Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Determinants of Consumer Willingness to Search for Environmental-Friendly Products: A Survey

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Determinants of Consumer Willingness to Search for Environmental-Friendly Products: A Survey

Article excerpt

It is generally accepted that environmental deterioration is of importance to all societal stakeholders. A variety of studies have been conducted on the implications of various forms of environmental concerns for consumers. However, there is little research on how consumers perceive their physical environment, whether they feel they can make a difference and what determines their willingness to search for environmental friendly products offered by companies. To overcome this deficiency, this paper investigates the roles of perceived consumer effectiveness and consumer income on search for such information. A survey was conducted on a heterogeneous sample of 251 Indian consumers in India, each of whom completed a specially-developed questionnaire designed to assess each of the main variables. Their responses to the questionnaire were examined by means of structural equation modeling. This analysis showed that 67.2 percent of the variation in search for information is accounted for by perceived consumer effectiveness, while 15.2 per cent is accounted for by income. It is argued that perceived effectiveness on the part of consumers is an important determinant of their willingness to search for environmentally-friendly products. Managerial implications of this for companies offering such products are disussed

Introduction

The last few decades have witnessed unprecedented global growth in the level of concern regarding environmental issues (Berger and Kanetkar, 1991; Roberts and Bacon 1997; Schultz, 2000; Bhate, 2002). With an increase in green consumerism, corporate environmentalism, consumer ethnocentrism and growing consumer concern for the earth's physical and natural environment companies have started making use of green initiatives (Sharma et al., 1995; Egri and Herman, 2000; Jain and Kaur, 2004). In fact, the green consumerism in recent years has provided an impetus to the upsurge of corporate environmentalism because the consumers have realized the role of personal consumption in the deterioration of natural environment (Berger and Kanetkar, 1991; Sharma et al., 1995; Roberts and Bacon 1997). Marketers should necessarily understand environmental issues and be able to integrate this consideration into an appropriate marketing mix strategy (Kassarjian, 1971; Cornwell and Schwepker, 1995; Polonsky, 1995).. With a rise in ecological consciousness among the consumers and rising demand for green products, business firms have started turning green and have begun offering green products and services (Chan, K., 1999; Peattie and Ratnayaka, 1992; Polonsky, 1995; Roberts and Bacon 1997; Vandermerwe and Oliff, 1990). Marketeres are increasingly being caught in an environmental/market choice controversy that is already affecting the way many products are disposed off in the market for profits. A critical factor emerges in this controversy is the consumer, whose personal consumption and purchase decision can contribute in maintaining the environmental wellbeing and ultimately can push marketers to think otherwise (Sharma et al., 1995). Not all the consumers are equally green and demand green products (Cornwell and Schwepker, 1995; Ottman, 1992; Peattie, 1992; Schlegelmilch et al.l996; Roberts and Bacon 1997; Schwepker and Cornwell, 1991). Consumers differ in their environmental knowledge, attitude and behavior (Ottman, 1992; Peattie, 1992). The understanding of environmentally concerned consumer behavior is of importance to consumers, business professionals, marketing experts, educationists, public policy makers, social thinkers and academicians and management researchers (Egri and Herman, 2000; Joonas et al., 2005). Past research on consumers' attitudes toward the environment has been conducted mostly in the context of developed countries (Murphy et al., 1978; Manrai et al., 1997; Bodur and Sarigollu, 2005). There is a need to investigate this topic in less affluent societies like India. India stands next only to China in terms of population, accounting for about 16 per cent of the world population (Chan, 1996; Jain and Kaur, 2006). …

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