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Opportunities for green marketing: young consumers
Kaman Lee
School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify important factors that affect Hong Kong adolescent consumers’ green purchasing behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 6,010 (2,975 males and 3,035 females) adolescents in Hong Kong were recruited through multi-staged random sampling. They were surveyed on their green purchasing 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. Findings – Multiple regression analysis showed that social influence was the top predictor of Hong Kong adolescents’ green purchasing behaviour, followed by environmental concern as the second, concern for self-image in environmental protection as the third, and perceived environmental responsibility as the fourth top predictor. Research limitations/implications – A major limitation of this study lies in the self-reported nature of the survey used. Future study should include some objective assessments (such as observations or other-reported survey) of the subjects’ green purchasing behaviour. Practical implications – This paper is a useful source of information for international green marketers about what works and what does not in appealing to the young consumers in Hong Kong. Originality/value – This paper serves as a pioneer study to identify important factors in affecting young consumers’ green purchasing behaviour in the Hong Kong context. It offers practical guidelines to international green marketers planning to target the Asian markets. Keywords Hong Kong, Consumer behaviour, Green marketing, Adolescents, Individual psychology, Social responsibility Paper type Research paper

Opportunities for green marketing

Received January 2008 Revised April 2008 Accepted May 2008

Introduction Since the 1980s, green marketing has gone through several stages. After a backlash in the 1990s, green marketing made an upswing in the Western markets from 2000 onwards (Ottman et al., 2006). The force of “going-green” is now extending to the Asian region, where environmental threats are alarming local governments and citizens. Although, Hong Kong aspires to become an Asian city with worldwide importance, its environmental quality lags far behind its Western counterparts. Like many Asian cities, Hong Kong suffers from dangerously high levels of air pollution, poor water quality, high levels of exposure to severe traffic noise, high levels of garbage disposal and rapidly diminishing landfill space (Civic Exchange, 2007). Recently, the government and citizens of Hong Kong have started to realise the seriousness of the environmental 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 respond to appeals based on green issues. Emerging markets for environmental products,

Marketing Intelligence & Planning Vol. 26 No. 6, 2008 pp. 573-586 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0263-4503 DOI 10.1108/02634500810902839

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services and technologies in Hong Kong mean promising opportunities for international green marketing. However, two overlooked areas in current environmental research have been observed. First, Asian-based green marketing studies are relatively scant when compared to the Western works. Secondly, among those scant Asian-based green marketing studies (Chan, 2001; Yam-Tang and Chan, 1998), adolescent consumers, who constitute a potentially large group of supporters in environmental protection, have rarely been examined. This paper therefore attempts to fill the gap by examining the green buying behaviours 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 promotion of 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 the concept of “green marketing” was newly introduced and discussed in industry (Peattie and Crane, 2005). An anticipated emergence of a green tide galvanised many marketers to engage in different forms of green marketing at the beginning of this first stage (Vandermerwe and Oliff, 1990). Numerous marketers expected to generate positive 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 fell short of marketers’ expectations (Wong et al., 1996). The dramatic growth in green marketing excitements at the beginning of the 1990s has gradually subsided (Peattie and Crane, 2005). Green marketing entered its second stage in the 1990s, when marketers started to experience a backlash (Wong et al., 1996). Gradually, marketers realised that consumer concern for the environment and a concomitant desire for green products did not translate into purchasing behaviour (Schrum et al., 1995). Among all the major hindrances, the main aspect contributing to the backlash against green marketing was consumer cynicism about green products, green claims and the companies’ intention as well as practices (Mendleson and Polonsky, 1995; Peattie and Crane, 2005; Wong et al., 1996). Peattie and Crane (2005) have identified five marketing practices 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 or discredit the public’s criticisms against the company’s practices. (2) Green selling. Taking an opportunistic approach by adding some green claims to existing products with the intention to boost sales. (3) Green harvesting. Becoming enthusiastic about the environment only when greening could result in cost savings (e.g., in terms of energy and material input inefficiencies, package reductions, etc.). (4) Entrepreneur marketing. Developing innovative green products to market without really understanding what the consumers actually want. (5) Compliance marketing. Using simple compliance 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.

From the mid-1990s, consumers started to become more and more environmentally and socially aware (Strong, 1996). Critical consumers began to emerge as a new force of green consumerism during that period whereby they require social responsibility from ˘ corporations (Gurau and Ranchhod, 2005). Green consumers are defined as those who:
[. . .] avoid products that are likely to endanger the health of the consumer or others; cause significant damage to the environment during manufacture, use of disposal; consume a disproportionate amount of energy; cause unnecessary waste; use materials derived from threatened species or environments (Strong, 1996, p. 5).

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Gradually, the rise of green consumerism has led to an even broadened consumption concept called ethical consumerism (Uusitalo and Oksanen, 2004). According to Uusitalo and Oksanen (2004), ethical consumerism refers to buyer behaviour that reflects 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 and pollution of the environment (Strong, 1996). Both green consumerism and its subsequent ethical consumerism are forms of symbolic consumption because consumers consider not only individual but also social values, ideals and ideologies (Uusitalo and Oksanen, 2004). Since, the emergence of the green consumerism and ethical consumerism which arose in the mid-1990s, consumers have started to demand a say in the production, processing and resourcing of the products. Anticipating the continuous uprising forces of consumerism, scholars started to call for “sustainability marketing” in the late-1990s (Charter and Polonsky, 1999). Sustainability marketing refers to the building and maintaining of sustainable relationships with customers, social environment and the natural environment (Charter and 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-term sustainable business development continued to stay and improve on their products. Since 2000, green marketing has evolved into a third stage. With the implementation of more advanced technology, stricter state enforcement on deceptive claims, government regulations and incentives as well as closer scrutiny from various environmental organisations and the media, many green products have ˘ greatly improved and regained consumer confidence in the 2000s (Gurau and Ranchhod, 2005; Ottman, 2007). Together, with the continuous rise of growing global concern about the environmental quality, green marketing has gradually picked up momentum again. Some researchers postulate (Stafford, 2003) that green marketing is now “making a comeback” (Ottman et al., 2006, p. 26). Once again, there is renewed sensitivity towards the environment and towards social consciousness. With “sustainable development” being pressed as the dominating theme in twenty-first century commerce, two trends are predicted as inevitable in the near future of green marketing. First, the concept of an eco-friendly/going-green approach to doing business will be pushed into the mainstream (Hanas, 2007). Second, corporations from developed countries will initiate international green marketing in order to expand their market, increase their sales and take advantage of the positive image of their green brands ˘ established in their domestic markets (Gurau and Ranchhod, 2005; Johri and Sahasakmontri, 1998; Pugh and Fletcher, 2002).

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International green marketing Specifically, it is predicted that many international companies will aggressively initiate green marketing strategies in the Asian markets for the following reasons: . the resource exploitation and pollution associated with the unprecedented economic development in many Asian countries (such as China) have raised local and global concerns about the quality of environment in Asia (Martinsons et al., 1997); . citizens in Asian societies are increasingly becoming conscious of alarming environmental problems (Johri and Sahasakmontri, 1998); . governmental policies and business strategies in many Asian countries are being reshaped to give more consideration to long-term sustainable developments including environment protection ( Johri and Sahasakmontri, 1998; Martinsons et al., 1997); and . the fast-growing economies in Asia have led to a vigorous rise of financially-empowered consumers across Asia willing to spend more than previous generations (Li and Su, 2007; Tai and Tam, 1997; The Economist, 2006). In view of the potentially prosperous green market in Asia, many Western firms are preparing to capitalise on the predicted demand for a greener lifestyle among Asian consumers in the near future. Notwithstanding the growing interest in culture among marketing scholars, surprisingly little research informs on how Asian consumers interpret and react to green marketing. Certainly, green marketing is emerging in many Asian countries. However, because little research has been conducted in an Asian culture, international green marketers have expressed that the unavailability of market information in foreign countries often becomes a major hindrance to the success of international ˘ expansion of their green products (Gurau and Ranchhod, 2005). The case of Hong Kong Hong Kong has been estimated that its environmental damage might cause its winters to vanish within 50 years (Civic Exchange, 2007). Recently, the city has started to become alert to the possible environmental catastrophe it is bringing upon itself along with the health and economic challenges which will follow. In a poll conducted in 2007, as many as 80 per cent of Hong Kong residents expressed that they were dissatisfied with the city’s environmental quality (Ruhlman, 2007). The increasing concern about environmental quality in the society of Hong Kong opens up emerging opportunities for green markets to international green marketers. In addition, after the 1997 handover, Hong Kong has become the gateway for international trade as well as technology and knowledge transfer into China. Consumption power in southern China has been continuously rising and is heavily influenced by Hong Kong (Tai and Tam, 1997). Thus, given the potentially prosperous China markets in the future, Hong Kong could act as the stepping stone for nurturing green business in Greater China for international green marketers. Despite the unprecedented potential of the Hong Kong market for green products, very little is known about consumers’ green-buying behaviours in this region. An even more rarely-explored topic is young consumers’ green buying behaviours and factors

affecting them. Indeed, adolescents constitute a large citizen group with the potential for constructing a powerful collective force in society for environmental protection. Past studies found that young people are more ready than older generations to accept new and innovative ideas (Ottman et al., 2006; Tai and Tam, 1997), and that supporters of environmental protection tend to be younger in age (Martinsons et al., 1997; Schwepker and Cornwell, 1991). The purpose of this study is to identify effective factors in motivating Hong Kong young people to engage in green purchasing behaviours. Schlegelmilch et al. (1996) classified green products into general green products, recycled paper products, products not tested on animals, environmentally friendly detergents, organically-grown fruit and vegetables, ozone-friendly aerosols and energy-efficient products. As an exploratory study, this paper focuses on purchasing behaviours for general green products. To achieve this objective, 6,010 adolescent consumers were surveyed on their green-purchasing behaviour. Western literature has provided evidence 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). Chan (2001) has confirmed that Chinese adult consumers in Beijing and Guangzhou display similar patterns to their Western counterparts regarding the relationship between environmental variables (e.g. environmental attitude and evnvironmental concern) and green purchasing behaviour. Using a sample of 6,010 adolescents, the present study examines the following questions: RQ1. What are the important factors which affect green purchasing behaviours in adolescent consumers in Hong Kong? RQ2. What are the weights of these factors? Methodology Subjects A total of 6,010 (2,975 males and 3,035 females)[1] high-school students in Hong Kong participated in the present study. The mean age was 14.35 years old with a standard deviation of 3.13 years. Among the participants, 68.5 per cent (n ¼ 4,117) were aged from 13 to 15; 31.1 per cent (n ¼ 1,869) from 16-18; and the remaining 0.4 per cent (n ¼ 24) were unidentified. Procedures A list containing all high-schools in Hong Kong was first obtained from its education department. About 202 schools were randomly selected from the list. A letter was sent to the principal of each of the school with objectives and procedures of the present study stated. A total of 48 schools agreed to participate. Students were group-administered the surveys in one of their classes. The questionnaire took approximately 15 min to complete.

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Measures Likert-type scales used items were newly developed to fit in the context of Hong Kong. Details of the measures are listed in Table I. Findings A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted by entering control variables (age, sex, educational level, membership in environmental clubs) in Model 1 and the seven predictors in Model 2. With trivial differences, most of the demographic variables are not significant predictors of green purchasing behaviour, with the exception of female adolescents who are supportive purchasers of green products. The model which captured the predictive power of the combination of the seven predictors was significant, R 2 ¼ 0.46, F (11, 5894) ¼ 463.15, p , 0.001. The predictability of the seven predictors on green purchasing behaviour was in the following descending order: social influence, environmental concern, concern for self-image, perceived environmental responsibility, perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour, environmental attitude and perceived seriousness of environmental problems. Table II presents the results of the hierarchical multiple regression, controlling for demographics. In order to examine the incremental power of each predictor on green purchasing behaviour, another hierarchical multiple regression was conducted. The order of entry of the predictors was based on the size of their standardised regression coefficients reported in Table II. Table III shows the incremental power of each predictor. Discussion Among the seven predictors, social influence was the most important predictor of adolescents’ green purchasing behaviour. This finding further consolidates the important roles of peers in youngsters’ development (Brown, 1990). Individuals’ significant peer network might suggest, cultivate, circulate and reinforce a “norm” of environmental behaviour. Hence, to these youngsters, green purchasing behaviour carries social meanings and functions. This echoes with Uusitalo and Oksanen’s (2004) viewpoint that green consumption is a form of symbolic consumption. The finding also suggests that interpersonal communication is an effective tool for affecting purchasing behaviour. It points to the importance of buzz marketing in encouraging individuals to recommend or testify green products to their friends in this consumer group. The pressure to follow the behaviour of the social circle might be particularly strong in the collectivistic Chinese culture, whereby individuals are expected to subordinate their interests to conform to larger social norms (Hofstede, 1980). In fact, some studies (Homer and Kahle, 1988; Li, 1997; Chan, 2001) have demonstrated the significant influence of an individual’s collectivist orientation on his/her recycling behaviour, propensity to search for green product information and actual green consumption in an adult sample. This study may imply that the influence of collectivistic culture on environmental behaviour may begin at the adolescence stage. Environmental concern was found to be the second top predictor of green purchasing behaviour. Here, environmental concern refers to the degree of emotional involvement in environmental issues. It taps the individuals’ affective response towards environmental protection. In contrast, environment attitude refers to the individuals’ value judgment of environmental protection. In other words,


Measure Social influence (a ¼ 0.81) (1) How much do you learn about environmental products from your friends (2) How much do you learn about environmental issues from your friends (3) How much do you discuss with your friends about environmental products (4) How much do you discuss with your friends about environmental issues (5) How often do you buy environmental products with your friends (6) How often do you share information regarding environmental products with your friend Environmental attitude (a ¼ 0.87) (1) It is essential to promote green living in HK (2) I strongly agree that more environmental protection works are needed in HK (3) It is very important to raise environmental awareness among HK people (4) Environmental protection works are simply a waste of money and resources (5) Environmental protection issues are none of my business (6) I think environmental protection is meaningless (7) It is unwise for HK to spend a vast amount of money on promoting environmental protection (Items 4-7 were reverse-coded) Environmental concern (a ¼ 0.77) (1) I am worried about the worsening of the quality of HK’s environment (2) Hong Kong’s environment is my major concern (3) I am emotionally involved in environmental protection issues in HK (4) I often think about how the environmental quality in HK can be improved Perceived seriousness of environmental problems (a ¼ 0.86) (1) How serious do you think the environmental problems are? (2) How urgently do you think HK’s environmental problems need to be dealt with? (3) I think HK’s environmental problems are worsening (4) HK’s environmental problems are threatening our health (5) HK’s environmental problems are threatening the reputation of HK Perceived environmental responsibility (a ¼ 0.85) (1) I should be responsible for protecting our environment (2) Environmental protection starts with me (3) How much responsibility do you think you have in protecting the environment in HK? (4) I have taken responsibility for environmental protection since I was young (5) How willing are you to take up responsibility to protect the environment in HK? (6) Environmental protection is the responsibility of the HK government, not me (7) Environmental protection is the responsibility of the environmental organizaitons, not me (Items 6 and 7 were reverse-coded) Perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour (a ¼ 0.70) (1) I think if I carry out some pro-environmental behaviours in my everyday life, I would contribute a lot to our environment (2) I think my participation in environmental protection would influence my family and friends to participate too (3) The environmental quality of HK will stay the same even if I engage in some pro-environmental behaviours (4) Even if I recycle and reuse things, the environmental quality of HK will remain as it currently is (Items 3 and 4 were reverse-coded)

M 4.44 3.34 2.76 2.41 2.30 2.06

SD 1.66 1.69 1.44 1.07 1.13 1.03

N 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010

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5.67 5.47 5.06 2.34 2.18 1.97 1.81 5.10 4.10 3.96 3.04 5.80 5.66 5.65 5.58 5.57 5.61 5.34 4.78 4.61 4.58 2.09 2.08

1.40 1.44 1.53 1.45 1.37 1.32 1.25 1.47 1.48 1.45 0.88 1.27 1.34 1.32 1.16 1.21 1.39 1.48 1.21 1.62 1.48 1.34 1.33

6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010

5.06 4.12 3.49 3.41

1.44 1.50 1.60

6,010 6,010 6,010 Table I. Details of the measures

1.57 6,010 (continued)

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Measure Concern for self-image in environmental protection (a ¼ 0.71) (1) Supporting environmental protection makes me more socially attractive (2) Supporting environmental protection makes me special (3) I will be perceived by others as “out-dated” if I do not support environmental protection Green purchasing behaviour (a ¼ 0.71) (1) When I want to buy a product, I look at the ingredients label to see if it contains things that are environmentally-damaging (2) I prefer green products over non-green products when their product qualities are similar (3) I choose to buy products that are environmentally-friendly (4) I buy green products even if they are more expensive than the non-green ones




3.44 3.20 2.79

1.50 1.39 1.49

6,010 6,010 6,010


3.28 2.92 2.23 2.20

1.09 1.15 0.96 0.91

6,010 6,010 6,010 6,010

Table I.

Variable Control variables (demographics) Age Sex Educational level Membership in environmental clubs R2 Environmental predictors 1. Social influence 2. Environmental concern 3. Concern for self-image in environmental protection 4. Perceived environmental responsibility 5. Perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour 6. Environmental attitude 7. Perceived seriousness of environmental problems F Dfs R2 Adjusted R 2 N Note: *p , 0.001

0.01 0.09 * 20.01 0.01 0.01 0.27 * 0.26 * 0.17 * 0.14 * 0.09 * 0.06 * 20.05 * 463.15 11,5894 0.46 * 0.46 * 5,905

T 0.89 6.88 2 0.69 2 0.95 25.04 19.70 14.03 11.74 8.40 4.43 2 4.29

Table II. Hierarchical multiple regression of seven environmental predictors on green purchasing behaviour (controlling for demographics)

environmental attitude taps the individuals’ cognitive assessment of the value of environmental protection. The finding suggests that Hong Kong adolescents’ green purchasing behaviour is more easily activated by emotional involvement than by rational assessment (as reflected by the finding that environmental attitude ranked only as the second last predictor). According to Peattie (2001, p. 194), there is a need to “return to rationality” when targeting adult consumers in green marketing. This paper, however, presents a rather contradictory direction in the adolescent sample to what Peattie (2001) has

Predictors Step 1. Social influence Step 2. Social influence Environmental concern Step 3. Social influence Environmental concern Concern for self-image Step 4.: Social influence Environmental concern Concern for self-image Perceived environmental responsibility Step 5. Social influence Environmental concern Concern for self-image Perceived environmental responsibility Perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour Step 6. Social influence Environmental concern Concern for self-image Perceived environmental responsibility Perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour Environmental attitude Step 7. Social influence Environmental concern Concern for self-image Perceived environmental responsibility Perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour Environmental attitude Perceived seriousness of environmental problems Note: *p , 0.001

R2 0.25 0.41 0.44 0.46

D R2 0.25 0.16 0.03 0.02

F of D R 2 2,008.06 * 1,520.47 * 314.31 *

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195.40 *



67.49 *



19.88 *



11.63 *

Table III. Hierarchical regression analyses of the seven predictors on green purchasing behaviour

suggested: that adolescent consumers’ green purchasing behaviour is governed more by emotions than by rationality. Social psychologists and developmental psychologists have suggested that adolescence is a stage particularly susceptible to emotional appeals (Shaffer, 1994). Messerlian et al. (2005) have found that, in social marketing campaigns for gambling prevention, an emotional appeal portraying the negative consequences associated with a gambling problem is highly endorsed by their adolescent participants. Owens and Nowell (2001) have also found that books with an emotional appeal are particularly effective in facilitating the learning of content among adolescent students. Concern for self-image in environmental protection was found to be the third top predictor of green buying behaviour among Hong Kong adolescents. Adolescence is a developmental period that is characterised by a strong: . struggle with a sense of identity; . need for approval and acceptance;

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. .

focus on self; and development of moral ideals (Shaffer, 1994).


The image of an environmentally-friendly person could thus project a good image of oneself to others. This might be particularly motivating to adolescents, who are often at the stage of identity-and-approval-seeking. Once again, this finding implies that green purchasing behaviour carries symbolic functions among adolescents. Perceived environmental responsibility were found to be the fourth predictor of green purchasing behaviour, followed by perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour. This finding shows that it is necessary for adolescent consumers to realise their individual responsibility in environmental protection. Also, the perception that one’s action could make a difference is another important factor in influencing adolescent consumers’ decision to buy green products or not. This finding echoes the theory of efficacy expectation, whereby it predicts that people process, weigh and integrate several different sources of information with regard to their abilities and the outcomes of a behaviour, and then use this information to guide their behaviour and efforts (Bandura, 1977). Perceived seriousness of environmental problems was the least important factor in affecting teenage consumers’ green purchasing decisions. In addition, it carried a negative relationship with green purchasing behaviour. That is to say, the more serious the environmental problems the subjects perceived, the less likely they were to buy green products. It is possible that desensitisation (which refers to the attenuation or elimination of cognitive, emotional, and ultimately, behavioural responses to a stimulus) occurs in adolescent consumers after repeated exposures to message/pictures about the serious damages of the environment (Rule and Ferguson, 1986). In fact, desensitisation has been found to occur when adolescents are exposed to distressed, negative or violent visuals (Funk et al., 2004). This result suggests that the common approach of emphasising seriousness of our environmental problems does not work effectively among adolescent consumers. Conclusion and implications The present study shows that the key to successful green marketing among adolescents in Hong Kong lies in four factors: (1) peer network (social influence); (2) emotional appeal (environmental concern); (3) image branding (concern for self-image in environmental protection); and (4) behavioural efficacy (perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour). These findings display quite a different pattern from those observed in adult samples, whereby green purchasing behaviours are more governed by rationality and cognition (e.g. environmental knowledge, assessment of product attributes, environmental information processing, etc.) (Peattie, 2001). This finding points to the importance of market segmentation because what works best for a market segment may not necessarily work the same for another group. Overall, the study shows that adolescents in Hong Kong displayed a quite promising market opportunity for green products. International green marketers are

advised to consider adolescents as one of their potential targeted markets for the following reasons: . they have purchasing power; . they have influencing power on their parents’ and friends’ purchase decision; . they welcome new and innovative ideas; and . their anticipated life span is longer (Bakewell and Mitchell, 2003; Moschis and Moore, 1979). All these imply a potentially great marketing value-return in the long run. Applying the results to practical marketing planning, international green marketers are advised to consider the following points in future green marketing work. Firstly, green marketing should use more buzz marketing to encourage adolescent consumers to talk about environmental messages to their peers and recommend good environmental products to their friends by word-of-mouth in the form of face-to-face or new media communications. Secondly, environmental marketing messages to Hong Kong adolescents should contain more emotional than rational appeal. Thirdly, it is very important for green marketers to associate a trendy and “cool” image with green products. They should aim at cultivating a “feel good” purchase experience among these young consumers (Peattie, 2001). Lastly, since it was found that adolescents’ perception of environmental responsibility also affects their purchase decisions, green marketing efforts in the future should also convey the message that “each of us is responsible to save our earth”.
Note 1. The author made reference to Milton (1986) sample size formula for multiple regression studies. According to Milton (1986), a minimum sample size of (5,401 þ k) (where k represents the number of predictors) is needed if the following are intended: (1) The study includes seven predictors in a model, (2) it is anticipated that the model can explain 40 per cent of the variance, (3) it is intended that significance tests for b-coefficients are set at the 0.01 level, and (4) it is decided that any independent variable should contribute an additional 1 per cent of explained variance to the model (if entered last). In other words, to fulfil the above requirements, the study needed a minimum size of 5,408. The 6,010 sample size recruited study met the minimum requirement. It exceeded the minimum requirement by 10 per cent and was considered acceptable (Milton, 1986). References Bakewell, C. and Mitchell, V. (2003), “Generation Y female consumer decision-making styles”, Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 95-106. Bandura, A. (1977), “Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioural change”, Psychological Review, Vol. 84, pp. 191-215. Brown, B.B. (1990), “Peer groups and peer culture”, in Feldman, S.S. and Elliott, C.R. (Eds), At the Threshold: The Developing Adolescent, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 171-96. Chan, R.Y.K. (2001), “Determinants of Chinese consumers’ green purchase behaviour”, Psychology & Marketing, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 389-413. Charter, M. and Polonsky, M.J. (1999), Green Marketing: A Global Perspective on Green Marketing Practices, Greenleaf Publications, Sheffield.

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Opportunities for green marketing


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Wong, V., Turner, W. and Stoneman, P. (1996), “Marketing strategies and market prospects for environmentally-friendly consumer products”, British Journal of Management, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 263-81. Yam-Tang, E.P.Y. and Chan, R.Y.K. (1998), “Purchasing behaviours and perceptions of environmentally harmful products”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 356-63. Corresponding author Kaman Lee can be contacted at:


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