When you go to a coffee shop and the barista writes your name on the cup, you’re more likely to recycle it than if your name was misspelled or wasn’t written on the cup at all.
That’s just one of several interesting recycling behaviors marketing researchers recently uncovered. It turns out we have fascinating biases that help determine what we recycle and what we just toss in the trash.
Read the full story from Pacific Standard.
Climate change denial has a real knack for getting under believers’ skin. Often, that’s because denial just seems, well, ignorant.
But ignorance of scientific facts might not be the main problem: The real culprit behind skeptics’ beliefs may be a denial of the value of the scientific process itself, according to a new study.
Axon, Stephen (2016). ““It’s Second Nature”: Sustaining Public Engagements with Addressing Climate Change at the Community Level.” Michigan Journal of Sustainability 4 (Summer 2016), 61-79. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/mjs.12333712.0004.006
Abstract: Whilst the number of studies focusing on strategies to engage the public with addressing climate change and sustainability are growing exponentially, little attention has been paid to the (multiple) ways in which individuals wish (or do not wish) to become involved, and to what extent. This is striking given that research indicates that community-based carbon reduction strategies struggle to turn initial excitement into sustained participation. This is a significant barrier to grassroots projects that need to be scaled up to address climate change on a wider scale. With reference to fieldwork carried out in the United Kingdom employing focus groups, this paper reports that individuals are willing to actively participate in public engagement activities and become involved (on a number of cognitive, affective and behavioural levels) with community-based projects that address climate change. In so doing, this paper illustrates that people want to take ownership and responsibility for sustainability in their communities. However, this transition towards sustainable living needs to be achieved in ways in which that stimulates (sustained) engagement. This paper is of particular relevance for academics and practicing communities in sustainability, demonstrating that higher levels of engagement with community-based carbon reduction strategies indicates a shift towards higher rungs of citizen participation in local sustainable development. The result of higher citizen involvement in local sustainability demonstrates a changing climate in the co-production, co-governance and co-delivery of a low-carbon sustainable future.
Read the full story from the University of Notre Dame.
Studies show that men are not as environmentally friendly as women. Let’s face it, not too many “man caves” feature solar panels, recycle bins or posters of electric cars. It’s just not manly.
But could men be persuaded to go green? New research indicates the answer is yes — and it’s all about branding.
The study “Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption,” forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research by James Wilkie, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, provides evidence that shoppers who engage in green behaviors are stereotyped by others as more feminine and also see themselves as more feminine. In a series of seven studies, Wilkie and his co-authors manipulated small details about the products, attempting to change men’s attitudes and behaviors. They found that men are more open to purchasing environmental products if their masculinity gets a branding boost.
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.