 2008). Our results offer support for this notion in that we found
evidence that consumers who have greater trust of government,
Finally, consumers’ personal affect about climate change was environmental NGOs, and friends/family are more likely to rely on
associated with their total green consumption (p<.01) (Model 1), eco-labels in their product purchases. Additionally, consumers
and non-users’ likelihood of purchasing eco-labeled products who acknowledge that they do not utilize eco-labels in their
(p<.01) (Model 3). While personal affect about climate change was purchasing decisions indicate a greater likelihood of purchasing
not related statistically with consumers use of eco-labels in their eco-labeled products if they have greater trust of environmental
purchasing decisions (Model 2), sense of empowerment to address information put forward by government, environmental NGOs,
climate change was statistically significant (p<.01) across all three and friends/family. Moreover, consumers were more likely to
of our estimation models. These results offer some evidence in increase their total green consumption if they have greater trust of
support of Hypothesis 4, which suggests that consumers with government and environmental NGOs to provide environmental
greater personal affect related to climate change are more likely to information.

8
By contrast, consumers who had less trust of private business to relates to a rudimentary awareness of basic terminology and
provide environmental information were more likely to utilize eco- concepts. However, knowledge that is action-based knowledge, in
labels. This relationship exists, we believe because of skepticism that it relates to consumers’ understanding of the activities
about the motives of private business to market their green required to mitigate environmental problems , is more strongly
products. At issue is that private business may derive an economic related to overall green consumption, use of eco-labels, and
benefit by symbolically changing their products to create the potential use of eco-labels. Additionally, consumers who have a
public perception that they are green, rather than radically stronger sense of personal risk regarding the environment and a
changing their production processes to create truly green products. sense of empowerment to mitigate it are more likely to buy green
Since eco-labels are generally developed by third parties, and products. Combined, these findings point to the importance of
therefore have greater external credibility, consumers who are environmental education. To see a widespread change in consumer
distrustful of profit-seeking business’ environmental claims appear behavior, consumers likely require more information about
to be relying on eco-labels as credible signals that a product is environmental problems, how these problems are mitigated.
green, and therefore use it in their purchasing decisions. Moreover, Consumers also need more information about how they are
consumers’ total green consumption and consumers who personally connected to mitigation efforts. Our results further
acknowledge that they do not utilize eco-labels in their purchasing suggest that government and environmental NGOs would be more
decisions were no more or no less likely to trust the environmental successful at undertaking these education efforts. In addition to
information put forward by private business. typical educational approaches of informing the public through
written materials, one novel education approach that may be
These findings have important implications to private business in
particularly successful is rely on peer leaders. Since friends/family
that —for consumers who are interested in buying green or already
were more likely to influence eco-label users and potential eco-
do so—their self-promoted environmental claims are largely label users, relying on peer leaders within communities to educate
impotent. That is, the environmental information put forward by
their networks may be useful at increasing consumer knowledge
private business has no meaningful effect on these consumers’ about their environment and how they can act to reduce their
product purchases. For other consumers this environmental
impact.
information is not trusted. As such, eco-friendly business may
benefit to a greater extent by relying on eco-labels to market their In sum, while internationally consumers are becoming more savvy
green products rather than self-promotion. Additionally, since about the environment and increasing their consumption of
consumers that trust government and environmental NGOs are environmentally friendly products (Darnall, 2008a; Perrini,
more likely to buy green, businesses developing green products Castaldo, Misani & Tencati, 2009), many questions have remained
may benefit to a greater extent by partnering with these entities to about why individuals buy green. Utilizing sophisticated empirical
advance their green strategies and products. Doing so may enhance methods for a large sample of UK residents, this research offers
the overall social legitimacy of their green approach. broader generalizations regarding consumers’ overall green
consumption tendencies and their potential to buy green. We show
Related to public policy and environmental NGOs, a growing
that individuals’ actual and anticipated green consumption is
number of consumers are showing interest in understanding how to related to their trust of various sources to provide them with
choose more environmentally friendly items (Maciag & Hepting,
environmental information, environmental knowledge, and
2008), but finding it difficult to translate this interest into action. personal affect towards the environment. These findings have
Our findings indicate a strong relationship between consumers
important implications about future scholarship, private business,
who trust government and environmental NGOs to provide
and policy makers alike as greater efforts are made to encourage
environmental information and their green consumption. These
more widespread green consumption.
results suggest the importance of providing information to the
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Appendix 1: Correlations * and descriptive statistics
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19) 20)
1) Total green consumption 1.00
2) Eco-label impact .246 1.00
3) Potential Eco-label user .434 .154 1.00
4) General knowledge .173 .126 .051 1.00
5) Action-based knowledge .262 .058 .044 .265 1.00
6) Risk .260 .152 .361 .122 .002 1.00
7) Sense of empowerment .281 .249 .323 .227 .087 .317 1.00
8) Trust of government info. .116 .153 .354 .042 -.046 .233 .250 1.00
9) Trust of NGO information .208 .190 .482 .087 -.082 .373 .348 .421 1.00
10) Trust of priv. business info. .010 -.005 .164 -.106 -.017 .071 -.034 .481 .197 1.00
11) Trust of scientific info. .049 .131 .282 .170 -.004 .225 .265 .438 .524 .260 1.00
12) Trust of family/friend info. .098 .128 .245 .031 -.044 .171 .128 .180 .287 .176 .175 1.00
13) Gender .136 .096 .260 -.086 -.155 .148 .088 .087 .192 .083 .057 .103 1.00
14) Age .091 -.054 .018 .086 .072 -.041 .042 -.104 -.023 -.098 -.057 -.110 -.040 1.00
15) Education .099 .027 -.024 .168 .209 .016 .106 .045 -.033 -.092 .068 -.073 -.124 -.029 1.00
16) Household income -.011 .037 -.117 .089 .115 -.015 .042 .054 -.049 -.011 .041 -.042 -.156 -.098 .283 1.00
17) Number of kids at home -.003 .000 .014 -.066 -.055 .061 .019 .035 .055 .034 .031 .120 .090 -.348 -.099 .018 1.00
18) Wales .052 .006 .054 -.039 .002 .019 .008 .014 .021 .022 -.007 .008 .039 -.060 .003 -.022 .078 1.00
19) Scotland .005 .010 -.057 -.015 -.006 .003 .030 .053 .000 -.041 .001 -.038 .005 .109 .067 .016 -.054 -.069 1.00
20) England -.035 -.015 .009 .040 .003 -.016 -.029 -.052 -.013 .019 .005 .026 -.028 -.050 -.054 .002 -.007 -.601 -.752 1.00

Mean 17.28 3.38 15.23 0 0 2.69 0 0 3.34 2.37 3.50 3.31 1.53 45.09 2.83 3.70 1.69 0.05 0.08 0.87
Standard deviation 7.13 1.18 5.11 0.89 0.74 2.06 0.73 0.92 1.13 0.96 0.99 0.959 0.5 16.13 1.20 2.09 1.06 0.22 0.27 0.34
Min 0 1 5 -3.06 -1.83 1 -2.01 -1.55 1 1 1 1 1 16 1 1 1 0 0 0
Max 42 5 25 1.77 1.49 6 0.92 1.92 5 5 5 5 2 75 4 11 7 1 1 1
N 1513 1513 806 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513 1513
* Correlations above ± 0.051 are statistically significant at p<.05.

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Appendix 2: Factors related to consumers’ green consumption
MODEL 1— MODEL 2— MODEL 3—
Total Eco-label Non-label Users’ Likelihood
Green Impact on to Purchase
Consumption Purchasing Decisions Eco-labeled Products
Variable (full sample) (reduced sample)
Coef. SE Coef. SE Coef. SE
Trust of sources to provide information
Government 0.469** 0.241 0.129*** 0.044 0.960*** 0.223
Environmental groups 0.824*** 0.205 0.075** 0.037 1.271*** 0.188
Private business -0.075 0.213 -0.079** 0.039 -0.092 0.198
Scientists -0.879*** 0.217 0.019 0.039 -0.148 0.201
Friends/family 0.275 0.193 0.086*** 0.035 0.596*** 0.176
Pers onal knowledge
General climate change knowledge 0.580*** 0.213 0.098*** 0.039 0.147 0.189
Action-based climate change knowledge 2.478*** 0.246 0.105** 0.045 0.694*** 0.221
Personal affect
Sense of personal risk related to climate change 0.554*** 0.094 0.023 0.017 0.410*** 0.082
Sense of empowerment to address climate change 1.473*** 0.271 0.239*** 0.049 0.925*** 0.236
Controls
Gender 1.937*** 0.363 0.187*** 0.066 1.889*** 0.325
Age 0.039*** 0.012 -0.003* 0.002 0.019* 0.011
Education 0.343** 0.156 -0.013 0.028 0.020 0.137
Household income -0.097 0.087 0.016 0.016 -0.203** 0.081
Number of kids at home 0.090 0.172 -0.050 0.031 -0.129 0.155
Wales 0.884 0.792 0.041 0.144 0.314 0.720
Scotland 0.012 0.647 0.041 0.117 -1.490*** 0.596
Constant 12.661*** 1.549 2.931*** 0.281 8.796*** 1.391

N 1,278 1,278 685


F (17, N) 362.93*** 153.57*** 337.18***
R-squared .2472 .2764 .3887

All models were estimated using Tobit regression; excluded country dummy variable is England.
*** p < 0.01, ** p < 0.05, * p < 0.10