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One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

An exploratory study of consumer environmental behaviour across three countries

Received (in revised form): 12th November, 2001

Seema Bhate
is a senior lecturer in Marketing at Sunderland University. He is currently involved in teaching Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Research at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Seemas research interests include areas of consumer innovativeness, environmental issues and advertising.

Environment, innovators/ adaptors, involvement, country, awareness

Abstract The environment as an issue has been central to a number of conferences and debates held worldwide. This indicates the growing concern regarding environmental issues on the part of various nations. It is apparent that both public support and political efforts are required to halt environmental deterioration. Members of the public need to display a change in attitude and governments need policies and strategies to channel this change in appropriate directions. The present study concentrates on the aspect of public awareness and how this translates to their purchase of environmentally friendly products. The theoretical framework incorporates respondents from three countries. The main aim is to investigate differences in public awareness and behaviour based on individual variables, such as Cognitive style and Involvement, and broad factors, such as the economic and developmental stages of the countries included in the sample. Data has been collected from a sample of 132 respondents. The results indicate that the attitudes and behaviour of UK respondents are generally non-committal, whereas the sample from India displays a more involved attitude, which is reected in their purchasing behaviour. The availability and the price of environmentally friendly products have been identied as the most signicant issues common to India, Greece and the UK. Cognitive style analysis indicates that innovators are responsible for generating a range of qualitative differences, whereas the differences highlighted by Involvement are quantitative in nature.
INTRODUCTION The last few decades have witnessed unprecedented global growth in the level of concern regarding environmental issues. This concern has been increasingly echoed during various conferences, which have been held worldwide. There is consensus among policymakers that action to protect the environment needs to be underway now if any further damage is to be prevented. There is, however, less clarity among nations regarding their perceived role in this process. This has led to conict between richer and poorer countries, particularly over the proportion of responsibility each should share. While this controversy continues on the political front, the present paper focuses on the issue of public concern regarding environmental issues. The purpose of this paper is to report a preliminary investigation aimed at determining the extent to which people are aware of environmental issues and, further, to examine whether their

Seema Bhate Senior Lecturer, University of Sunderland, Business School, Room 203D, St Peters Campus, Sunderland SR6 ODD, UK Tel: 44 (0)191 515 2311 Fax: 44 (0)191 515 2308 E-mail: seema.bhate@ sunderland.ac.uk.

Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817


Seema Bhate

awareness is reected in their buying activities. In a comprehensive review of public opinion studies, Dunlap (1997) indicates that public concern regarding environmental issues has generally escalated in the last few decades. Initially, this concern was the preserve of a minority, but increasingly it has become global in nature as the international community acknowledges the environmental risks (Smith, 1990; Roper Organisation, 1992; Wheatly, 1993; McCormick, 1995; Coleman, 1994; Lofstedt, 1995; Arvind and Muley, 1995; Caldwell, 1997). Disasters, such as Chernobyl, brought the stark realisation that though we live in different countries which have well-dened boundaries, we share a common environment; disasters in one place can have a disruptive impact half-way around the world. The accident at Chernobyl, for instance, rendered livestock in Cumbria unt for human consumption for a considerable period. A number of studies have also reported an increased public participation in environmentally friendly activities, such as the donation of money to charities involved in environmental issues, the buying of products which do not harm the environment, the purchase of cleaner fuel and organic food and an increased involvement with recycling activities (Kinnear and Taylor, 1973; The Economist, 1990; Martin and Simintiras, 1995; Ottoman, 1994; Mintel, 1989). Evidence also suggests that such efforts, whether mandatory or obligatory, have resulted in improvements in pollution levels (Clement, 2000). Despite evidence of an increase in levels of environmental concern and behaviour (Stisser, 1994), at this stage it is difcult to establish the relative importance of public effort and government legislation in bringing about these changes. Also debatable is the degree of public involvement in environmental issues. Evidence indicates that purchase behaviour is

inuenced by convenience and price and not by environmental issues (Bhate and Lawler, 1997; Jain, 1995). Environmentally friendly activities similar to the ones mentioned above may represent a step in the right direction, but such efforts have to be sustained and widely adopted to generate long-lasting benets. This may be achieved by a commitment on behalf of the public to improve the environment (Trivedi and Raj, 1992). But the current extent of awareness and depth of knowledge as a result of efforts to educate the public is unclear and is open to question. Dunlap (1997) sums the situation up by pointing out that awareness has had a relatively limited behavioural impact. Environmental behaviour has largely been described as pathetically low, partial, fragmented and generally limited (Meacher, 2000; Pridham, Verney and Konstadakopulos, 1995; Tilikidou, 2001). The following section presents an overview of the theoretical framework of the study. Theoretical Perspective The current research framework has been drawn from the literature available in the context of values. Values imply a code or a standard which has some persistence through time, or, more broadly put, which organises a system of action (Kluckhohn, 1951). This system of action is inuenced by available modes, means and ends of action, which in part operate within cultural boundaries (Kluckhohn, 1951). Therefore the connes that individuals nd themselves in vary from one culture to another as, different cultures are tied to different conceptualisation (Kluckhohn, 1951). Rokeach (1973) offers empirical support for this. He reports ndings from data collected from various sources on American, Canadian, Australian and Israeli male college students. The results highlighted demographic and cultural variations in terminal and instrumental


Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817

One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

values among the groups studied. Vinson, Scott and Lamont (1977) also found some evidence for this when they found that culturally different groups varied in their basic value orientations. Vinson, Scott and Lamont (1997) present an elaborate framework of individual belief system, which integrates generalised global values, domain specic values and beliefs relating to product attributes. These values are placed in a hierarchical arrangement to emphasise their relative importance and levels of abstraction. Global values are broad in their orientation and are more abstract. They are concerned with the desired state of existence. The domain-specic values are deep-rooted personal values and provide a signicant link between global values and beliefs regarding product attributes. Vinson, Scott and Lamont (1997) identify the inuence of socio-cultural values, economic and familial environment on the formation and development of the individualbelief system. Dembkowski and Hannmer-Lloyd (1997) further this notion by providing an extensive elaboration of an individual belief system in the context of environmental issues. They emphasise its signicance in understanding the gap that exists between environmental values and behaviour. They interpret global values, such as the one relating to preservation of nature to lead to domain-specic values of preference for environmentally friendly products which in turn would lead to evaluation of product attributes in terms of how environmentally friendly they are (in Figure 1, p. 449; also see Rokeach, 1973). They also however, indicate that in reality numerous partly noncompatible values exist to each other when judging a concrete product. The proposed structure suggests that the on-going commitment to the environment and associated behavioural activities may be a function of broad and individual factors. In the

context of broad factors the understanding of global values have facilitated the selection of consumers from three countries; UK, India and Greece. The selection of these countries has been guided by their developmental stages with the assumption that the consumers awareness and behaviour towards environmental issues would be inuenced by their countrys economic status (Vinson, Scott and Lamont, 1977). Therefore at a broad level, economic and developmental factors are expected to determine the scope of behaviour by providing a framework in which environmental actions may take place. Since the countries selected in the current study are in different stages of development, it is hypothesised that the degree of environmental awareness and its effective translation into actions will vary from one country to another as the value orientations can also vary across geographical regions (Vinson, Scott and Lamont, 1977; Simintiras, Schlegelmilch and Diamantopoulos, 1994; also see Peattie, 1995). As the previous discussion highlights, there has been an increase in the level of global concern regarding environmental issues among consumers and individual factors are therefore of particular interest to the present study. In the context of an individuals role in value formation Bateson (1951) comments that there is a philosophy behind how individuals and groups organise their ways of living but each personality gives to this philosophy an idiosyncratic coloring, and creative individuals will markedly reshape it. In a similar vein, Vinson, Scott and Lamont (1977) indicate that values are responsible for the selection and maintenance of the ends or goals toward which human beings strive and at the same time, regulate the methods and manner in which this striving takes place. The latter parts of both quotes are particularly relevant at the domainspecic level where the inclusion of individual variables, such as Cognitive

Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817


Seema Bhate

style and Involvement may explain variations in the extent of environmental behaviour within the context of the countries concerned thereby providing a better understanding of the role individual differences play in the environmental buying process. Background Information for the Proposed Framework Broad Factors An examination of the state of the environmental scene across three countries may highlight the underlying signicance of economic and developmental factors in the environmental awareness and behavioural process. Although a general increase in the levels of pollution can be observed, largely attributable to the sharp increase in the number of automobiles, reasons for the increase may be embedded in pre- and postdevelopmental factors. These factors lend themselves to the creation of an economic development continuum on which UK can be located at one end, India at the other and Greece in the middle. The emerging pattern therefore may indicate that broad factors have had an impact on the advancement of environmental behaviour. The current proposition is that India may be in the early introductory stage as far as environmental behaviour is concerned as the impatience for rapid economic growth has created a situation where a compromise between environmental welfare and economic development seems to be inevitable (see: Menon, 1997; Jain, 1995; Rekhi, 1995; Agarwal, Sharma and Rowchowdhury, 1996). In Greece, the increase in pollution is, to a large extent, a result of the countrys recent economic stability, which has resulted in an increase in real disposable incomes which in turn has led to an increase in the number of cars (Sarantis and Partners, 2000; Food Market Reports, 1996; Newsletter, EFGP, 1997). In economic terms, Greece may be rated

more highly than India. Recent economic stability may to a certain extent have satised peoples immediate economic needs thus allowing them to divert their attention towards environmental issues Environmental behaviour may therefore be in the late introductory stage. Environmental degradation in the UK has been an integral part of the developmental process, which western countries underwent a few decades ago (Macnaghten and Urry, 1997; Clement, 2000). But the post-developmental stage may have witnessed a shift towards a new environmental paradigm as the country, having been through the development process, acknowledges the damage technological advances can cause to the environment (see Dunlap and Van Liere, 1978; 1984). In the UK therefore, it may be in the growth stage as the public concern regarding environmental issues are on the increase.

Individual Factors The Cognitive styles as identied in Kirtons Adaptation Innovation Inventory (KAI) and Involvement as measured by Zaichowskys Personal Involvement scale (INV) are being used to gauge individual factors. KAI is primarily concerned with the identication of innovative and adaptive styles of decision making and problem solving. It is concerned with the preferred style adopted by individuals for information processing rather than their cognitive ability. Innovators are characterised by traits such as exibility, extroversion, independence and impulsiveness. Adaptors are described as dogmatic, cautious, shy and dependent (see Goldsmith, 1984; 1989). Past investigations indicate that these styles of decision making and problem solving are also manifested in the context of individual buying behaviour. In earlier studies contrary to their expectations,


Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817

One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

Foxall and Haskins discovered that the relationship between KAI and buying behaviour is far from being linear (Foxall and Haskins, 1986; 1987). Subsequent investigations supported these ndings and revealed a more complex link between the two (Foxall and Bhate, 1991; 1993a,b,c). Adaptors, who are described in the traditional mode as laggards, were represented in the early adopter category alongside innovators. There were however, variations in the type of products each group purchased, which led to qualitative differences; innovators opted for products that were discontinuous in nature, whereas adaptors purchased new products that could be classied as continuous innovations (see Robertson, 1976). Further understanding of this was acquired by inclusion of involvement as a mediating variable. Highly involved adaptors prefer to stay within the connes of the known, therefore will conduct a systematic search before the adoption of a product. Once convinced of the product relevance they nd it relatively easy to commit themselves to a product or an issue of interest on a long-term basis and will also adopt subsequent innovations introduced in that product category. Innovators are similarly capable of maintaining high levels of involvement, however this tends to be in short bursts. Innovators are more likely to adopt unconventional methods of information gathering such as experimentation. It is currently expected that both innovators and adaptors would display environmentally friendly behaviour but the type, the quantity of products purchased and the decision-making activities would signicantly vary. This will therefore generate a range of qualitative (in terms of the type of products purchased, ie continuous or discontinuous) and quantitative differences (in terms of the number of products purchased) across the three samples.

Hypotheses The variables specied above serve as the basis for the hypotheses. The current premise is that environmental buying behaviour will take place in both circles, thereby representing individual efforts and a countrys collective behaviour based on its economic situation. But it is expected that the shared plane between broad and individual factors may provide a better on-going understanding of commitment towards environmental behaviour (Figure 1). It is proposed that the Indian sample will be expected to give prime consideration to economic issues, therefore involvement in environmental issues will be rated lower compared with the other two samples (Jain, 1995). Past investigations suggest that the Indian sample is generally more adaptive than their UK counterparts (Hossaini, 1981; Kirton, 1987). It is therefore expected that the Indian sample will demonstrate more adaptive behaviour. Theoretically, it is expected that the UK sample will lead in terms of adoption of Green products. Since environmental behaviour is still in its growth stage in the UK, innovators will be expected to play a signicant part in the purchasing process (Bhate and Lawler, 1997). It is expected that the Greek sample will be between the UK and the Indian samples as far as environmental behaviour is concerned. The Greek sample is also expected to display low involvement as far as the environmental behaviour is concerned; as evidence indicates that respondents may still rate

Individual factors


Broad factors

Figure 1: Environmental Behaviour (EB)

Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817


Seema Bhate

materialistic consumption high on their priority list (Newsletter, EFGP, 1997; Pridham, Verney and Konstadakopulos, 1995). Comparable data on KAI is not available from Greece. Summarising the foregoing discussion, three distinct proles can be formed utilising broad and individual factors. As far as environmental behaviour is concerned: the UK sample will be highly involved in environmental issues and will be more innovative in KAI terms the Indian sample will be the least involved in environmental issues and will be most adaptive in KAI terms. the Greek sample will also be less involved in environmental issues. There are behavioural implications associated with these descriptions (Foxall and Bhate, 1993a,b; Bhate and Lawler, 1997). In behavioural terms, the Indian sample will resemble the category of less involved adaptors. Therefore they will not be concerned with environmental issues in general. There will be no conscious attempt on their part to buy or use green products. Any use will be as a result of a legislative requirement. The behavioural activities of the UK sample will be similar to that of highly involved innovators. This indicates that there will be a pattern of frequent purchase behaviour, based on novelty seeking and a desire to experiment with new products. The Greek respondents will represent the category of low involvement. They will also display a general apathy toward environmental products. Like their Indian counterparts, a legislative push will be a likely reason for a purchase or use of environmentally friendly products. H1 : Broad factors The UK sample will display the most environmentally friendly behaviour followed by the Greek sample. The environmentally friendly behaviour will

be minimal in the Indian context. H2 : Individual factors Across the sample innovators and adaptors will display quantitative and qualitative differences. Across the sample high involvement will lead to quantitative differences. SAMPLE DESIGN A sample of 132 students was recruited from India, Greece and the UK in their country of origin. All the students were studying for an MBA. Considering the exploratory nature of the study the rationale for selecting MBA students as the sample was two-fold. First of all, it enabled the researcher to limit the number of variables in the study in order to generate a comparable sample thereby allowing the author to conduct a comparative analysis (see Rokeach, 1973). Although inclusion of members of general population in the study would have provided a better understanding of environmental behaviour but it would also have generated a range of demographic variables. Empirical evidence in the case of demographic variables is inconsistent (see Arcury, Scollay and Johnson, 1987; Buttel and Flinn, 1978; Roberts, 1996; Vining and Ebero, 1990; Antil, 1984; Balderjahn, 1988; Koeing, 1975; Van Liere and Dunlap, 1980; 1981). Secondly, the knowledge of English was essential as the questionnaires used in the study were in English. Therefore selection of MBA students ensured that the respondents achieved the necessary level of uency in English to enable them to answer the questionnaires especially KAI. The delivery medium for all the MBA modules was English. Of the three questionnaires used in the study the rst was KAI, which gathered data on Cognitive styles; the second (PII referred to as INV in the study) collected data on involvement levels. The third considered various aspects of environmental behaviour, such as number of environmentally friendly products purchased, price as a


Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817

One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

deterrent, recycling activities undertaken and other factors that may inuence environmental behaviour. The KAI consists of 33 items and is generally treated as a ve-point scale with very hard at one end and very easy at the other. The respondents identify their position on the scale by placing a cross (X) at the preferred option. Zaichowskys measure of Involvement (PII), operationalised in terms of personal relevance, comprises 10 items each with a seven-point scale aimed at examining respondents levels of involvement on a particular product. Both KAI and PII have received thorough empirical testing and have been found to be highly reliable and valid (Kirton, 1976; Zaichowsky, 1985). For the purpose of the analysis the sample has been divided into groups of two, based on KAI and INV means each. Respondents scoring higher than the KAI mean have been categorised as innovators (classed as adaptors if scored lower than the KAI sample mean) and highly involved if their involvement score was higher than the INV mean (classed as less involved if scored lower than the INV sample mean). This procedure led to four groups in total.

RESULTS The overall KAI mean is 96.64 (SD14.49) and INV mean is 52.62 (SD 12.66). The reliability Alpha scores for KAI and INV are 0.81 and 0.92 respectively (see Table 1). There are 66 Adaptors and Innovators. There are signicant differences between the KAI and INV scores across the three countries. The Indian sample has 40 respondents. The KAI and INV means stand at 90.97 (SD16.28) and 56.75 (SD 15.28), respectively. The UK sample has 50 respondents. KAI and INV stand at 100.99 (SD 17.75) and 47.36 (SD 11.06), respectively. The Greek sample has 42 respondents. The KAI and INV means fall in the middle of the other two countries. They stand at 96.85 (SD 11.81) and 54.97 (INV SD 8.52), respectively. As can be seen, the UK sample is more innovative than either the Greek or the Indian sample. The Involvement mean scores also indicate a statistically signicant contrast. The Indian sample is the most involved followed by the Greek sample. The UK sample is the least involved. Table 2 displays the environmental behavioural analysis of the three samples. The results presented indicate

Table 1 General characteristics of the sample Overall sample KAI mean (SD) INV mean (SD) 96.64 (14.49) 52.62 (12.86) UK KAI mean (SD) INV mean (SD) 100.99 (17.75) 47.36 (11.06) F ratio KAI and Countries (2, 129) INV and Countries (2, 129) 5.69 7.89 Reliability KAI INV

Greece 96.85 (11.81) 54.97 (8.52) Signicance 0.001 0.001

India 90.97 (16.26) 55.75 (15.28)

0.81 0.92

Standard deviation.

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Seema Bhate

signicant differences in the case of a range of environmentally friendly activities. The following paragraph highlights these differences. As compared with the other two samples, signicant difference could be observed in the UK sample. They recycle bottles more (chi-value 10.10, sig: 0.006); purchase recycled tissues (chi value 5.69, sig: 0.05); consider environmentally friendly products as more expensive (chi value 15.88, sig: 0.003); buy lead-free petrol (chi value 7.03, sig: 0.003) and do not intend to change their supermarkets if the environmentally friendly option is unavailable in their supermarkets. The Indian sample also shared the view that prices of environmentally friendly products are high. They consider nonavailability of the green products as a major issue (chi value 17.27, sig: 0.000) and they are willing to change their supermarkets as a result (chi value 9.04, sig: 0.06). They buy products with

recycled packaging and contain no animal fat (chi value 7.03, sig: 0.03). The Greek sample lies in the middle of the two samples when activities, such as recycling bottles and purchase of leadfree petrol are considered. Like their Indian counter-part they also consider availability as crucial and are willing to change their supermarket as a result. (A more detailed description of this table in terms of percentages is presented in the appendix section). Table 3 presents differences in environmental behaviour based on cognitive style. The 56 per cent of Innovators indicate that they recycle bottles frequently, whereas only 36 per cent of adaptors report this to be the case (chi-value: 4.82, sig: 0.03). Only 20 per cent (but statistically signicant; chivalue: 5.32, sig: 0.02) of adaptors, however are more likely to donate money to charities involved in environmental issues. Signicantly more innovators purchase organically

Table 2 Comparison among countries (%) Df Recycling bottles Green products are expensive Price affects the purchase Availability Willingness to change the retail outlet Purchase recycled tissues Food containing no animal fat Purchase of lead-free petrol Recycled packaging (hand and facial creams)

n 61 99 96 65 76 76 66 82 63

UK 62 92 74 34 44 64 42 90 30

India 28 70 70 75 67 60 68 35 68

Greece 45 59 74 43 64 48 42 55 50

Chi-value 10.10a 15.88a 8.68c 17.27a 9.04c 5.69b 7.03b 29.98a 12.65a

2 2 4 2 2 2 2 2 2

p < 0.006; b p < 0.05; c p < 0.07.

Table 3 Comparison between adaptors and innovators df Recycling bottles Donate money to charities Purchase of organically grown foods Purchase of lead-free petrol

n 37 13 38 48

Chi-value 4.82b 5.32b 9.39a 6.31b

1 1 1 1

p < 0.006; b p < 0.05. No. of adaptors 66, no. of innovators 66 (the whole sample).


Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817

One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

grown products (58 per cent) and leadfree petrol (73 per cent) when compared with adaptors. Only 32 per cent of adaptors have reported that they purchase organically produced goods and 52 per cent have indicated that they buy lead-free petrol (chi-value: 9.39, sig: 0.002; chi-value: 6.31, sig: 0.01). Table 4 considers the behavioural differences identied by Involvement. Of the highly involved respondents 81 per cent recycle newspapers (chi-value: 6.59, sig: 0.01), 40 per cent donate money to charities involved in green issues (chi-value: 3.90, sig: 0.05). Highly involved respondents (67 per cent) also indicate that availability of these products is a problem and 66 per cent said they would change their supermarkets in order to locate these in other retail outlets (chi-value: 8.34, sig: 0.004; chi-value: 1010, sig: 0.006). Signicantly more highly involved respondents have bought facial creams with an emphasis on recycled packaging (chi-value: 10.00, sig: 0.002). Respondents with low involvement (72 per cent) purchased lead-free petrol, signicantly more than highly involved respondents (chi-value: 15.23, sig: 0.006). Interpretation of the Results The results indicate that both variables have had an impact on buying behaviour. At a broad level, analysis of the results from the three countries suggests that UK respondents consider the prices of the environmentally

friendly products to be high. This sometimes affects their decision to purchase of Green products. They purchase lead-free petrol and recycled tissues but are reluctant to change their supermarkets if the Green product they want to purchase is unavailable. The Indian sample strongly indicates that non-availability of environmentally friendly products is a major issue and that respondents are willing to change their retail outlet as a result of this. They also however, indicate that the high price of Green products may be a prohibitory factor at times. Like their UK counterparts, the Indian respondents are also more likely to purchase recycled tissues but extend the activity further to include purchase of products with recycled packaging. They are also more likely to purchase food containing no animal fat. Fewer Greek than UK respondents complained about Green products being expensive. Greek respondents also express the view that high prices sometimes affect their buying of Green products. Although availability is not seen as a problem, they clearly indicate that if the Green alternative is not available then they would not hesitate to change their supermarket. Purchase of lead-free petrol and products, which emphasise recycled packaging place Greece in the middle of the other two countries. Considering the individual factors it can be seen that the highly involved respondents recycle newspapers and donate money to charities concerned

Table 4 Comparison between involvement levels. No. of highly involved respondents 63 (the whole sample) df Recycling newspaper Donating money to charities involved in green issues Availability Willingness to change the retail outlet Purchase of lead-free petrol Recycled packaging (hand and facial creams)

n 51 25 42 48 50 42

Chi-value 6.59b 3.90b 8.34a 10.10a 15.23a 10.00a

1 1 1 1 1 1

p < 0.006; b p < 0.05.

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Seema Bhate

with environmental issues. They purchase hand/facial cream with an emphasis on recycled packaging. They also consider non-availability of environmentally friendly products to be a problem and are willing to change their retail outlet as a result. Purchase of lead-free petrol however, is attributable to low involvement respondents. Differences highlighted by KAI indicate that adaptors donate money to charities whereas innovators are more likely to purchase organically grown foods; leadfree petrol and recycle bottles. Combining the Two Factors The two factors need to be considered jointly to understand the overall impact. The issue of recycling has revealed an interesting pattern. While the more involved respondents recycle newspapers, the innovators have opted for recycling bottles. Whether this is due to the fact that innovators have exercised their innate need to do something different or not is explained by the inclusion of the analysis of countries. High involvement is a feature of the Indian sample in this study where newspapers have been recycled regularly on a mass scale as a part of economic need, whereas promotion of recycling as an environmentally friendly activity is more recent in the UK. It may therefore be suggested that given this situation the innovative group in the UK has displayed its need to do something different. Respondents in the UK sample consider the price of environmentally friendly products to be high, whereas respondents in the Indian sample, while agreeing with the high prices, also complained about non-availability. The nding also has the same underlying rationale as mentioned above. There is evidence that environmentally friendly products have received increased shelfspace in recent years therefore UK respondents nd themselves in a situation where they can conduct an evaluation of these products in terms of

prices. This is further backed by the knowledge that innovators make more organic purchases. Organic brands generally are more expensive than their counterparts. The Indian sample do not have the option of comparing prices as unavailability has proved to be a major disruptive factor in the buying process. But, within the situational connes, there exists a segment in each country, which reports that the high price of Green products can be a key determinant variable in their purchase decision regarding environmentally friendly products. The Involvement mean of this segment is signicantly higher than the other respondents who have reported that high prices of Green products either always affect their buying or do not affect it at all (df 3, 3.963; sig. 0.021). This group is of particular relevance to the future of the environmental process. Purchase of lead-free petrol by the UK sample and the less involved respondents may indicate that easy availability has been a major buying criterion. DISCUSSION Interpreting the results in terms of the hypotheses, it can be seen that the country of residence has inuenced purchasing behaviour by highlighting a range of quantitative and qualitative differences. But the hypothesised order has not been conrmed. The Indian sample is most involved and accordingly has displayed environmentally friendly behaviour not dissimilar to that of the UK sample. The behaviour of the Greek sample in the context of the purchase of products such as lead-free petrol and those with recycled packaging is in-between the two samples; but in certain cases the Greek respondents are more involved than the UK sample (for example, they are more keen to change their supermarket). Therefore, contrary to the earlier discussion, the Indian and the Greek samples have displayed either similar or more involved


Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817

One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

environmentally friendly behaviour than the UK sample. On the basis of the evidence the rst hypothesis is rejected. Involvement has had a major impact on purchasing behaviour. The involved respondents have generated quantitative differences. The results indicate that they undertake more environmentally friendly activities when compared with low involved respondents. Similarly, analysis using KAI has highlighted quantitative and qualitative differences. Innovators buy organic food, lead-free petrol and recycle bottles, whereas adaptors donate money to charities. There is evidence to accept the second hypothesis. Careful scrutiny of the products purchased may identify a signicant underlying pattern. Viewed from an involvement perspective, activities undertaken and products purchased in the UK may be regarded as noncommittal. To consider an example, lead-free petrol is widely available in the UK. There has been encouragement on the part of the government, which has constantly kept down the price of lead-free petrol compared with the available alternatives. A similar explanation may be offered in the context of other activities such as the purchase of products with recycled packaging and the recycling of bottles. These products/facilities are also widely available in most supermarkets. This, combined with their declaration that high prices of environmentally friendly products sometimes affects their buying and their reluctance to change their supermarkets on account of non-availability of products, is indicative of an attitude which is largely based on convenience and low involvement. This has had a considerable impact on the formation of a dedicated attitude towards the environment. The current framework can also underpin the purchase patterns identied by KAI. Viewed from the cognitive style perspective in the UK, the innovative segment appears to be

dominantly represented in the environmental process. This pattern matches the trend highlighted by a previous study (Bhate and Lawler, 1997) which postulated the environmental behaviour to be still in its developmental phase. The innovators can therefore be seen as the initiators of this process. Innovators have demonstrated their innate need to try something different by opting for organically grown products and recycling bottles when recycling newspaper is just becoming a norm. Although the present results indicate that adaptors donate money to charities involved in the environmental cause, nevertheless the extent of their participation in the buying process of environmentally friendly products is not as great as that of the innovative group. Although limited, statistically signicant results have been obtained in the case of adaptors; the general trend highlighted by the analysis can be interpreted in an adaptive behavioural context. The combination of highly involved respondents in the study and the Indian sample may lead us to conclude that adaptors have also been crucial to the established environmental cause in India. Factors/issues, such as purchase of products with recycled packaging, dissatisfaction with the nonavailability of Green alternatives, willingness to change their retail outlet on account of non-availability and donation of money to charities may be viewed as a reection of adaptive behaviour. As theorised earlier, adaptors once convinced of an issue, would do everything possible to put their beliefs into action. This behaviour is in accordance with Kirtons theory (1976). Analysis of the data from the Indian respondents highlights a more involved sample and indicates that the existing environmental efforts in the country are not entirely due to economic necessity. Economic necessity may have been the

Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817


Seema Bhate

initial reason for environmental activities but the current results indicate the presence of highly involved customers thus highlighting the notion that involvement plays a signicant role in the shaping of environmental behaviour. The debate as to whether there is a trade-off between economic development and environmental welfare may therefore have become blurred. The premise that striving to achieve western levels of afuence can only be attained at the expense of environmental welfare has received little support in the current study. The Indian sample has clearly shown regard for environmental issues, therefore the trade-off issue raised previously in the discussion, may not be important. If adequate Green alternatives are available, involved people may not require a great deal of persuasion to change. A previous study indicates that when questioned about their personal interests the Indian sample rated environmental issues as number three out of a total of 19 issues (Jain, 1995). The Greek sample also shows a similar tendency. They have also declared their intention of changing their supermarket if environmentally friendly products are not available. Establishing the relative signicance of the two variables is not possible. The contrasting situation highlighted by the study may suggest a possible interaction between the two variables in the shared plane highlighted previously. The Indian case indicates the existence of an adaptive segment and a demand for environmentally friendly products but highlights the inability of the system to cater for it. In India the major consideration therefore is to full the existing or potential demand by making products available on a large scale. The UK has the technology and resources to bring about the required changes to ensure that products are environmentally friendly and is also able to provide facilities so that such activities (eg recycling) can be

undertaken. The existence of innovators would facilitate the adoption process; nevertheless it is characterised by individual lack of involvement. Therefore availability may also be crucial in this context. In the absence of any measure to increase involvement on a large scale, perhaps making products conveniently located in retail outlets may increase the likelihood of a purchase. In the Greek context, although availability is not seen as a problem at present, if it does become an issue, respondents have indicated their willingness to change their retail outlet in the pursuit of Green alternatives. The contrast in the situations highlighted above also leads to the identication of two variables common to all three samples, namely availability and price. As far as the future of the environmental buying process is concerned these two factors would need to be considered jointly before any strategy could be formulated. At a very general level it may therefore be recommended that making these products available on a large scale at affordable prices may generate solutions right across the spectrum. Practical Implications The results from this study are particularly relevant in the context of two points highlighted at the beginning of the study. One point concerns the apportioning of responsibility between richer and poorer nations. The other point concerns the need for a joint effort between policymakers and the public to lessen damage to the environment. Crucial to these points the current results indicate the growing global nature of environmental awareness and behaviour. As discussed above, for different reasons availability and price were seen as key variables in the buying process of the environmentally friendly products across the three countries studied. This may indicate that there is a move towards one world as far as environmental issues are concerned.


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One world, one environment, one vision: Are we close to achieving this?

This presents clear opportunities to policymakers, manufactures and retailers. Marketing efforts have been blamed for adopting strategies which have led to over-consumption in the past (Peattie, 1995). In response to this, marketers can develop strategies to steer marketing efforts towards the new environmental paradigm. Adoption of a push strategy would, for example, make Green alternatives available at affordable prices, providing them with the opportunity to ll the current gap in the market. The results indicate that there are highly involved respondents who at times have to decide against buying Green alternatives as a result of high prices. This segment presents a vast potential to marketers. Acting on this may be crucial to success in the market place of the future (Peattie and Ringler, 1994). Evidence suggests that this may already be underway (14/06/ 2000; BBC NEWS). In addition to ensuring the availability of Green products, marketers also need to consider the nature of the buying process of environmentally friendly products. Knowledge of individual factors therefore may be vital in understanding the behaviouristic differences among consumers. The innovative and adaptive styles vary in their approaches to Green issues and the decision making they employ prior to a purchase being made. Understanding of these differences will also aid the development of advertisements tailored to the specic needs of various consumer segments. In the UK the environmental process is still in the growth stage and is dominated by less involved innovators, therefore the advertising message will need to take into account the need for innovators to try new and novel products based on impulse or experimentation. In India, however, the environmental scene may be represented by more adaptors, perhaps highly involved, who will have to be convinced by the advertisements

that the products are genuinely Green thereby reducing any possibility of confusion or suspicion (The Economist, 1990; Market Research Great Britain, 1990). CONCLUSION AND FUTURE RESEARCH The study considered the role that individual and broad factors play in determining environmental behaviour. The conceptual framework within which this was studied included three countries and two individual variables in the belief that theoretically a combination of these would generate a range of behavioural differences. The results suggest that both factors are crucial to environmental awareness and behaviour among consumers. The broad factors control a range of situational factors, however, within the framework of the countries it is the individual factors, which will determine the nature of environmental adoption. While involvement generated quantitative differences, KAI highlighted a range of qualitative behavioural variations. This study has clearly demonstrated the relevance of broad and individual factors in determining environmental behaviour but its preliminary nature needs to be emphasised. This issue needs to be further examined by use of a larger sample to re-ascertain the signicance of variables included in the study. Lack of information on consumers environmental awareness and behaviour, especially from India and Greece, however, may prove problematic for future studies, as has been in the present study. The literature available is largely concerned with environmental pollutants and government legislation. REFERENCES
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Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 2, 2, 169184 #Henry Stewart Publications 1472-0817