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Opportunities for Green Marketing Young Consumers

Opportunities for Green Marketing Young Consumers

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Published by kamdica
Opportunities for Green Marketing Young Consumers
Opportunities for Green Marketing Young Consumers

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Published by: kamdica on Oct 14, 2009
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Opportunities for greenmarketing: young consumers
Kaman Lee
School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong,Shatin, Hong Kong 
– The purpose of this paper is to identify important factors that affect Hong Kongadolescent consumers’ green purchasing behaviour.
– A total of 6,010 (2,975 males and 3,035 females) adolescents inHong Kong were recruited through multi-staged random sampling. They were surveyed on their greenpurchasing behaviour, environmental attitude, environmental concern, perceived seriousness of environmental problems, perceived environmental responsibility, perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour, social influence and concern for self-image in environmental protection.
– Multiple regression analysis showed that social influence was the top predictor of Hong Kong adolescentsgreen purchasing behaviour, followed by environmental concern as thesecond, concern for self-image in environmental protection as the third, and perceived environmentalresponsibility as the fourth top predictor.
Research limitations/implications
– A major limitation of this study lies in the self-reportednature of the survey used. Future study should include some objective assessments (such asobservations or other-reported survey) of the subjects’ green purchasing behaviour.
Practical implications
– This paper is a useful source of information for international greenmarketers about what works and what does not in appealing to the young consumers in Hong Kong.
– This paper serves as a pioneer study to identify important factors in affectingyoung consumers’ green purchasing behaviour in the Hong Kong context. It offers practical guidelinesto international green marketers planning to target the Asian markets.
Hong Kong, Consumer behaviour, Green marketing, Adolescents, Individual psychology,Social responsibility
Paper type
Research paper
Since the 1980s, green marketing has gone through several stages. After a backlash inthe 1990s, green marketing made an upswing in the Western markets from 2000onwards (Ottman
, 2006). The force of “going-green” is now extending to the Asianregion, where environmental threats are alarming local governments and citizens.Although, Hong Kong aspires to become an Asian city with worldwide importance, itsenvironmental quality lags far behind its Western counterparts. Like many Asiancities, Hong Kong suffers from dangerously high levels of air pollution, poor waterquality, high levels of exposure to severe traffic noise, high levels of garbage disposaland rapidly diminishing landfill space (Civic Exchange, 2007). Recently, thegovernment and citizens of Hong Kong have started to realise the seriousness of theenvironmental threats, and the hazardous economic and health problems which result(Chan, 2001). The society as a whole is more ready and willing than before to respondto appeals based on green issues. Emerging markets for environmental products,
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Opportunities forgreen marketing
Received January 2008Revised April 2008Accepted May 2008
Marketing Intelligence & PlanningVol. 26 No. 6, 2008pp. 573-586
Emerald Group Publishing Limited0263-4503DOI 10.1108/02634500810902839
services and technologies in Hong Kong mean promising opportunities forinternational green marketing.However,twooverlookedareasincurrentenvironmentalresearchhavebeenobserved.First, Asian-based green marketing studies are relatively scant when compared to theWestern works. Secondly, among those scant Asian-based green marketing studies(Chan, 2001; Yam-Tang and Chan, 1998), adolescent consumers, who constitutea potentially large group of supporters in environmental protection, have rarely beenexamined. This paper therefore attempts to fill the gap by examining the green buyingbehaviours of Hong Kong adolescent consumers and factors which influence them.
Literature review
 Evolution of green marketing 
Charter and Polonsky (1999) state that green marketing is the marketing or promotionof a product based on its environmental performance or an improvement thereof.The decade of the late 1980s marked the first stage of green marketing, when theconcept of “green marketing” was newly introduced and discussed in industry (Peattieand Crane, 2005). An anticipated emergence of a green tide galvanised many marketersto engage in different forms of green marketing at the beginning of this firststage (Vandermerwe and Oliff, 1990). Numerous marketers expected to generatepositive consumer response which would be translated into an increase in goodwill,market shares or sales from their acts of green marketing.However, notwithstanding reports that environmental problems constituted one of the uppermost public concerns, market growth for green products disappointingly fellshort of marketers’ expectations (Wong
et al.
, 1996). The dramatic growth in greenmarketing excitements at the beginning of the 1990s has gradually subsided (Peattieand Crane, 2005). Green marketing entered its second stage in the 1990s, whenmarketers started to experience a backlash (Wong
et al.
, 1996). Gradually, marketersrealised that consumer concern for the environment and a concomitant desire for greenproducts did not translate into purchasing behaviour (Schrum
et al.
, 1995).Amongall themajorhindrances,themainaspect contributingtothe backlash againstgreen marketing was consumer cynicism about green products, green claims and thecompanies’ intention as well as practices (Mendleson and Polonsky, 1995; Peattie andCrane, 2005; Wong
et al.
, 1996). Peattie and Crane (2005) have identified five marketingpractices which led to the failure of green marketing during this period. They are:(1)
Green spinning.
Taking a reactive approach by using public relations to deny ordiscredit the public’s criticisms against the company’s practices.(2)
Green selling.
Taking an opportunistic approach by adding some green claimsto existing products with the intention to boost sales.(3)
Green harvesting.
Becoming enthusiastic about the environment only whengreening could result in cost savings (e.g., in terms of energy and material inputinefficiencies, package reductions, etc.).(4)
Entrepreneur marketing.
Developing innovative green products to marketwithout really understanding what the consumers actually want.(5)
Compliance marketing.
Using simple compliance with implemented or expectedenvironmental legislation as an opportunity to promote the company’s greencredentials without taking initiatives to go beyond responding to regulations.
From the mid-1990s, consumers started to become more and more environmentally andsocially aware (Strong, 1996). Critical consumers began to emerge as a new force of green consumerism during that period whereby they require social responsibility fromcorporations (Gura˘u and Ranchhod, 2005). Green consumers are defined as those who:
. . .
] avoid products that are likely to endanger the health of the consumer or others; causesignificant damage to the environment during manufacture, use of disposal; consume adisproportionate amount of energy; cause unnecessary waste; use materials derived fromthreatened species or environments (Strong, 1996, p. 5).
Gradually, the rise of green consumerism has led to an even broadened consumptionconcept called ethical consumerism (Uusitalo and Oksanen, 2004). According toUusitalo and Oksanen (2004), ethical consumerism refers to buyer behaviour thatreflects a concern with the problems that arise from unethical and unjust global trades,such as child and low-paid labour, infringement of human rights, animal testing,labour union suppressions, inequalities in trading relations with the Third World andpollution of the environment (Strong, 1996). Both green consumerism and itssubsequent ethical consumerism are forms of symbolic consumption becauseconsumers consider not only individual but also social values, ideals and ideologies(Uusitalo and Oksanen, 2004). Since, the emergence of the green consumerism andethical consumerism which arose in the mid-1990s, consumers have started to demanda say in the production, processing and resourcing of the products.Anticipating the continuous uprising forces of consumerism, scholars started to callfor “sustainability marketingin the late-1990s (Charter and Polonsky, 1999).Sustainability marketing refers to the building and maintaining of sustainablerelationships with customers, social environment and the natural environment (Charterand Polonsky, 1999). In the face of the these challenges, green marketing entered a“self-adjusting” mode, whereby only corporations with a true intention for long-termsustainable business development continued to stay and improve on their products.Since 2000, green marketing has evolved into a third stage. With theimplementation of more advanced technology, stricter state enforcement ondeceptive claims, government regulations and incentives as well as closer scrutinyfrom various environmental organisations and the media, many green products havegreatly improved and regained consumer confidence in the 2000s (Gura˘u andRanchhod, 2005; Ottman, 2007). Together, with the continuous rise of growing globalconcern about the environmental quality, green marketing has gradually picked upmomentum again. Some researchers postulate (Stafford, 2003) that green marketing isnow “making a comeback” (Ottman
et al.
, 2006, p. 26).Once again, there is renewed sensitivity towards the environment and towardssocial consciousness. With “sustainable development” being pressed as the dominatingtheme in twenty-first century commerce, two trends are predicted as inevitable in thenear future of green marketing.First, the concept of an eco-friendly/going-green approach to doing business will bepushed into the mainstream (Hanas, 2007). Second, corporations from developedcountries will initiate international green marketing in order to expand their market,increase their sales and take advantage of the positive image of their green brandsestablished in their domestic markets (Gura˘u and Ranchhod, 2005; Johri andSahasakmontri, 1998; Pugh and Fletcher, 2002).
Opportunities forgreen marketing

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