Harms, R. and Linton, J. D. (2016), Willingness to Pay for Eco-Certified Refurbished Products: The Effects of Environmental Attitudes and Knowledge. Journal of Industrial Ecology 20: 893–904. doi:10.1111/jiec.12301.
Abstract: Refurbishing products, which are increasingly sold in business-to-consumer markets, is a key strategy to reduce waste. Nevertheless, research finds that consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for refurbished products is low. Strategies for a higher WTP are needed in order to grow consumer markets for refurbished products. Eco-certification of refurbished products may be a key strategy here. Drawing on the consumer WTP literature concerning “green” products, we investigate the impact of independent eco-certificates. Our analysis is based on a survey of 231 potential customers. The results suggest that, across various product categories, the WTP for products with refurbished components is significantly lower. Adding an eco-certificate tends to return the WTP toward the virgin product level. We show that consumers with proenvironmental attitudes particularly exhibit green buying behavior. Our findings indicate that eco-certification is often worthwhile because it enhances the business rationale for producing products with refurbished components.
O’Rourke, D. and Ringer, A. (2016), “The Impact of Sustainability Information on Consumer Decision Making”. Journal of Industrial Ecology 20: 882–892. doi:10.1111/jiec.12310.
Abstract: This article presents an empirical analysis of the impact of sustainability information on consumer purchase intentions and how this influence varies by issue (health, environment, and social responsibility), product category, type of consumer, and type of information. We assess over 40,000 online purchase interactions on the website GoodGuide.com and find a significant impact of certain types of sustainability information on purchase intentions, varying across different types of consumers, issues, and product categories. Health ratings in particular showed the strongest effects. Direct users—those who intentionally sought out sustainability information—were most strongly influenced by sustainability information, with an average purchase intention rate increase of 1.15 percentage points for each point increase in overall product score, reported on a zero to ten scale. However, sustainability information had, on average, no impact on nondirect users, demonstrating that simply providing more or better information on sustainability issues will likely have limited impact on changing mainstream consumer behavior unless it is designed to connect into existing decision-making processes.
Read the full story in the Washington Post.
Given the choice to go green when making purchases online, a lot of people would follow through, new research suggests. They just need companies to provide them with enough information to do so.
The new study, just out on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that Internet-based companies (which include the likes of Amazon and Airbnb) have the opportunity to slash their products’ carbon footprints by providing customers with environmentally friendly choices to cut down on greenhouse gases and other ills. The researchers tested the idea out using mock versions of four types of industries — online retail, video streaming, ride shares and housing shares — and found that consumers are willing to make climate-friendly selections when the options are available to them, whether it means purchasing carbon offsets or just choosing the product with the lowest carbon output.
Read the full story from the University of Florida.
Apparently, it’s more convenient to Florida residents to save water while brushing their teeth than to cut back on lawn irrigation, according to a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension report.
Read the full story at Yale Environment 360.
New advances in technology are sparking efforts to use virtual reality to help people gain a deeper appreciation of environmental challenges. VR experiences, researchers say, can be especially useful in conveying key issues that are slow to develop, such as climate change and extinction.
Read the full story in the Washington Post.
Even when it comes to the most objective source of information there is — science — people can’t be objective.
Rather, there is overwhelming evidence that we are “biased information processors” who engage in “motivated reasoning” to try to bend facts about the world to comport with what we want to believe. And research has shown that even how people think about science is not immune to this — with a classic example being Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), pictured above, bringing a snowball into Congress during the 2015 winter to challenge climate change evidence.
Indeed, it has been often demonstrated that Democrats and Republicans (or, liberals and conservatives), as they become increasingly science-literate and educated, tend to be become more polarized over whether global warming is even a real thing or worth worrying about, with Democrats embracing established science ever more strongly and Republicans more doggedly rejecting it. This is, to make a long story short, probably because smart and educated people are better at arguing and reinforcing their own point of view.
But now, one of the researchers who has duly documented this very polarization over science — Yale’s Dan Kahan — reports that he may have found a cure: simple science curiosity.