Exploring Green Consumers' Mind-set towards green product design and life cycle assessment: the case of sceptical Brazilian and Portuguese green consumers
Publication typeJournal article with impact factor
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Publication Begin page619
Publication End page630
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBusinesses are increasingly interested in exploring the key concepts of industrial ecology (IE), particularly within the context of market‐oriented sustainability. However, few studies have researched how green consumers perceive production as having relevant product design and life cycle assessment (LCA) dimensions. In this article, we explore green consumers’ mind‐set toward such system tools of IE by conducting 18 in‐depth interviews with Brazilian and Portuguese green consumers. We propose a simplified theoretical framework for achieving market‐oriented sustainability based on the multidisciplinary potential between IE and marketing. Our analysis suggests that there are still important gaps between what green consumers demand and what businesses are currently able (or willing) to supply. Our findings support the idea that businesses interested in following IE within the context of market‐oriented sustainability should spend greater effort in understanding the green consumer's production‐related mind‐set. In particular, we propose (1) avoiding consumer skepticism and dissatisfaction with greenwashing and (2) establishing credibility and information transparency. Both seem to act as preconditions to better align the product design and LCA processes with green consumer needs within the emerging paradigm of market‐oriented sustainability.
KeywordConsumer Skepticism, Green Consumers, Green Production, Greenwashing, Industrial Ecology, Market-oriented Sustainability
Knowledge Domain/IndustryMarketing & Sales
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Exploring green consumers' product demands and consumption processes: The Case of Portuguese green consumersLuzio, J.P.P.; Lemke, Fred (European Business Review, 2013)Purpose ‐ There is a research gap in terms of understanding how green consumers perceive green products in a marketplace context. The purpose of this paper is to respond to this omission by exploring the green consumers' product demands and consumption processes. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Semi-structured in-depth interviews with Portuguese green consumers are used to discuss potential key factors (reasons to buy green products, defining green product characteristics, feelings about pricing, perceived product confidence, willingness to compromise, environmental knowledge, consideration of alternatives, product's point of purchase and use and disposal). Findings ‐ The analysis indicates that green consumers represent an artificial segment and provides further empirical support to the definition of sustainability as a market-oriented concept. The paper's findings suggest that mainstreaming green products is a more positive alternative than green segmentation. Research limitations/implications ‐ This research is exploratory in nature and the authors followed established guidelines to ensure objectivity. However, the study's findings are restricted to Portuguese green consumers and a replication in other countries would help to remove any potential country bias. Practical implications ‐ Sustainable businesses are eager to learn who the green consumer is in order to define this market segment. This may not represent the best strategy, however. Targeting green products to a niche market based only on intangible environmental or ethical values may not only be hindering the progress of sustainability as a market-oriented concept but also missing the huge opportunity of gaining competitive advantage in the inevitable future marketplace. Originality/value ‐ Most marketing studies were unsuccessful in segmenting green consumers even "on average", resulting in elusive and contradictory outcomes. Only very few studies are aimed at exploring the green consumer's behavior using qualitative research approaches. This paper explores the product demands of green consumers, as well as their consumption processes in detail.