Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

The Impact of Education as Mediator on Sustainable Consumer Behavior

Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

The Impact of Education as Mediator on Sustainable Consumer Behavior

Article excerpt

Introduction

Sustainable behavior is a mindset that needs to be inculcated in people. Since the concern for environment is growing among the nations of the world, sustainable marketing lias become a center of attraction for the corporate world. This concern primarily focuses on reconstructing people's attitude that incorporates a socially responsible behavior. It can be unequivocally observed around that economies, communities and societies show a concern for a better and clean environment but still that concern needs to be translated into behavior. Green marketing is one of a kind which suggests incorporating sustainable marketing practices into new product development, starting from production phase through to disposal - illustrating a precautionary measure against ecological hazards by businesses. Ecological alternatives are being adopted in the developed world but the initiatives do not erase the footprints that human civilization lias left as a consequence of industrialization and new developments in the last one hundred years.

This study intends to fill that vacuum by investigating the right opportunities and actions which developed countries have pursued to bring about sustainability among consumers and what effect if any has been witnessed in sustainable consumer behavior. Since sustainable marketing efforts showed potential for all stakeholders (Verman & Costa, 2008), tliis study also seeks to determine stimulants for sustainable consumer behavior initiated at the corporate level as well as the social level. In tliis regard, education by far plays a pivotal role in shaping sustainable behavior (UN, 1993).

This doctrine is supported by the fact that in countries like the United States and the UK, institutions are being asked by large corporations to include environmental education in their curricula. For instance in UK, experts have suggested curriculum development panels to include such contents related to environment which may possibly develop key skills among students to practice environmentalism (Quality Assurance, 2000). Tliis practice would inspire graduates to adopt pro-environmental behavior and promote it when they start as working professionals. However, it still remains to be ascertained whether education and awareness is motivating consumers to develop sustainable behavior. The Scandinavian countries have recently proven to have implemented the most successful education systems in terms of knowledge and skill development. Coincidentally, these countries are also leaders in environmental protection and conservation. But it still remains to be seen how much of pro-environmental behavior results from a formal, curriculum based environmental education and whether sustainable consumption forms as a result of such behavior. At a time when the Sustainability Decade 2005-2015 UN Earth Summit (UN, 2002) is nearing its end, it becomes all the more pertinent to determine how much we have collectively achieved and reformed. Where developed countries in Emope and elsewhere have succeeded in implementing sustainability education in the curricula, a vast majority of underdeveloped and developing countries have lagged behind. Developing countries are far behind in incorporating education as a tool to embrace environmentalism.

The present study is a follow up to a preliminary finding of the researcher that people in developing countries are not ready to adopt such behavior because of many socio-economic factors including a lack of ecological knowledge and awareness (Hamid, 2008). In the light of that framework, tliis study would determine how strong a role education and strategic predisposition might play in affecting sustainable consumer behavior in developing countries. The present study would help countries like Pakistan to revamp educational policies for the wellbeing of nature and environment and to create market trends leaning towards "corporate environmentalism' (Banerjee, 2003). In addition, it is the right time that corporations in developing countries must be predisposed towards embedded sustainability. …

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