Consumers' Attitudes, Green Practices, Demographic and Social Influences, and Government Policies: An Empirical Investigation of Their Relationships

By Sharma, Bishnu; Gadenne, David | The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends, July 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Consumers' Attitudes, Green Practices, Demographic and Social Influences, and Government Policies: An Empirical Investigation of Their Relationships


Sharma, Bishnu, Gadenne, David, The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends


Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to identify consumers' attitudes towards green purchases, their perceptions of social/community influences, government policies in promoting green practices, and green behaviours.

Design/methodology/approach - The approach employed in this article was a survey and involved examination by factor analysis and determination of correlations.

Findings - The study found that most respondents believe in green purchasing. The results abo suggest that there b a positive significant association between consumers' attitudes towards green purchases and various types of green practices. Social influences abo have positive significant associations with consumers' environmental habib, their willingness to contribute money and volunteer for the protection and improvement of environment.

Keywords: Consumer environmental attitudes; environmental practices; environmental policies

JEL Classifications: D70

PsycINFO Classifications: 3920

FoR Codes: 1505

ERA Journal ID #: 40840

Introduction

Increased media coverage and pro-activity relating to issues concerning global warming, climate change and sustainability in recent times demonstrate growing recognition of the importance of green practices not only in developed economies but also in emerging economies like India and China. In developed economies, the latest trend in socially responsible investment is to identify green businesses or to look for companies which have strong environmental and management records as they are believed to be more profitable in the long term (Fung et al. 2010). Green businesses not only focus on the economic/profit aspect but also they take into account people, planet and profit or social, environmental and financial aspects in selecting and managing investment portfolios. This is linked with the concept of green development, a term used to describe economic viability in the long term by striking a 'balance between the economic, environmental and social effects of human activity over time' (Goldsmith and Samson 2006).

This economic, environmental and social balance is consistent with the World Commission on Environment and Development Report (1987) which asserts that 'humanity has the ability to make development green - to ensure that it meets the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. The Commission's report took a global perspective in their assessment of green development issues. The issue of green development has also drawn significant interest of scholars and researchers in Australia; as evidenced by Goldsmith and Samson's (2006) study which presents a framework to investigate the relationship between green development practices (including industry influence, sustainability orientation and business strategy) and long term business success.

The literature also suggests that consumers have a growing tendency towards greener products (Vermillion and Peart 2010). Several theoretical frameworks have been used and developed to explain the link between green practices and other associated factors (Cheng et al. 2014; Stern 2000, Chan 2001, Mainieri et al. 1997), including sociological models; altruism, empathy and pro-social behaviour models; economic models; psychological models; and social marketing models. Likewise, some of the factors considered in explaining the link with individuals' green practices and behaviours include demographic factors; external factors including social, economic, and cultural elements; and internal factors including awareness, values, attitudes, and emotion elements. However, it is difficult to incorporate all factors in the one model as it may not be feasible or useful due to the complexity involved in the process (Kollmuss and Agyeman 2002). Accordingly, the main aims of this study are to identify consumers' attitudes towards green purchases, their perceptions of social influences, their green behaviours, government policies in promoting green practices, and the relationships (if any) between these dimensions. …

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