Published: Thu, 12 Oct 2017
Green marketing and green purchasing behaviour
This chapter consists of numbers of sections. First, we will introduce and discuss about marketing follow by green marketing, the evolution of green marketing and also the green purchasing behavior in Malaysia. Besides, it also reviews the green purchasing behavior and the literature on the factors that affect the green purchase behavior among Malaysian consumer.
2.1 Review of the Literature
2.1.1 Green Marketing
On a daily basis, we can routinely found much news about the global environmental issues appear in the popular press, magazines, television news shows and other form of media. Global environmental problems such as dwindling natural resources, pollution, acid rain and global warming by now becomes a challenge to the human live. According to Dunlap (1991), media, legislator and also the society began to pay attention and concern about the environment due to the broad range of threats to environmental quality. In 1970, environment had become a main national concern. Due to this, organization starts to get the idea to go green for the purpose to absorb more value and benefits.
According to Menon & Menon (1997), green marketing become a part of the overall corporate strategy (Prakash A., 2002). The term of “Green Marketing” appear often in the press and was using by the organization which goes green (Polonsky, 1994). However, public do not understand what it is and always link it to the selling or advertising the goods with environmental characteristics. Truly, green marketing has a broad range of concept, which can be applied to consumer goods and services. Polonsky (1994) state that, green or environmental marketing consists of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that the satisfaction of these needs and wants occurs, with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment.
As cited in “An Introduction to Green Marketing” by Polonsky (1994), there are several literatures suggested reasons for the increased use of green marketing by organizations. The five liable reasons are: 1) Organizations identify environmental marketing to be an occasion that can be used to achieve its objectives (Keller 1987; Shearer 1990), 2) Organizations believe they have a moral obligation to be more socially responsible (Keller 1987; McIntosh 1990; Shearer 1990; Freeman & Liedtka 1991; Davis 1992), 3) Governmental bodies are forcing firms to become more responsible (NAAG 1990), 4) Competitors’ environmental activities pressure firms to change their environmental marketing activities (NAAG 1990), 5) Cost factors associated with waste disposal, or reductions in material usage forces firms to modify their behavior (Azzone & Manzini 1994).
Today, society start to concern about environmental issues and organizations realize that they must behave in an environmentally responsible manner. Therefore, they ought to pursue this tendency in order to achieve environmental objectives as well as benefits related objectives. As a result, company will embrace the environmental issues addicted to their organization’s culture. Company will view green marketing as two different standpoints: first, firms use the fact that they are environmental responsible and use it as a marketing tool. Second, firms take it as a responsibility but do not promoting it. With this, organization believes that they may gain competitive advantage from this behavior (Polonsky, 1994).
Intended to success in green marketing, it requires efforts from different parties such as consumer, organization, and government. Consumers who desire for clean environment, they have the willingness to pay more for green product. Government has to put in some effort to “persuade” their citizen to become more environmental friendly. Besides, government also can control the level hazardous that the factories produce. With the government regulation and the co-operation from their citizen, green marketing that the firms bring in will be run more efficiently in the future.
18.104.22.168 Evolution of Green Marketing
In the late 1960s the United States began the modern environmental movement and became the world leader for environmental reform. At that time European countries were still engaged in completing post-World War II economic recovery (Flattau, 1990). During the 1980s European environmental interest and action began to grow.
The greening of corporations on both sides of the Atlantic have affected by many factors (Marc Lampe and Gregory M. Gazda, 1994). The most important catalysts and pressures that have resulted in green marketing have been identified and are stated as follow:
Environmental Damage and the Media
Public Opinion and Social Concern for the Environment
Social Forces and the Greening of Business
Green Political Power
Consumer Attitudes and Green Purchasing
Institutional Pressures — Investors and Employees
Since 1980s, green marketing has gone through few phases. According to Charter and Polonsky (1999) as cited in the study “Opportunities for Green marketing: young consumers”, green marketing is the advertising or promotion of a product based on its environmental performance or an enhancement thereof (Lee, 2008). At the first decade, a lot of marketers thought that they will get encouraging responses from their customers, such as increase in image, market share and sales from their green action. However, Wong et al. (1996) found that, although the environmental problems are the majority concern issues in the society, but, the market growth for green products was disappointing.
In the years of 1990s, marketers encounter the criticism of green marketing (Lee, 2008). Schrum et al. (1995) exposed that consumers’ purchasing behaviors are not interrelated with the manners of environmental concern and the affiliated desire for green products of a person (Lee, 2008). Mintel (1995) put forward a report about the environment and prove that there was only little increase in green consumers and found that there is a considerable gap between the concern and the actual purchasing behavior (Peattie & Crane, 2005). According to the National Consumer Council (1996), the rate of recurrence and status of green claims was also found to be decline. . Although green product growth continued strongly in certain markets, such as in food, tourism, and financial services area, however, there was no longer talk about the impressive growth of green product introductions across the majority of markets.
As society establishes growing awareness with the natural environment, businesses have begun to alter their behavior in an attempt to meet the changes. Some businesses have been quickly adapting concepts like environmental management systems and waste minimization. Besides, environmental issues into has also been integrated into all organizational activities. This proved by the development of journals such as “Business Strategy and the Environment” and “Greener Management International,” which are particularly designed to disseminate research concerning business’ environmental behavior. The popular press has been bombarded by terms like “Green Marketing” and “Environmental Marketing. Many governments around the world have become so concerned about green marketing activities that they have attempted to regulate them (Polonsky, 1994a).
Green marketing is considered as one of the major trends in modern business (Kassaye, 2001; McDaniel and Rylander, 1993; Pujari and Wright, 1996; Simms, 1992). The demand for ecological products and sustainable business activities was determined by the customers’ growing awareness concerning environmental issues, pressure from government especially in industrially developed countries, competitive pressure as well as cost and profit issues (Polonsky & Michael Jay, 1994). In the year 2000s, Gura˘u & Ranchhod (2005), Ottman (2007) found that, many green products have significantly improved and recovered consumer confidence due to the reasons of the implementation of more advanced technology, stricter state enforcement on deceptive claims, government rules and incentives as well as closer scrutiny from various environmental organizations and the media.
Besides, green marketing gradually increase the forces again with the constant ascend of growing global concern about the environmental quality. “Sustainable development” always being pressed as the province theme in twenty-first century trade, two trends is predicted as foreseeable in the future of green marketing. Initially is the concept of an eco- friendly approach in doing business will be pushed into the ordinary. Secondly, corporations from developed countries will kick off international green marketing in order to expand their market, increase their sales and take advantage of positive image of their green brands established in their domestic markets (Lee, 2007).
Peattie and Crane (2005) have found five marketing practices which vulnerable the development of green marketing which also effectively hampered the development of the mainstream of marketing in the past. They are green spinning, green selling, green harvesting, entrepreneur marketing and compliance marketing. Green spinning is taking a hasty approach by using relations to refuse or discredit the public’s criticisms against the company’s practices. Green selling means that organization taking an opportunistic approach by adding some green claim to existing products with the objective to enhance sales. Follow by green harvesting; which means that the company become enthusiastic about the environment only when greening could result in cost savings such as in terms of energy and material input inefficiencies, package reductions and etc. Then, the company also will practice the entrepreneur marketing which means that they will develop the inventive green products to market without truly identify with what the consumers actually need. Lastly, the compliance marketing is the company use easy conformity with implemented or expected environmental legislation as an opportunity to promote the company’s green credentials without taking initiatives to go beyond responding to regulations.
2.1.2 Green Purchasing Behavior
Nowadays, it has been reported by Roberts, (1996); Straughan and Roberts, (1999), a number of studies that consumers have turn into increasingly aware of the importance of environmental problems. (Laskova, A., 2007). For example, an amount of consumers are factoring in environmental issues in their purchase decisions (e.g. whether the product is made from recycled materials). Although the environmental awareness had increase, yet from Ottman (1992), the demand for green products has been shown to be irregular across different market segments.
Green purchasing can be defined as “the purchasing of procurement efforts which give preferences to products or services which are least harmful to the environmental and human health”. (Lee, K. L., 2004). According to Mostafa (2007), green purchasing behaviour is defined as the spending of products that are helpful to the environment; recyclable or conservable and sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns.
Generally, green product can be known as an ecological product or environmental friendly product.(Tan, B. C. and Lau, T. C., 2010). Based on Shamdasani et al., (1993), green or environmentally friendly products are largely defined as products that will not contaminate the earth or deprecate natural resources, and can be recycled or conserved. (Mostafa, M. M., 2006). Stone et al., (1995) provides evidence showing that there is an increasing number of consumers in U.S. and Western Europe are turning to more environmentally responsible in terms of their personal habits and lifestyles while Phillips (1999) tells 50% of Americans declare to look for environmental labels and to change brands based on environment friendliness.(Mostafa, M. M., 2006). Suchard and Polonsky (1991) report that respondents are willing to pay 15% and 20% more for green products.(Mostafa, M. M., 2006). Due to consumer are changing their personal habits and lifestyles, Martin and Simintiras (1995) consumers may turn their environmental concern into actively purchasing green products commitment. (Tan, B. C. and Lau, T. C., 2010)
From Li, L. Y. (1997); Maloney &Ward (1973) said that empirical studies have established a significant positive relationship between ecological intention and behaviour. (Chan, R. Y. K., 2001). Moreover, Chan, R. Y. K. (2001) hypothesized that attitudes toward green purchase will affect green purchase behaviour through the mediating variable of green purchase intention..
In addition, western literature has provided facts that environmental behaviour is related to the following variables: environmental attitude (Kaiser et al., 1999), environmental concern (Schultz et al.,2004), perceived seriousness of environmental problems (Garcia-Mira et al., 2005),perceived environmental responsibility (Manzo and Weinstein, 1987), perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour (Manzo and Weinstein, 1987), concern for self-image in environmental protection (Lee, 2007), and peer influence (Ryan, 2001).( Lee, K., 2008)
2.1.3 Social Influence
Social influence is one of the most persistent determinants of an individual’s behavior. This statement can be proof by the existing literature on stuff use. From the research by Lee (2008), social influence was the most influential predictor of green purchasing behavior. In addition, in the journal “A Study on Consumers’ Green Purchasing Intention”, social influence was found to be positively and ranked as the second top factors which affect the green purchasing intention by the researcher. Morgan and Grube (1991) state that, cigarette smoking; alcohol and other drug use were used in social situation. This explains the major part of consumer weakness of interpersonal influence. Based on the study in Social Cognitive Theory by Bandura (1989), he state that there are bidirectional influence between personal behavior and the environment. Individuals’ expectation, beliefs and cognitive competencies will be modify and develop by the social influences and physical structures within the environment (Cheah, 2009). Consequently, it can perceive that one’s buying behavior and the buying decisions are strongly related and influence by their social environment, which include the family, friends and peer networks.
According to Rashotte (2006), social influence can be defined as the changes in an individual’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behaviors that results from interaction with another individual or a group. People will choose to adjust their belief and behavior in a condition that they respect to others whom they feel similar. Individuals are adapting to particular attitude when majority of individuals’ referent group holds the exacting attitude. In addition, individuals may change the opinion with the influence of others who are perceived as an expert in the matter in hand.
Social influence is not the conformity, power or authority. Conformity only occurs when a person expresses an opinion or behavior on behalf to meet the expectation given by others, although he or she does not hold the belief that the behavior is correct. Nevertheless, power is the aptitude to coerce or persuade someone to perform in a particular way by controlling his or her results and authority is the power that is believed to be legitimate rather than coerce by those who are subjected to it (Rashotte, 2006).
Martin and Bush (2000) proposed that, individuals learn broad behaviors and attitudes from past experiences. Besides, previous research result also indicated that consumers learn and structure their behavior from not only from past experiences, but also based on the observation on others and through the electronic or printed media (Bandura, 1977 as cited in Cheah, 2009). From this, it can be perceived that individuals’ buying behavior are expand and affected by their surrounding agents such as family, friends, media as well as school (Moschis, 1981; Ozgen, 2003).
2.1.4 Environmental Attitude
Passing years, public are exhibited with more and more facts which shows that human behavior is the main factor that harmfully affecting our natural environment. Environmental problems of shrinking natural resources, pollution, and population growth challenge the ways people live. Newhouse (1990) state that, environmental attitude is considered one of the best promising concepts to the ecological behavior (Kaiser et al, 1990).
Environmental attitude can be defined as an educated disposition to react consistently to the favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to the environment (Nik Abdul Rashid, N.R., 2009). There are some reliable empirical evidence shows that there is a positive relation between environmental attitude and behavior. The research done by Kaiser et al. (1990), state that environmental attitude is the powerful determinants of ecological behavior. In this study, also proposed that environmental attitude can be measured by the knowledge, affect and intentions (Sia et al., 1985 86; Berger & Corbin, 1992; Axelrod &Lehman, 1993). Kaiser’s study (1990) also proposed that environmental knowledge, environmental values and ecological behavior intention are suggested as the theoretical outline of the theory of planned behavior. Thus, perception can be made that, the person who have environmental attitude can behave positive ecological behavior.
According to the Ajzen and Fishbein’s Theory as cited in Ecological Concern, Attitudes, and Social Norms in Voting Behavior by Gill (1986), the determinants of behavioral intention are attitude toward the behavior and subjective norm. The determinants of attitude are cognitive arrangement such as the beliefs that the behavior leads to certain conclusion and the evaluations of those outcomes. At the same time, the causal of subjective norms are normative structure, for example, the beliefs about the normative expectations of specific referents and the inspiration to fulfill with those expectations.
2.1.5 Environmental Concern
Based on the previous study done by Maloney and Ward (1973), environmental concern also known as “ecological concern”, which refers to the degree of emotionality, the amount of specific factual knowledge and the level of willingness as well as the extent of the actual behavior on pollution-environmental issues (Ahmah & Juhdi, n.a.).
In the research “Examining Why Consumers Intend to Purchase Ecologically Sound Products”, the result shows that the most important determinants mediated by attitude are environmental concern (Angela, 2001). From this, we can perceived that consumers who are environmental concern, he or she are more likely to form positive environmental attitudes. Moreover, environmental concern also ranked as the second top predictor of green purchasing behavior in the research completed by Lee (2008).
Arnocky et al. (2007) state that, a person can possess any one of the three types of environmental concern, which is egoistic environmental concern, altruistic environmental concern and biospheric environmental concern. The person who holds the egoistic environmental concern, he or she believe in the effect of environmental destruction may have on themselves. Therefore, he or she will protect the environment since they don’t want to drink dirty water or breathe the polluted air. For the people who are altruistic environmental concern, they are concern for other people in relation to the environment. A person who is bioshperic environmental concern, they believe that human beings be supposed to not threat our environment since we are a part of the nature and all species have the right to survive.
Environmental concern or ecological concern is related to the individual’s consumption behavior (Cosby, Gill and Taylor, 1986). Over the years, Lorche (1996) found that, most of the consumers start to concern about the environment because they realized that their purchasing behavior are the direct impact to the ecological problems (Ahmad & Juhdi, n.a.). Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) have defined environmental concern in their research as a global attitude with different effects on behavior through behavioral intention (Cheah, 2009).
2.1.6 Perceived Seriousness of Environmental Problems
Environmental problem is a known process within the environment which has negative effects on the sustainability of the environmental quality necessary for the well being of the organisms living in it.
P. Wesley Schultz (2000) mentioned that there was a large amount of research has associated environmental problems to the human tendency to act in one’s own interest (e.g., Bamberg, Kuhnel, & Schmidt, 1999; Diekmann & Preisendorfer, 1998; Hardin, 1968, 1977; Kaiser, Ranney, Hartig, & Bowler, 1999).
Some Western journal also provided that environmental behavior is related to perceived seriousness of environmental problem. It is saying that individuals discriminate between global and local environmental problems when they make judgments about environmental problems. Therefore, environmental education seems to be to relate the global to the local, and the future to the present, so as to increase the involvement of the participants in pro-environmental behavior (Garcia-Mira et al., 2005)
Basically, environmental problem is considered serious by majorities and the trend over the past decade is moving upward. Majorities see environmental quality as deteriorating and it is likely to continue to deteriorate. Although it remain unclear in the strength of environmental concern, but majorities see environmental problems as worsening and increasingly intimidating to human being. Environmental problem that expected to become deteriorate include water pollution, air pollution, global problems as well as local problems and less noxious problems such as the use of plastic.
The trends indicate that public concern for environmental problems has reached an unprecedented high. There is increasing majorities support government action to protect environmental quality. Besides, majorities regularly hold up with environmental protection over economic growth as well as signify a personal willingness to pay the cost of such protection (Riley E. Dunlap et al., 1991).
2.1.7 Perceived Environmental Responsibility
Environmental responsibility is the obligation of an individual to take actions which protect and improve the environment as a whole.
An individual or institution is responsible for environmental problems when they:
[…] occupy a social role that makes them accountable for certain outcomes; and/or that
particular actions they take lead to unfavorable outcomes; with or without recourse to their intentionality and/or their ability to be held accountable (Hobson, 2006).
Conceptually, environmental responsibility suggests we are all need and/or obliged to enact collective solutions to rapidly increasing environmental problems. It also saying that working-up of moral selves is undertaken in relation to consumption practices (Barnett et al., 2005).
A person’s environmental behavior can be predicted by how responsible a person feels for the environment (Kaiser & Shimoda, 1999). Study showed that people can feel responsible in at least two ways (Kaiser, 1996). One way refers to morality and the other one is conformity to social expectations or conventions. Moral responsibility feelings depend on a person’s self-ascribed responsibility (i.e. a deliberate responsibility judgment) and guilt feelings (Kaiser, 1996). Conventional responsibility feelings depend on the social expectations a person is responsive to and his or her willingness to meet these expectations (Kaiser & Shimoda 1999; Kelman & Hamilton, 1989).
Other than that, the norm-activation theory of Schwartz (e.g. Schwartz, 1977; Schwartz & Howard, 1981), which promotes responsibility as a personal moral obligation, is the most prevalent one on the subject of environmental behavior (Fuhrer, 1995; Fuhrer & Wolfing, 1997; Kaiser, 1999).
2.1.8 Perceived Effectiveness Environmental Behavior
Perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE) refers to consumers’ attitudes and responses to environmental appeals which are a part of their belief that individuals can positively influence the outcome to such problems. (Straughan R. D. & Roberts J. A., 1999)
According to Rothbaum, Weisz, and Snyder (1982), theorist had studied in the areas of learned helplessness, locus of control, and perceived control and found out that PCE is connected to these areas. (Ellen P., Wiener J. & Cobb-Walgren C., 1991)
From Tesser and Shaffer (1990) generally, nowadays researcher classify an attitude as basically an evaluation of an issue or problem and perceived consumer effectiveness as an approximation of the degree to which personal consumption activities contribute to a solution to the problem. (Ellen P., Wiener J. & Cobb-Walgren C., 1991)
Besides that, derived from Ajzen (1985); Ajzen and Madden (1986) said that the level to which a person feels that he or she has little behavioural control over the performance of a behaviour has been shown to uniquely lessen behavioural intentions and behaviour, even in situations where attitudes and or social norms toward the action are very positive. Additionally, PCE should affect intentions and behaviour if individuals believe their behaviour will or will not lead to the desired outcome. (Ellen P., Wiener J. & Cobb- Walgren C., 1991)
Moreover, a study had also found that perceived consumer effectiveness was a remarkable predictor of three environmental behaviors: purchasing, recycling, and contributing to environmental groups. (Ellen P., Wiener J. & Cobb-Walgren C., 1991). Therefore, perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour can be a significant predictor in green purchasing behaviour.
2.1.9 Concern for self-image
According to Terpstra and Sarathy(1997), the reason consumer purchase products are for its utility, function, performance, image and status and based on the study from Elliot(1997), consumer spend on product for the symbolic meaning while revealing their images.( Chiu, K. K. S.,Lin, R. J., Chiu, C. K. and Chang, T. Y. T., 2007).
Individuals like to have a self-image as a responsible person (Kjell Arne Brekkea, Snorre Kverndokkb, Karine Nyborg, 2001), from this, their behavior in green market place can be closely determined by how purchases of different goods will influence this self- image.( Kristina Ek And Patrick Soderholm, 2006).
From Zikham and Hong (1991) under many conditions, consumer’s self-image will affects his/her purchase decisions and consumers exercise products to illustrate, sustain, and reinforce their self concepts to themselves. (Sirgy, 1982; Wallendorf and Arnould, 1988; Zinkham and Hong, 1991). It is also founded that “purchase and consumption are good vehicles for self-expression” (Jamal and Goode, 2001, p. 483). .( Chiu, K. K. S.,Lin, R. J., Chiu, C. K. and Chang, T. Y. T., 2007).
Other than having preferences as a responsible person, individuals also prefer to have a positive image. From the studies of Ek, K. and Soderholm, P. (2006), they build an analysis model by implying that individual who’s choosing “green” will yield a self- image improvement.
Moreover, in the field of consumer behavior, Wright et al.(1992) recommended that an individual, before purchasing a particular product, they will assesses the match between the image related with this purchase and her/his self-image.(Mannetti L., Pierro A. and Livi S., 2004)
Engaging in pro-social behavior is also having linkage with self-image. For example, by purchasing a green products rather than conventional product can indicate to others that he or she is a pro-social, rather than a pro-self individual and consequently it can help individuals build a pro-social reputation. (Semmann, Krambeck, & Milinski, 2005; Wedekind & Braithwaite, 2002). (Griskevicius V., Tybur J. M. and Bergh B. V., 2009)
Additionally, acquiring goods are not only “bundles of attributes that yield particular benefits” (Holt, 1995, p. 1) but it is also an indication of symbolic meanings to the community. (Chiu, K. K. S.,Lin, R. J., Chiu, C. K. and Chang, T. Y. T., 2007). “It shows the world that its owner cares” (Maynard, 2007). (Griskevicius V., Tybur J. M. and Bergh B. V., 2009)
2.1.10 Relationship between Demographic Variables and Green Purchasing Behavior
There are six important moderating variables which will affect the green purchasing behavior towards green products; they are gender, age, marital status, race, highest educational holder and monthly income level.
22.214.171.124 Relationship between Gender and Green Purchasing Behavior
Gender is an important determinant towards green purchasing behavior. The environmental concern need to be taken into consideration before discuss about green purchasing behavior as it will affect the green purchasing behavior of an individual. Numerous studies’ results have dealt with the question of whether there are systematic differences between women and men with hold of environmental concern. Some of the studies such as Arbuthnot and Lingg (1975) as cited by Shen and Saijo (2008), stated that women are less environmental concern than men. On the other hand, in the study by Mainieri et al (1997), women show significantly higher interest than men in the green buying and on the environmental concern. Still, many other researchers found the opposite results. Therefore, gender has been set as one of the variable to investigate the green purchasing behavior.
126.96.36.199 Relationship between Age and Green Purchasing Behavior
Another item that used to test the correlation between socio-demographic and green purchasing behavior is age. Age is one of the main factors to determine the green purchasing behavior on an individual in many studies. Different level of age will encompass different level thoughts towards environmental issues. According to Shen and Saijo (2008), which stated that, young consumer will tend to more concern about environmental quality than elders consumers. Straughan and Roberts (1999) also argue someone who full-grown up in the moment in which environmental concerns have been a prominent issue at various stages, are probable to be more receptive on the environmental issues. The justification is because young consumers are the person who always supports the action of against the environmental worsening and they are the one who often attend to information about environmental issues than older generation. As a result, younger generation will tend to become more active in buying green products. Thus, age also need to take into account to investigate the green purchasing behavior.
188.8.131.52 Relationship between Educational Level and Green Purchasing Behavior
Education level is another demographic variable which used to investigate the relationship with green purchasing behavior. According to the Straughan and Roberts (1999), the education level and environmental issues are fairly more consistent than other demographic variables. Besides, education also expec
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