On the nature of sustainable product choices 1 Running Head: SUSTAINABILITY, COLLEGE STUDENTS, CONSUMPTION BEHAVIOR, BRANDS, ATTITUDES

On the nature of sustainable product choices: A qualitative study examining college students’ attitudes toward sustainable brands

Ashley D. Heyer School of Education and Social Policy Northwestern University

James Rosenbaum, PhD Principle Investigator School of Education and Social Policy Northwestern University John Laing, PhD Reader Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy Northwestern University Bruce G. Carruthers Reader Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology Northwestern University

On the nature of sustainable product choices 2 Acknowledgements As I bring this project to fruition, it’s important to notice two things (1) this is the longest thing I have ever written and (2) I did not write it alone -- I am deeply indebted to those around me for their support, understanding, and expertise. A special thanks to: John Laing, PhD. for being my most trusted advisor. Danny Cohen for helping me develop the sorting exercises in the semi-structured interview protocol. Realizing that I could generate rich data by asking my participants to sort those cards into piles was one of the best things that happened to this project. Penelope Peterson, PhD for helping me to realize that this project was meant to be qualitative. Donna Kwiatkowski for helping me sort out the paperwork to get access to the grant money I was awarded by the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University (ISEN) to fund this project My housemates, Mike Goldstein, Paul Gafni, and David Linder, for their love and words of encouragement And let’s not forget that little thing, inspiration. Naomi Klein, Barbara Einrich, John Rawls, Immanuel Kant, Rene Magritte, Radiohead, Sweatshop Union, Modest Mouse, The Roots, Clipse, Jay Z, and the Notorious B.I.G. provided many of the ideas, artistic and ideological, that inspired this project and kept me motivated to complete it.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 3 Table of Contents Abstract .................................................................................................................5 Research Objectives & Review of Literature..........................................................6 Definition of Sustainability.........................................................................6 Finality of Social Sustainability..................................................................6 American Over Consumption .....................................................................7 Positive Attitudes Toward Sustainable Goods.............................................7 Ethical Consumerism..................................................................................8 The Attitude-Behavior Gap ........................................................................9 Increased Marketing of Sustainable Products .............................................9 Greenwash .................................................................................................10 The Research Question ...............................................................................10 Research Methods..................................................................................................11 Study Participants: The Early Adopters ......................................................11 Online Survey ............................................................................................12 Scoring the Online Survey..........................................................................13 Semi-Structured Interviews ........................................................................13 Exercise 1 Instructions....................................................................14 About the Brands ............................................................................14 Exercise 2 Instructions....................................................................16 About the Behaviors .......................................................................16 Exercise 3 Instructions....................................................................17 Data Logistics & Participant Compensation ...........................................................17 Data Analysis.........................................................................................................18 Grounded Theory .......................................................................................18 Concept Map ..............................................................................................20 Results & Discussion .............................................................................................21 The Early Adopters ....................................................................................21 Results and Discussion of Exercise 1..........................................................21 Structure of Sustainable Brands ......................................................21 Structure of Unsustainable Brands ..................................................23 Affective Qualities of Sustainable and Unsustainable Brands..........25 Results and Discussion of Exercise.............................................................27 Behaviors at the Top of the Hierarchy.............................................27 Behaviors at the Bottom of the Hierarchy........................................28 Concern for Capital.........................................................................29 Historical Roots of Concern for Capital ..........................................30 Stability = Unsustainability.............................................................31 Moving from Stability = Unsustainability to Stability = Sustainability..................32 Policy Recommendations.......................................................................................33 Price...........................................................................................................34 Pigouvian Taxes .............................................................................35 The California Effect ......................................................................36 Information ................................................................................................38 Educate the Consumer ....................................................................38

On the nature of sustainable product choices 4 The Difficult Diaper Decision .........................................................38 Energy Star .....................................................................................40 GoodGuide and other Decision Helping Tools ................................41 Availability ................................................................................................42 Sustainable Product Placement........................................................42 Leveraging Sustainable Products.....................................................42 NBC’s Behavior Placement.............................................................43 Benefits to Sustainable Companies .............................................................45 Conclusions ...........................................................................................................45 Future Directions for Research...............................................................................47 Beyond the Early Adopters.........................................................................47 Small Companies & Sustainable Business ..................................................47 Situational Primers & Sustainable Consumption.........................................48 Limitations.............................................................................................................48 Works Cited...........................................................................................................50 Appendices ............................................................................................................53 (A) Shell Advertisement .............................................................................54 (B) Online Survey Protocol ........................................................................55 (C) Semi-Structured Interview Protocol......................................................60 (D) Bibliography Regarding Brand Pairs ....................................................62

On the nature of sustainable product choices 5 Abstract Americans, the world’s most voracious consumers, claim to have positive attitudes toward both environmentally and socially sustainable products, and many claim that they would purchase these products even if they were more expensive than unsustainable products. The purchasing behavior of these consumers, however, is not necessarily consistent with their positive attitudes. To more fully understand that behavior gap, this qualitative study explores consumer attitudes toward sustainable goods as well as sustainable business practices in order to generate a more nuanced understanding of consumer attitudes toward sustainable products. This consists of identifying how “sustainable brands” and “unsustainable brands” are perceived relative to one another, why consumers would be likely to prefer sustainable brands over unsustainable brands, and what barriers exist to purchasing or preferring sustainable products. I outline the basic structural and affective qualities participants attribute to sustainable and unsustainable brands, and illuminate 4 barriers to purchasing sustainable products: (1) high price, (2) lack of information, and (3) lack of availability, and (4) concern for capital. To have a concern for capital1 is to say that while someone may feel positively about purchasing sustainable products and enjoy the concept of sustainable business, they are also worried that operating a sustainable business is antithetical to accumulating capital. I offer policy recommendations designed to diminish the first three barriers to purchasing sustainable products, which may serve to temper the attitudes of consumers toward these products and diminish the persistence of the fourth barrier. These recommendations are designed to encourage growth in the market for sustainable products through consumer demand.


In neoclassical economics, capital is one of the factors of production (land, labor, organization, entrepreneurship, and management may be considered others), which are the resources employed to produce goods and services, but are not, themselves, consumed.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 6 Research Objectives & Review of Literature Definition of Sustainability One of the most influential definitions of sustainability comes from the World Commission on Environment and Development developed by the United Nations. It defines sustainability as “a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development; and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations” (United Nations, 1987). The definition of sustainability I will use throughout this project is “the potential for long-term maintenance of Earth’s ecosystem, which depends on making trade offs between the economic, social, and environmental spheres to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” I have chosen this slightly altered definition to more clearly delineate the need for tradeoffs when it comes to operating in a sustainable manner. Finality of Social Sustainability By alluding to the future of society, this definition contends that social sustainability is finality of development, while economic and environmental sustainability are both goals of sustainable development as well as instruments to achieve it. In other words, when we apply sustainability as a concept, we should understand our ultimate concern to be the future existence and stability of society. While sustainability certainly requires a clean environment and a workable economic system, neither of these are sustainability’s ultimate end. After all, what good would a clean environment and workable economics do without a society to enjoy them? To satisfy this definition a sustainable company should be understood as a company that makes

On the nature of sustainable product choices 7 tradeoffs between economic, social, and environmental concerns to the end of social sustainability. American Over Consumption Americans constitute less than 5% of the world’s population, consume 21% of the world’s energy, and account for 21% of the world GDP. To compare, Europe has 7.2% of the world’s population, uses 18% of the world’s energy, and accounts for 21% of world GDP; China has 20% of the world's population, consumes 16% of the world’s energy, and accounts for 11% of its GDP. In 2000 the per capita consumption of all materials in the United States was 23.7 metric tons, 52% more than the European average. In 2007, the average American generated 4.6 lbs of municipal solid waste each day. For comparison, municipal solid waste generation rates (in lbs/person/day) are 3.0 in Sweden, 3.4 in Germany, and 3.5 in the UK (University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems, 2009) These numbers suggest that Americans have a much greater (negative) impact on the natural environment than any other population, and the country is continuing to grow. In 2009 the population of the United States was 306 million and it is estimated to increase to 370 million by 2030 (US Census Bureau, 2009). Unless the consumption patterns of Americans are significantly adjusted to account for the limited nature of natural resources, pressure on the environment as well as social systems will increase in an effort to produce more goods. Positive Attitudes Toward Sustainable Goods Despite U.S. citizens’ high levels of consumption, polls consistently show that a majority of U. S. citizens consider themselves to be "environmentalists.” According to the Green Gauge Report, a nationwide long-term syndicated study of consumer attitudes and behaviors towards the environment, eighty-seven percent of US consumers are “seriously” concerned about the

On the nature of sustainable product choices 8 environment (Roper Organization, 2007). Consumers would even consider paying more for environmentally friendly products. In a 1990 poll by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, for example, 82% of the respondents said they would pay at least 5% more for a product that was environmentally friendly, up from 49% the previous year (Levin, 1990). A more recent Advertising Age poll showed that for 70% of the respondents purchase decisions were at least "sometimes" influenced by environmental messages in advertising and on product labels (Chase and Smith, 1992). Ethical Consumerism The rise of green consumerism lead to a broadened concept of consumption referred to as ethical consumerism2 (Uusitalo & Oksanen, 2004). Ethical consumerism refers to buyer behavior that reflects a concern for problems that arise from unethical and unjust global trade like child labor, low wages, human rights infringements, labor union suppression, and environmental pollution (Strong, 1996). Both green consumerism and its subsequent ethical consumerism are forms of symbolic consumption because consumers consider not only individual but social values, ideas and ideologies when choosing products (Usuitalo & Oksanen, 2004). In the U.S. consumers also seem to feel positively about ethical corporate behavior, and they believe they would take actions to promote it through a willingness to pay higher prices for products (Creyer & Ross, 1997; Simon, 1995). Vershoor (1997) reported that 75% of consumers in one study claim that they would switch brands and retailers to support worthy causes like

There are also types of ethical consumerism that center around religious ideology like purchasing kosher meat, or halaal. In 2006 Christians in America boycotted Ecke Ranch, the largest producer of poinsettias, because of the ranch’s financial contributions to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions. For this project I focus on applied ethics, which is a philosophical examination from a moral standpoint of particular issues in private and public life. I do not consider ethical standards derived from purported supernatural revelation.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 9 social justice or environmental sustainability. Over three quarters of consumers polled in the U.S. assert that they would avoid purchasing products if they knew they were made under poor working conditions. A comparable number claimed that they would be willing to pay more for garments made without sweatshop labor (O’Rourke, 2005). The Attitude-Behavior Gap Although Americans may consider themselves environmentalists Hal Rothman (1998), author of The Greening of a Nation?, argues that they are probably “half-hearted” ones, “and are unwilling to face difficult choices and altered lifestyles.” Indeed, 83 percent of those polled in an April 2000 Gallup poll readily agreed with the broadest goals of the environmental movement, but when asked to rate their own commitment to the cause, just 16 percent said they were “active participants,” while over half admitted that they were sympathetic but uninvolved. Furthermore, when these respondents were asked to rate the seriousness of various problems on the U.S. agenda comparatively, they tended to rank the environment well behind other issues like drug use, violence, health care, and homelessness (Guber, 2003). If this is the case with environmental concerns, it is likely to be the case for social sustainability as well. There are probably very few American consumers who make an effort purchase goods that are produced by laborers who have been fairly paid and are working in safe and healthy working conditions. Increased Marketing of Sustainable Products Although the majority of consumers may not be willing to purchase sustainable products right now, companies have certainly gotten the message to begin marketing sustainable products. The Marketing Intelligence Service estimates that manufacturers identified approximately 10% of all new products introduced in 1990 as “green” or otherwise “environmentally friendly.” This is more than double the number of “green” products just one year earlier and an incredible

On the nature of sustainable product choices 10 2000% increase over the number of “green” products introduced in 1985 (Drumwright, 1994; Davis, 1992). Mayer, Gray-Lee, Scammon, and Cude's (1996) audit of grocery store products across the United States uncovered environmental product or package claims, either explicit or implied, for 66 percent of the 397 brands they audited. Given the sheer number of claims made, we can assume that a good number are relatively trivial, confusing, misleading, or downright illegal. This is “greenwashing,” a process whereby a company attempts to preserve or expand its market share by presenting its products in an unjustifiably positive light. Although the term greenwashing implies a singular concern for the environment, I contend that a product should be considered greenwashed when it unjustly promotes a company’s social impacts as well. Greenwash Many corporations have attempted to market sustainable products by misrepresenting or omitting facts about the social and environmental impacts of their products. For instance, you may have seen some of Royal Dutch Shell's advertising, where the company boasts of its commitment to sustainability and investments in alternative energy (Appendix A). The company, however, does not seem to be dedicated to these concepts and has sold off most of its solar and wind energy investments. Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer recently stated that his “company will continue to be primarily an oil and gas company” (Gronewald, 2009). When companies spend money to propagate faulty information about their sustainability efforts, they mislead and confuse consumers, which causes cynicism about all corporate sustainability claims regardless of their truth. The Research Question

On the nature of sustainable product choices 11 In light of the complex nature of sustainable product decisions, we need research that explores consumer attitudes in a more rich way than simply identifying the size of the market for sustainable goods, which has been a popular avenue research about sustainable products. I have chosen to conduct a qualitative study to explore consumers’ attitudes toward sustainable products. To this end I will identify what kind of information consumers (specifically Northwestern undergraduates) use when asked to differentiate between sustainable and unsustainable goods as well as explore their attitudes toward sustainable goods and sustainable business practices, while paying special attention to whether sustainable goods are preferred to unsustainable goods and why. This research will lead to a more nuanced view on how consumers perceive sustainable brands and a further understanding of the attitude-behavior gap, which may in turn help those who have a vested interest in encouraging (or discouraging) the purchase of sustainable products get their message out more successfully. Research Methods Study Participants: The Early Adopters I have opted to focus on Northwestern undergraduate students (ages 18-22) as the subject of this research because they are akin to type of person who is likely to care about sustainability today. Indeed, compared to the average citizen of the United States, Northwestern undergraduate students are wealthier, more educated, and younger. Sustainable products are often more expensive than their unsustainable equivalents. For instance, Organic food products typically cost 10 to 40% more than similar conventionally produced products (Winter & Davis, 2006). On a similar note, Fair Trade products are oftentimes slightly more expensive than their equivalents because there may be a relatively small market for Fair Trade goods, there are additional costs associated with certification, and there is

On the nature of sustainable product choices 12 relatively more money going to the producer in terms of income as well as for business development (Oxfam, 2009). Given that there is a lot of information to consider when it comes to sustainability, it’s safe to assume that those who are more educated will have more tools with which to evaluate those claims and perhaps more of a motivation to engage with these ideas than the average person. Finally, because sustainability is concerned primarily with the future of the planet, it is rational for a younger person to be more significantly invested in these ideas. While it would not be irrational for an older person to be concerned with sustainability issues, I contend that the younger person simply has a more vested interest. For all these reasons, Northwestern undergraduate students are suitable subjects for this research. I count them among the “early adopters” of sustainable products, which is to say that they would be relatively more likely/able to purchase (or think about purchasing) sustainable goods than people who are older, less educated or a have a lower socio-economic status. Online Survey I collected data during two phases: an online survey followed by twenty one-on-one, semi-structured interviews. The online survey (Appendix B) was used as a method for recruiting respondents to participate in an interview and was designed to elucidate a rough understanding of the respondent’s attitudes toward and general knowledge about sustainable products and practices3. The questionnaire contained queries about the participant’s purchasing habits, his familiarity with eco-labels like Energy Star, Fair Trade and USDA Organic. He was also asked


This data could have been compared with the data I collected during interviews to determine whether respondents were likely to give consistent answers throughout the study. In light of time constraints and a lack of manpower, however, I chose not to undertake this analysis.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 13 to indicate his preferences regarding corporate behavior, including how important it is to him that companies engage in certain sustainable business practices. The survey was distributed to Northwestern undergraduate students by personal email and was posted on Facebook. Although some demographic information (age, gender, year in school) was collected, it was not sufficient to identify any online survey participants. Scoring the Online Survey The online survey was administered using an electronic survey via GoogleDocs, which was accessible from anywhere on the web. Once a respondent completed the survey, the data was entered onto an excel spreadsheet and then each person’s score was calculated. The scoring method awards a maximum of 4 points to the answers that indicate more of a preference for or knowledge about ‘sustainability.’ For instance, during the portion of the online survey that asks the respondent to indicate how knowledgeable he is about a particular eco-label, answering “very knowledgeable” will earn the respondent four points. Indicating that he is “somewhat knowledgeable will earn him 3 points, while “have heard of but am unfamiliar with” is worth 2 points. Selecting that he has “never heard of” this eco-label will earn him 1 point. Based on the scores from this online survey, I selected twenty willing respondents to participate in semi-structured interviews. These interviews were intended to explore an individual’s attitudes toward sustainable business practices as well as his perceptions about the sustainability potential of different brands in-depth. On the initial online survey there were 120 total points available, and the responses I received ranged from 55 to 102 points. I wanted to make sure I had interviewees with a relatively wide range of opinions, so I made an effort to select individuals with varying scores. Individuals were only invited to participate in the interview if they noted that they would be willing to participate on their online survey.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 14 Semi-Structured Interviews To get my interviewees talking about the issue of sustainability as it relates to both social and environmental concerns, I devised a series of (index card) sorting exercises. The first of these exercises were intended to get my interviewees to share what types of brands strike them as sustainable and why (Exercise 1). I also wanted to find out how my participants ‘believe’ any company ‘should’ act (Exercise 2). Finally, I wanted to explore whether any of the brands from Exercise 1 could be associated/disassociated with the behaviors the interviewee had identified as ‘important’ during Exercise 2 (Exercise 3). Exercise 1 Instructions: Please sort these branded cards according to how sustainable you believe them to be. Create three groups: sustainable brands, unsustainable brands, and brands of unknown sustainability. You may have as many or as few cards in each group as you wish, but you must sort all the cards into one of the piles. 1. Adidas 2. American Apparel 3. Ben & Jerry’s 4. Chipotle 5. Chiquita 6. Haagen Dazs 7. Kettle Chips 8. SunChips 9. Timberland 10. Urban Outfitters Once participants sorted these brands I asked a series of questions to explore the participant’s reasons for sorting the brands into the groups they did. About the Brands: To incline participants to find some of these brands sustainable and others unsustainable I selected different brands of similar things, ensuring that one of the brands in the pair was more sustainable than the other. I did not rely on any objective measure of

On the nature of sustainable product choices 15 sustainability to choose these brands because there does not seem to be any truly objective method to evaluating the sustainability potential of various companies4. In the absence of any truly objective measure of sustainability, I wanted to make sure the companies I chose for my pairings could reasonably be distinguished by their commitment to sustainability. To do this I read through company reports like 10ks, sustainability & CSR reports, corporate labor codes, and annual reports to try to get an understanding of each company's practices in three areas, respectively: environmental impacts, labor standards, and community engagement. Based on my research (Appendix C) I would categorize the brands I selected as paired according to product similarity, but divergent regarding sustainability: Unsustainable vs. Sustainable Adidas vs. Timberland Urban Outfitters vs. American Apparel Chiquita vs. Chipotle Haagen Dazs vs. Ben & Jerry’s SunChips vs. Kettle Chips Furthermore, since my sample consists of Northwestern undergraduate students, I wanted to include brands that they would be able to identify, which lead me to focus primarily on food and clothing brands. For the purposes of this study I paid little attention to theories about branding that are common in marketing literature. For instance, some companies use a strong corporate brand to create product brand recognition, while other companies focus on branding individual products

For instance, one of the best-known sustainability measures is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which was launched in 1999 to enable people to track the financial performance of the leading sustainability driven companies. Each year it releases a review of the companies in the index and ranks them based on their environmental, economic, and social performance. Research suggests, however, that DJSI tends to have a large cap bias. In other words, it tends to be biased toward larger corporations (Cerrin & Dobers, 2000).

On the nature of sustainable product choices 16 (i.e. Nike v. Proctor and Gamble). I had little use for these nuanced understandings of brands given my study design. Instead, I used the brands as triggers to get participants talking about how they perceive the sustainability potential of brands in general. Exercise 2 Instructions: Please sort these behavior cards in to a hierarchy according to how important it is to you that a company engages in each of these activities. Behaviors may tie for a position on the scale. If one or more of these behaviors is not important at all to you, please do not include the card in your ranking system. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Employees may organize and bargain collectively Company is actively working to reduce energy and resource consumption Company is working to reduce the amount of waste it creates Company employs independent monitors to oversee overseas production Company practices environmental stewardship even if the country it operates in lacks environmental regulations 6. Employees have freedom from forced labor 7. Company is engaged with the community and supportive of it 8. Company employs metrics to measure and manage energy consumption 9. Employees earn a living wage 10. Employer sponsors job-related education programs for employees 11. Company routinely collaborates with non-profit groups After the participants sorted the eleven behaviors into a hierarchy I asked them to explain why they felt compelled to place the behaviors where they did on their respective hierarchies. About the Behaviors: These eleven behaviors were selected because they account for a variety of socially and environmentally sustainable behaviors. Although some of them may not seem directly relevant to the way we typically think of ‘sustainable business’ (for instance, that employers ought to provide job-related education programs) I believe these behaviors have the potential to be carried out to the benefit of society by a company interested in making tradeoffs between economic, social, and environmental goals to the end of social sustainability. It is noteworthy that none of these behaviors include corporate behavior related to the accumulation of profit. For this research I took it as granted that companies are expected to

On the nature of sustainable product choices 17 generate profit in order to fulfill responsibilities to stockholders, so I chose to focus this exercise particularly on behaviors that tend to be associated with sustainable businesses. Exercise 3 Instructions: Please use the groups of branded cards and your hierarchy of behavior cards to answer the following question: Do you associate/disassociate any of these brands with the corporate behaviors you identified as important? Data Logistics & Participant Compensation To ensure participant anonymity each person was assigned a participant code, which was used to identify him in lieu of any other type of information. The identifying information was kept separately from the coded data. The interviews were digitally recorded and labeled according to the participant’s code. These recordings were used only to transcribe the interviews, and will not be disseminated otherwise. Data collection was confidential, but not anonymous since I have the ability to trace responses to subject identities. The interviews were transcribed using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing marketplace that coordinates the use of human intelligence to perform tasks (like transcription) that computers are unable to do well. I split all of the digital audio files into five-minute segments and posted them to Mechanical Turk, where I paid $2.00-$2.50 per task. Since transcribers had no information about any of the study participants and limited access to the interview data, the participants are not identifiable by the transcribers. Once all the interviews were transcribed, I checked each one of them for accuracy. A $1250 grant from the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University (ISEN) made it possible for me to compensate my participants $30 cash upon the completion of the semi-structured interview. This grant also paid for transcription services for the 20 hours of interviews.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 18 Data Analysis Grounded Theory Once the interview data was collected and transcribed my advisor and I coded it using grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). I chose to use grounded theory because it provides a methodological framework designed to expand on what we know about a particular phenomenon – in this case consumer attitudes toward sustainable brands. In the method, conceptual properties and categories may be ‘discovered’ or generated from the qualitative data by systematically employing a data coding scheme. The primary objective of grounded theory is to expand upon an explanation of a phenomenon by identifying the key elements of that phenomenon, and then categorizing the relationships of those elements to the context and process of the experiment. In other words, the goal is to go from the general to the specific without losing sight of what makes the subject of a study unique. For this project, data were coded on three levels. First, the data were examined line by line in order to discover relevant themes. Next, the data were compared and contrasted to help elucidate categories and concepts. These two procedures together lead to the development of a hierarchy of integrated categories, which allowed theory to emerge. Strauss and Corbin (1994) maintain that theory consists of plausible relationships proposed among concepts and sets of concepts. Theory focuses on how individuals interact in relation to the phenomenon under study it asserts a plausible relation between concepts and sets of concepts, which is derived from data acquired through fieldwork, interviews, observations, and documents. The resulting theory can be reported in a narrative framework or as a set of propositions (Dey, 1999).

On the nature of sustainable product choices 19 I have organized my final codes into a concept map, which should provide a visual representation of the types of themes and relationships I identified in the interviews. There is a discussion of each code in the Results & Discussion section.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 20

Figure 1. Concept map representing the relationships between final codes

On the nature of sustainable product choices 21

Results & Discussion The Early Adopters As I expected, Northwestern Undergraduate students counted themselves among the people who ought to be concerned with sustainability. Although they did not count themselves among the most economically advantaged (poor college students) they did mention their higher level of education as well as their youth as motivations for caring about sustainability. You should be as well informed as you can, I think. And I think, you know, a lot of people do their homework, at least the people I talk to. People from Northwestern, the educated, young segment of the population – I think a lot of people here have done their research on brands. Participant 36 #133-136 I think that it’s a relatively new idea and I think the stigma is that it’s more of an educated idea, so young people in college – colleges are stereotyped as the place where radical ideas come from. Participant 35 #308-310 Probably people that appreciate nature so, like people that would like go on a hiking trip. People that study it, people that are more educated definitely have better knowledge of like consequences and actions and whatnot. So probably more educated, more environmentally conscious, and more nature loving people. [And] certainly younger because this information has come out more recently and it is penetrating more to the younger crowd. Participant 27 #188-196 Results and Discussion of Exercise 1 The Structure of Sustainable Brands: Participants tended to frame brands as “sustainable” if they perceived them to be (1) a small business (2) a business with transparent operations and (3) a business that produces expensive products. The notion of transparent operations was heavily associated with domestic (U.S.) production, local products, and products produced by co-ops. Small On her feelings about big-business: I don't know whether or not this is just a contrived thing of American culture but I, I definitely seem to trust it more if it's a smaller company. Um, for instance if I see, like, P&G says that they're, um, Proctor & Gamble has, like, cut energy by,

On the nature of sustainable product choices 22 like, a large, large percentage, or like, has made something organically I'm much more -- I'm much less likely to trust it than, like, if I see a smaller, like, farm company, um, saying the same thing. – Participant 26 #344-348 On why he placed Ben & Jerry’s in the sustainable category: Just the whole idea of the theme that they’re trying to adopt it seemed like it was "alternative" to the big company – big corporation. And they started they started small, so I just associate those things with sustainable practices and other good things. Participant 27 #28-30 On why small businesses are more free to pursue sustainable strategies: Larger corporations have a…larger pressure to make more money and smaller corporations can be based more around ideals. Participant 25 #414-416 Transparent On why she sorted American Apparel into the sustainable category: I mean, they are American Apparel; I think all of their clothing is made in the United States. It is -- I don’t know if it’s part of their mantra to be like fair in the labor wages and practices but I hope so -- assume so because it’s in this country. Participant 35 #11-14 On how Adidas could prove it is sustainable: I don't know what kind of campaign they could put on. They'd try and keep jobs here and not exploit workers in other countries, you know, keep wages up well. Decrease the waste they produce. Again they'd have to show me that they were letting consumers know they were doing that. I'm not exactly sure how they would -- if they could directly make commercials to show that they are making efforts to stay sustainable. Participant 21 #146-150 Expensive On the expense of sustainable clothing: When I see things marketed as “environmentally friendly organic cotton” they’re way more expensive, so it’s hard for even me to make the decision to buy them. Participant 29 #205-207 On purchasing ethically made clothing: You have to go to specialty stores, but then it’s really expensive -- out of my price range. You’ll see a lot of organic cotton, or things made out of hemp, or bamboo.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 23 So I think it’s there but you have to go looking for it and you can’t always afford it unless you are some chi chi environmentalist. Participant 9 #243-245 The Structure of Unsustainable Brands: Participants tended to frame a brand as “unsustainable” if they perceived it to be affiliated with (1) a big business (2) a business with opaque operations and (3) a business that produces cheap products. The notion of opaque operations was heavily associated with producing goods overseas in areas like China, South America, and Southeast Asia. These factors mirror the perceptions relied upon to distinguish the “sustainable” brands. Big On the sustainability potential of Unilever v. Ben & Jerry’s: Unilever is a bigger corporation so I don’t know the specifics but I feel like with a bigger corporation it’s easier to move away from any mission they see as unprofitable. Whereas Ben and Jerry’s might just do stuff because the founders want to do it and it’s a good thing to do, a bigger corporation might not be as concerned with that. Participant 10 #88-92 On why he sorted Chiquita as unsustainable: I assume they’re also a big company so are not really concerned with how their bananas are made in terms of environmental impact because they’re just trying to make money. Participant 10 #135-136 Opaque On his skepticism about SunChips sustainable advertising: I remember seeing those commercials that saying that their chips are solar powered and there are like those people dancing in the field, which is just so ridiculous, but I mean I’m sure they couldn’t say it unless it was partly true. But it’s like, okay, you’re giving me no actual information. You’re saying solar power and you’re showing happy people dancing and eating SunChips. That’s just like all right...that doesn’t tell me anything. Participant 40 #274-280 On why she sorted Urban Outfitters as unsustainable: Urban Outfitters I put as unsustainable simply because on their labels, I mean, most of their clothing is coming from Southeast Asia and China, and based on

On the nature of sustainable product choices 24 broad sweeping generalizations and prior knowledge, most of the factories where these are made are big polluters, they are not necessarily paying fair wages. Participant 9 #211-213 On why he sorted Adidas as unsustainable: When I think shoe companies I think sweatshops. And that's pretty much the same for the two clothing companies as well. I just think child laborers in China or something. Participant 27 #104-105 Cheap On the price of producing sustainable goods: There’s always going to be a price issue because one of the reasons they’re made so unsustainably is because it would cost money to do it sustainably, so I often thought to myself if I knew that something was more environmentally friendly and the difference in price was not prohibitive, I would actively support that. Participant 29 #222-225 On why he placed Adidas in the unsustainable group: I know Adidas works with rubber for example for their shoes, so I'm sure that it's cheaper to synthetically make rubber in a less-sustainable way. Again, I don't know anything that Adidas does in that direction I just assumed that they are looking for profit margins since I've never heard them advertising anything towards sustainability. Participant 6 #183-186 I think Wal-Mart is sort of notorious for poor labor practices and that’s why they’re so cheap. Participant 35 #698-699 When participants categorized a brand as being of “unknown sustainability” they attributed some factors from the “sustainable” category as well as some factors from the “unsustainable” category to the brand. Timberland was sorted into this pile on several occasions because my participants had a difficult time deciding whether the brand’s association with nature was indicative of sustainable business. Both Participant 43 and Participant 27 saw a potential conflict between the ‘naturalist’ philosophy of the brand and the way it is manufactured, leading them to place it in the unknown category. I don't really know anything about Timberland. The only thing I really associate

On the nature of sustainable product choices 25 them with is an outdoorsy back to nature philosophy, but I don't really identify that as - I mean you think they serve to like outdoors oriented clientele that they would be environmentally responsible, but that doesn't mean they're socially responsible and it doesn't actually mean they're environmentally responsible, so I don't really know. Participant 43 #187-191 Timberland I had no idea either way. I had my clothing manufacturer pointing me towards bad, but there are all sorts of naturalist stuff. So that was a good pull and I decided to put it in the middle, but I don’t really know. Participant 27 #173-175 Although I recruited participants who claimed to be differently committed to caring about sustainable business practices and buying sustainable goods, these respondents adhered to these frameworks relatively consistently, so the way participants characterized “sustainable” and “unsustainable” brands was basically consistent across responses. Affective Qualities of Sustainable and Unsustainable Brands: Participants were also likely to associate “sustainable” and “unsustainable” brands with different affective qualities. Sustainable brands were characterized as brands from companies with “authentically sustainable business practices” as well as a “concern” for communities, the environment, and their employees. For instance, Participant 29 considered SunChips authentically sustainable because they were engaged in operating sustainably before it was popular. They were doing that a few years before the whole fad, to my knowledge, and so I think it’s something they actually care about – it’s a priority to the corporation or its directors that “this is our model, this is our marketing, this is who we are. Participant 29 #29-31 Participant 22 characterized Ben & Jerry’s as authentically sustainable because of the company was started with sustainable values in mind. I can't say…that I put that much research into the sustainability of Ben & Jerry's, but knowing how they started...just like together as like these two liberal guys and everything like that. And although it has grown to this huge corporation I feel like they still have some moral, more progressive values behind what they do. Participant 22 #10-14

On the nature of sustainable product choices 26 Regarding a company’s concern for communities, people, and the environment, Participant 11 noted that SunChips might be considered sustainable because it is healthy, which is good for people and may reflect a larger concern for workers and the environment. I felt they probably wouldn't be as bad as someone like Lays because of the fact that like the product itself is marginally more healthy, so maybe that like translates into a little bit of a greater consciousness about workers rights and environmental rights. Participant 11 #84-87 Participant 17 was willing to sort Timberland into the sustainable category based on the fact that they seem to care about nature. They have a tree on their logo, and if you care about trees and the outdoors, then you are probably sustainable in some capacity. Participant 17 #333-334 Participant 26 noted that she would be more willing to sort companies who are engaged with the community into the sustainable group. Interacting with members of the community is associated with concern on the part of the business. For a company to be well-rounded I think that the company should just interact on a more personal level with the people it’s working to serve -- the people who purchase the products. Participant 26 #473-475 Unsustainable brands, on the other hand, were characterized as brands from companies that had either no sustainable business practices or sustainable claims based on minimal actions and falsely constructed images of sustainability. For instance, when Participant 38 talked about whether one should trust organic labels, he alluded to the notion that some companies would purposely lie to consumers to sell sustainable products. They don’t realize that words like organic can be like argued for if they were actually like contested. Someone could easily just say like well yeah, it’s organic because I do this one thing and, you know, I am not claiming that I do all these other things, I just say it’s organic. And I think a lot of companies are exploiting that, because people are really getting into like eco, into anything that you put “eco” in front of they’re like, “Oh, that’s environmentally friendly, I’ll pay an extra like 50 cents for that.” Participant 38 #110-115

On the nature of sustainable product choices 27 Similarly, Participant 26 noted that SunChips should not necessarily be considered sustainable regardless of how it is marketed because a company that does not exude sustainable qualities owns it. I think it does help Frito-Lay's image, to have this company that's considered healthier and made through means that don't harm the environment as much. So I think it does help Frito-Lay as a brand, but it also kind of takes away from the impact that SunChips have, because they are made by this giant conglomerate that doesn't necessarily stand for sustainability. Participant 26 #130-13 Results and Discussion of Exercise 2 Behaviors at the Top of the Hierarchy: In brief, respondents were asked about a number of characteristics of companies and their products that would typically be characterized as “sustainable.” My participants tended to sort these behaviors with an eye to ethical concerns, especially those that are not easily dismissed, by placing broad goals at the top of the hierarchy and appealing to moral values and ethical codes when defending the position of those corporate behaviors. The specific behaviors they chose to rank at the top differed between respondents, but often included basic environmental concerns like “company is actively working to reduce energy and resource consumption” and “company is working to reduce the amount of waste it creates” as well as relatively uncontroversial issues regarding basic human rights like and “employees have freedom from forced labor.” For instance, Participant 46 explained “employees earn a living wage” was at the top of her hierarchy because it is a matter of respect and should be prioritized. I think earning a living wage is just like a respect to the people who are, like the, like are the actual force behind the production of your product. And I think -- I mean, I just think a living wage is really important because it like, just like ensures that the employee stays above water and if they get sick, or if they have an accident, or if they, if they – if their spouse loses their job, they have enough savings and they have enough -- they have like a moderate cushion, not to go, not to go like below the poverty line, so I just think it’s important to like treat employees with that respect. Participant 46 #180-186

On the nature of sustainable product choices 28

Participant 6 appealed to human rights when he ranked “employees have freedom from forced labor” at the top of his hierarchy. I’m against slavery. I think it's wrong, um, I guess I've never been asked this before. I guess it's a human right than a freedom of your life. Participant 6 #363365 Participant 36 also appealed to human rights in his defense of “employees have freedom from forced labor” as his highest ranked behavior. I think that's just from, like, a human rights standpoint, you know, it's—forced labor is, you know, really morally indefensible. Participant 36 #432-433 Behaviors at the Bottom of the Hierarchy: The bottom of hierarchies tended to consist of corporate behaviors that were perceived to require stringent corporate regulation or a significant expenditure of corporate capital. These behaviors overwhelmingly included “employees my organize and bargain collectively,” “employees earn a living wage,” “company employs independent monitors to oversee overseas production,” “company is engaged with the community and supportive of it,” “employer sponsors job related education programs for employees,” “company practices environmental stewardship even if the country it operates in lacks environmental regulations” and “company routinely collaborates with non-profit groups.” Most often participants would express a favorable disposition toward these ideas in theory, but see them as contradictory to the generation of capital. Participant 6 identified the preference for capital over environmental protection when he explained why less developed countries allow more pollution than more developed countries. I think it all comes down to economics. In more developed countries were we can afford to put levies on pollution, we do. In less developed countries, they value

On the nature of sustainable product choices 29 the return on their industry more, so they allow pollution and contamination to occur, but I still think it's bad. Participant 6 #460-463 Participant 3 appealed to the benefit of simply having a job, even if the wages were unreasonably low by her standards. And that even if they do like make their goods in America, they’re still likely, very likely, using material that came from, you know, somewhere where they pay people less than a dollar a day, but that’s a whole different story cause they do some of the best jobs in those regions. Participant 3 #107-110 Participant 29 also appealed to the benefit of simply having a job when he argued that there is some value to performing sweatshop labor that could be lost if wages rose. I think it’s good that there’s any money in those places at all, and if they had to pay a living wage they probably wouldn’t be in those places, and there would be no money for those people. Participant 29 #330-332 Participant 18 considered how companies would be impacted by being made to publish information about their energy usage, and was most concerned by the capital impacts. I mean if every single company would have to do it, then it'd probably be good for the consumer just because they would know which companies hurting the environment and which ones are making more of an effort to conserve it. But I just see -- it would just take a blow to the company itself -- just a lot more money to put out and a lot more work. Participant 18 #438-442 Concern for Capital: It appears that my respondents (and probably Americans in general) see some sort of “good” emanating from the existence of profit-generating firms, which is capital. At some level respondents are willing to trade socially and environmentally sustainable practices for capital concerns, and would expect others to agree – even those others who were employed in the sweatshop or who were citizens of the polluted country. Respondents also alluded to the negative impacts of regulating negative effects by noting that regulations tend to make capital unhappy and likely to flee to less regulated areas, which would disadvantage the population who insisted on regulation in the first place.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 30 Participants associate firms and capital with “opportunity” in that firms and capital provide a structure that people may engage in to make money for themselves, which can be used to satisfy their desires. Anything that adversely affects the firms by making it harder for them to generate profit is a direct risk to the individual engaged in the market. Historical Roots of Concern for Capital: The notion that an individuals pursuit of capital has beneficial consequences for the society has deep roots in the American psyche that can be traced back to Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, which elucidated many key principles of classical economics including the division of labor and the invisible hand. The Fable of the Bees also propositioned the idea that the true causes of social welfare and social progress are a result of human vice – people work out of greed, are polite out of self-interest, and keep the law for fear of punishment. As Sharpers, Parasites, Pimps, Players, Pick-Pockets, Coiners, Quacks, Sooth-Sayers, And all those, that, in Enmity With down-right Working, cunningly Convert to their own Use the Labour Of their good-natur'd heedless Neighbour. These were called Knaves; but, bar the Name, The grave Industrious were the Same (Mandeville, 1705). This notion was picked up on by Adam Smith and further propagated in the Wealth of Nations, which was undoubtedly influential in laying the basic groundwork for capitalist economic theory in America. Smith’s version of this concept is as follows: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love” (Smith, 1776). Stability = Unsustainability: The companies that my participants identified as superior at generating profit fit well into the “unsustainable” schema identified during the first sorting

On the nature of sustainable product choices 31 exercise. Participant 11 noted that bigger companies are more likely to be solely seeking profit at the expense of responsible business. I think that smaller, more independent companies usually are formed with more sense of responsibility and since their share, I mean, it's sort of, it's sort of hard to tell because like, they might be formed just to become a larger company and in order to reap the benefits - the economic benefits - of it's product, but I also feel like more of them are probably [pause] more sustainability minded than the large companies that have already been, you know, corrupted by our capitalist process. Participant 11 #73-78 Participant 25 also identified big businesses profit generation at the expense of ‘ideals.’ Larger corporations have a…larger pressure to make more money and smaller corporations can be based more around ideals. Participant 25 #414-416 Indeed, participants characterized these companies as likely to take advantage of regulatory differences (cheap labor, few environmental regulations) between or within nations in order to capitalize on the imbalance. For instance, Participant 36 acknowledged the size and relative economic success of Chiquita Brands, Inc. while noting their exploitive relationship to laborers. I think large corporations that make their product in South America, I feel more often than not, have a tendency to do unsustainable things, like pay living wages, bad factory conditions, exploit labor. Participant 36 #413-415 Participant 11 had a similar response to McDonalds while attempting to decipher whether to sort Chipotle in to the sustainable or unsustainable category. I know it is owned by McDonald’s, which is a really large multinational corporation not known for treating its workers well and known for paying a very low wage. Participant 11 #242-244 These attitudes signal a fundamental disconnect in that participants associate unsustainable firms with profit and an opportunity to accumulate monetary wealth for themselves, but they also associate these firms with negative impacts like harming the environment, employees, and the communities. While the presence of a profit-generating firm is good for individuals it may also generate significant harms, which could not be rectified without raising (environmental and

On the nature of sustainable product choices 32 labor) standards. According to my respondents raising standards could make capital likely to flee, which may jeopardize citizens’ chances at prosperity. Indeed, my participants associate economic stability (capital generation) with businesses they identify as unsustainable (big, opaque, cheap goods) and out of a concern for capital are not ready to associate economic stability with sustainable production, no matter how positively they view sustainability. Although primarily theoretical, concern for capital constitutes a significant barrier to purchasing sustainable goods. Moving from Stability=Unsustainability to Stability=Sustainability Right now, firms have relatively little reason to make trade offs between their economic ends and social/environmental goods, since their only formal end is to generate profit. Many of my respondents, however, expressed the idea that consumers could convince firms (that seek profit) to produce socially and environmentally sustainable goods by “voting with their dollar” or purchasing a sustainable good in lieu of the unsustainable version of that good. This should send a signal to the market that sustainable goods are preferred to unsustainable ones and may make it relatively easier for a company to profit from producing sustainable goods. Participant 26, 40, and 25 alluded to the impact consumers could have if they demanded sustainable products. I am kind of working under the assumption that if the primary consumers of a product or of a company’s product aren’t really pushing for sustainability efforts, that the company is less likely to make those efforts on their own. Participant 26 #206-209 Whole Foods has done it successfully, and I think that consumer tastes will always kind of triumph over cost. If you can get enough people to buy something because they care about it then I think that’s a pretty successful marketing technique. Participant 40 #539-542 The importance of [sustainability] depend[s] on how the consumers that want like, if everybody, like, knew that like, oh, Adidas exploits Indonesian workers and then, like, everyone hated that, then they would all buy, you know, American-

On the nature of sustainable product choices 33 made or, you know, better shoes in a sense. And then obviously Adidas would have to change their priorities drastically. Participant 25 #232-236 Most respondents agreed, however, that sustainable goods are currently (1) more expensive to produce (for the company), more expensive to purchase (for the consumer), (2) relatively difficult to understand (requiring a intricate knowledge of sustainability), and (3) harder to find (available only at specialty stores, in special aisles, or on the internet). At this point it is relatively unlikely that consumers could encourage companies to make this transition purely with their own buying power, as there are several barriers to purchasing these products. Expensive to Produce On transitioning businesses to more environmentally friendly technology: In lot of situations it will require internal personnel infrastructure that might not already exist. Like, you got to have consultants. You probably have to have different sort of engineers. It is going to be expensive, but I feel it is important for the long-term viability of the industry and the planet. Participant 9 #530 I just think that if a company is willing to put the extraordinary resources into sustainability when regulations for that don’t even exist, like they could get away with it, but they don’t, then I feel like it’s just exceptionally admirable because it is expensive. Participant 3 #392-396 Expensive to Purchase On the extent to which all Americans could purchase sustainable goods: In our society I don’t think everyone has [the option to purchase sustainable products] because of the lower, middle, and upper class segregations. It’s more expensive because not everything is sustainable nowadays – it’s more of a luxury. Participant 33 #679-681 On who would be likely to buy sustainable products The market was a very like, small circle of people who were getting sort of keen to these issues, and they could have a product sold for them, but they were like so educated, and such a small minority. They were probably willing to pay more for it than someone else who wasn't. Participant 36 #264-267 Hard to understand

On the nature of sustainable product choices 34 I feel like the more sustainable people are often found in more affluent areas, because they can afford to pay premium for sustainability…and these people have more time to invest into understanding sustainability. Participant 6 #155-158 I feel like environmental and labor practice concerns are one of those things where like if you aren’t always thinking about it and always on the ball, and make it part of your daily life you’re not going to be the kind of person to adopt it. It’s one of those things, you hear about it once and you’re like ok, cool, but it’s an ever changing spectrum and to always to be able to make the most knowledgeable choice is not an easy thing. Participant 40 #799-783 Hard to find You have to go to specialty stores, but then it’s really expensive -- out of my price range. You’ll see a lot of organic cotton, or things made out of hemp, or bamboo. So I think it’s there but you have to go looking for it and you can’t always afford it unless you are some chi chi environmentalist. Participant 9 #243-245 If you have a company you don't want people knowing the bad side of you, so I'm willing to bet that some of these major corporations -- companies are going to do their best to kind of like hush that down. Participant 22 #441-444 Policy Recommendations In order to encourage companies to make tradeoffs between social, environmental, and economic concerns, steps must be taken to lower the barriers to consuming sustainable products: (1) high price, (2) lack of information, and (3) lack of availability, and (4) concern for capital so they may experience sales growth. By breaking down these barriers consumers may begin to see the real costs of the products they purchase, which may diminish their concern for capital, or their willingness to preference capital over sustainability concerns when they are in conflict. Price Price is the largest obstacle to purchases of green products, according to a survey of 3,600 consumers by the UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (McKinsey, 2008). Many of these products are more expensive than their equivalents for good reasons. First, there may be a relatively small market for these products, there are additional costs

On the nature of sustainable product choices 35 associated with certification, and there is relatively more money going to the producer in terms of income as well as for business development. While there may be costs associated with sustainable goods, there are also significant costs associated with unsustainable production, which are considered negative externalities5. In the case of externalities, prices do not reflect the full costs or benefits of producing or consuming a product or service, and too much or too little of the good will be produced or consumed in terms of overall costs and benefits to society. For example, when workers are severely underpaid for their labor (as in the case of unregulated sweatshop and agricultural labor), inadequate wages impose significant costs on the laborer and his or her family as well as the society who must address the multiplicity of problems related to poverty -- inadequate access to nutritional food, education, health care, housing, transportation, etc. When the full cost labor is not taken into account the product is produced too cheaply and does not reflect the costs of production like providing an adequate standard of living for those employed producing it. Another example of an externality is that automobiles are not priced to take into account the costs of the pollution they generate. Because this cost is not included, the price of an automobile does not fully reflect the cost of the automobile to society. Pigouvian Taxes: To confront parties with the issue of externalities the economist Arthur Pigou proposed taxing the goods that were the source of the negative externality. These Pigouvian taxes would correct the price to accurately reflect the cost of the goods' production to society, thereby internalizing the costs associated with producing the good (Baumol, 1972). An example of a Pigouvian tax is a carbon tax, which increases the competitiveness of non-carbon technologies like solar, hydro, wind, and nuclear power compared to the traditional burning of

An externality is a cost or benefit not transmitted through prices, which is incurred by a party who did not agree to the action that caused the cost or benefit.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 36 fossil fuels, thus helping to protect the environment while raising revenues for non-carbon technologies. A carbon tax, however, must be administered worldwide in order to ameliorate the global warming already under way (Nader & Heaps, 2008). It would probably require a global body to adjust and regulate this tax, but considering the unsuccessful nature of the Copenhagen climate summit, we may be quite far from establishing any sort of legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, within Pigou's framework, the changes involved are marginal, and the size of the externality is assumed to be small enough not to distort the rest of the economy. Some argue, however, the impact of climate change could result in catastrophe and non-marginal changes (Helm, 2005). The California Effect: The California Effect, or the use of market incentives to promote the ratcheting upward of regulatory standards provides evidence that it may be possible for developed countries to impose higher regulatory standards without a significant loss of capital. In 1970 the Clean Air Act Amendment permitted California to enact stricter emissions standards than the rest of the United States. Although automobile manufacturers had to spend extra capital to produce more efficient cars, they did not simply abandon California as a market. This shows political jurisdictions that develop stricter product standards may have the ability to force producers to design products that meet those standards or else deny them access to its markets (Vogel, 1997). Developed countries, like the state of California, are in a position to establish higher standards to encourage the adoption of social and environmental standards around the world. These standards might ensure things like living wages, safe working conditions, corporate community engagement and environmental stewardship in developing as well as developed

On the nature of sustainable product choices 37 nations. As developing countries look for ways to access the markets of developed countries to fuel their economic growth, these market incentives may actually bolster the social and environmental standards of companies and countries. Without these market incentives from developed countries, however, governments and companies around the world would have relatively little reason to bolster their social and environmental standards. Instead, they may focus on creating cheap exports, which may not be compatible with regulation in favor of sustainability. The United States’ decision to import sustainably produced goods may be especially helpful to temper the populist anger that my respondents expressed toward big businesses that produce overseas. While it is not necessarily true that these companies are the least sustainable, my respondents negative attitudes toward them and were quick to characterize them as exploitive. If the U.S. made it known that they would only import goods that met certain socially and environmentally sustainable criteria, the citizens would have little reason to assume that the goods they purchase were made in undesirable conditions. It is unlikely, however, that the U.S. would decide unilaterally to begin exclusively importing sustainable goods, as it would put them at a distinct disadvantage in the market. Again, it may be most effective to establish an international body of developed countries that are willing to condition access to their markets on producing goods sustainably. To avoid unreasonable or unequal expectations, I suggest that each of the developed countries also adopt these standards of sustainability. Creating international bodies to levy carbon taxes and set global labor standards, however, is a very difficult process. In light of this difficulty, perhaps the real question we should ask is not “how expensive are sustainable products,” but “how do my purchasing habits

On the nature of sustainable product choices 38 affect the global population and environment?” One way to do this is to ensure that consumers understand the financial and environmental returns on their investment in sustainable products. Indeed, consumers may be more willing to try new ones—especially those that cost more—when they find it easy to track the savings (McKinsey, 2008). One way to do this is to educate the consumer about the product decisions he could potentially make. Information Educate the Consumer: Because green products are often difficult to comprehend, the businesses that sell them ought to see themselves as educators rather than just profit generators. It is important for a company not only to explain its own products, but also the larger issues like environmental degradation, climate change, and social instability in order to place their product at the forefront of consumers minds when it comes to sustainability. The Difficult Diaper Decision: The complex nature of this process is worth nothing. First of all, what should be considered sustainable can be a complicated choice, which can be affected by vested interests to promote particular products. Take, for instance, one’s choice to use disposable or cloth diapers for his new baby. Since the average child uses over 5,000 diapers during the 30-month period before toilet training a parent may wish to choose the more sustainable type. In an attempt to convince parents that using disposable diapers is not overly degrading of the environment Proctor and Gamble commissioned a three-year study at the University of Michigan to determine the effects of disposable diapers once they enter the landfill. The research maintains that disposable diapers are environmentally safe (Proctor & Gamble, 1989). Despite this research, however, neither disposable nor cloth diapers can be easily identified as the sustainable choice (Smith & Pitts, n.d.).

On the nature of sustainable product choices 39 Disposable diapers account for about 80 percent of the diapers used in the US. Convenience is the major reason given by parents, particularly in dual-career families where time to care for cloth diapers may be limited. Group day care restrictions, which may require single use diapers also influences the preferred diapering method. Families who lack access to laundry equipment may also find cloth diapers burdensome to care for (Smith & Pitts, n.d.). Disposable diapers account for an estimated 1.5 to 2.0 percent of municipal solid waste. With landfills reaching capacity, solutions for the disposal of all solid waste is a concern, and disposable diapers generate four times as much waste as cloth diapers. An archaeological study of garbage from 1977 to 1985 determined that disposable diapers accounted for about 1% of all solid waste in landfills (Rathje, 1989). Although disposable diapers pose environmental concerns from a solid waste perspective, cloth diapers raise concerns regarding air and water pollution. The reusable nature of cloth diapers reduces the solid waste problem, but laundering of cloth diapers requires water, energy, and chemicals in the form of laundry detergent, which may contribute to water pollution. Franklin Associates, Ltd. (1990) conducted a study that concluded that cloth diapers use about twice as much energy and four times as much water as disposables and created greater air and water pollution than disposable diapers. So, although disposable diapers use more raw material in the manufacturing process, cloth diapers use greater resources for to maintain them. This means that there might be two potentially environmentally responsible choices. Where land is plentiful, but water is in short supply, disposable diapers may be the best choice. On the other hand, areas that have an overabundance of trash in landfills but have adequate water supplies may opt for the cloth diaper.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 40 It is also possible that the most environmentally responsible choice is choosing some combination of disposable and cloth diapers. Energy Star: Clearly, it is difficult to accurately assess the sustainability impacts of products, and it may not be appropriate to fully trust companies to identify the most sustainable product; for these reasons, nonprofits and government agencies should also take up the cause of sustainability education. Energy Star provides a model. This program, a joint effort launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy in 1992, educates consumers about the way suitable products can cut energy use, save consumers money, and protect the environment. Every appliance that meets government energy-efficiency standards can carry the Energy Star label, which has gained widespread consumer recognition and trust. Because federal regulations mandate energy labels for certain kinds of equipment, almost half of the air conditioners sold in the United States during 2005 carried the Energy Star sticker (McKinsey, 2008). Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know when to trust eco-labels like Energy Star. Indeed, there are about 600 eco-labels worldwide being used by companies and non-profit organizations (80 in the United States). “They cover almost every category imaginable -- from textiles to tea and tourism, from forest products to food” (Elperin, 2010). Because certification is a self-regulated industry the integrity of these labels varies wildly. So, while the best certification systems may have brought increased accountability to markets that used to be largely unregulated most other certification systems make claims that cannot be proved. EcoLogo, a consultant on verification, surveyed more than 2,200 North American products and found that more than 98 percent lacked proof to justify their claims (Case, 2008).

On the nature of sustainable product choices 41 In order for eco-labels to be effective, it’s essential that a body take responsibility for ensuring that the certification systems in place are legitimate. Without this assurance, purchasing sustainable products is unlikely to become any easier. This responsibility could fall on a government agency, like the EPA, or a trustworthy non-profit organization. In the absence of a body like this, it may be more effective for consumers to look for other tools that can help them access more dependable information about the goods they buy. GoodGuide and other Decision Helping Tools: Mobile phone applications like the GoodGuide provide an inventive way for consumers to directly access complex information regarding the sustainability impacts of the goods they are about to purchase simply by scanning the barcode. The GoodGuide aggregates and analyzes data on both product and company performance and employs a health hazard assessment, an environmental impact assessment, and a social impact assessment to identify major impacts to human health, the environment, and society. Each of these categories is then further analyzed within specific issue areas, such as climate change policies, labor concerns, and product toxicity. Currently, GoodGuide’s database includes over 1,100 base criteria with which they evaluate products and companies (Good Guide, 2010). Given the well-established notion that a trade-off between effort and accuracy is inherent to human decision making (Payne et al., 1993), an application like this will reduce the effort required to make sustainable product decisions as well as improve the accuracy of these decisions by giving consumers access to more dependable information in an easy to use format. An application like this does not require consumers to trust the claims on a product’s package or eco-labels, although they may choose to. Rather, they will be more able to capitalize on the

On the nature of sustainable product choices 42 enormous amount of information available about sustainability in a more objective way, which may enable them to make more accurate sustainable product decisions than they could otherwise. Availability Sustainable Product Placement: Even if consumers have the information they need to buy sustainable products, they are relatively hard to find. An informal survey of 23 retailers in Chicago and in the San Francisco Bay area found that fewer than half sold sustainable products (other than organic foods and CFLs), and among the minority that did sell these products only about 10 percent stocked more than one brand option (McKinsey, 2008). If stores simply stocked more sustainable products (including products produced locally), consumers would suddenly have the opportunity to purchase these products more widely. This could be especially effective if consumers actually understood the social and environmental returns on their purchasing decisions, as I discussed in the last section. Stocking and supporting local products may also help the cause by emphasizing the personal relevance of the products. Leveraging Sustainable Products: Marketers have been leveraging products to influence consumers for decades, and given that companies have taken to identifying many more of their products as “green” there is some evidence that this is also taking place in the realm of sustainable goods. (Drumwright, 1994; Davis, 1992; Mayer, et al, 1996). The idea simple: leverage media to showcase a product or service being used as part of everyday life in order to shape consumer brand perception and impact purchase behavior. For instance, in 2002 Busta Rhymes and (the artist formerly known as) Puff Daddy collaborated on an ode to a cognac brand, Courvoisier. After the release of Pass the Courvoisier Part II, the brand’s sales jumped 20 percent (Sauer, 2010).

On the nature of sustainable product choices 43 While Busta and P.Diddy may or may not be the ideal spokespeople for sustainable products, the basic concept still stands -- put a product in the hands of a celebrity and consumers will interpret this as a de facto endorsement. It is important, however, that the products that are marketed in this way could actually be considered sustainable (rather than greenwashed). Obviously it should not be acceptable for any company to purposely greenwash their products, but it is relatively common today. Perhaps individual spokespeople should make more of a effort to evaluate the sustainability potential of the good before they agree to position it as sustainable. Likewise, consumers should be mindful of the information they are receiving may not be entirely truthful, given that it is being propagated by celebrities and for-profit entities NBC’s Behavior Placement: Although specific advertisements may not always influence a person to buy a specific product, political scientist Shanto Iyengar argues that the media exercise ‘agenda control,’ which is to say that it has the potential to shape what you think about as well as what you consider important and true. For instance, the prominence of issues in the news media – fear of crime or concern about traffic congestion or worry about the condition of the economy – is correlated with the public’s perception that those issues are important (Dearing & Rogers, 1996; Iyengar & Kinder, 1987). Along the lines of agenda control, NBC’s network executives have asked producers of almost every primetime and daytime show to incorporate a green storyline at least once a year since 2007. In just one week during April 2010 the detectives on "Law and Order" investigated a cash-for-clunkers scam, a nurse on "Mercy" organized a group bike ride, Al Gore made a guest appearance on "30 Rock," and "The Office" turned Dwight Schrute into a cape-wearing superhero obsessed with recycling. The tactic, according to General Electric (GE), owner of NBC, is called "behavior placement.” It is designed to sway viewers to adopt actions they see

On the nature of sustainable product choices 44 modeled in their favorite shows, and it helps sell advertisements to marketers who want to associate their brands with a feel-good, socially aware programming (Chozick, 2010). Clearly GE wants people to be thinking positively about sustainability. Why? Well, it is worth nothing that in 2005 GE unveiled the $90 million “Ecomagination” PR and advertising campaign, which is designed to convince consumers that GE is helping to solve the world's biggest environmental challenges while driving profitable growth for GE and its shareholders. A September 2007 analysis of “Ecomagination” noted that GE continued to sell coalfired steam turbines and was delving deeper into oil-and-gas production. Meanwhile, its finance unit was seeking coal-related investments including power plants, which are a leading cause of carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. GE, however, is on track to sell $14 billion of its selfdescribed environmentally friendly products this year, and projects the total will grow more than 10 percent annually through 2010. GE also says it reduced its own greenhouse-gas emissions by 4 percent between 2004 and 2006. Although the company does not count emissions from many power plants that are partially owned by the company, the Wall Street Journal described the discounted power plant emissions as "an unknown but unquestionably significant amount” (Kranhold, 2007). Sustainability is undeniably a complicated issue for enormous companies like General Electric. They have the money to influence consumers to think positively about sustainability, and they have the ability to directly manufacture sustainable products. It is important, then, to monitor the activities of companies like GE to ensure that they’re “walking the talk” – that is producing their goods in a sustainable manner rather than just greenwashing products to leverage them in the marketplace. This may take the form of non-profit or government analysis of

On the nature of sustainable product choices 45 company behavior and may extend to the individual consumer, as he makes use of more dependable information about sustainability to make his product decisions. Benefits to Sustainable Companies Once consumers overcome barriers to purchasing sustainable products, these products will experience sales growth. Firms that have a strong position in the market for sustainable goods can stay ahead of regulation and protect their market shares from competitors. The most proactive companies will lead regulation, and may even push for stricter regulations that will put their less savvy competitors at a disadvantage. Newcomers, in turn, can steal market share from existing companies by appealing to the growing legions of consumers concerned about sustainability. Conclusions This qualitative analysis of college students’ attitudes toward sustainable goods was designed to add nuance to the way we understand how consumers perceive sustainable goods. In the semi-structured interviews I noticed a consistent way of framing “sustainable brands” as compared to “unsustainable brands.” Namely, sustainable brands were associated with small businesses, transparent operations (U.S., local, co-ops), and expensive goods, while unsustainable brands were associated with big businesses, opaque operations (overseas production), and cheap goods. Moreover, sustainable brands were also associated with certain positive affective qualities – concern (for the community, employees, and the environment) and an authentic image. Unsustainable brands were widely associated with negative affective qualities – namely disregard (for the community, employees, and the environment) and a constructed image, which participants did not consider trustworthy.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 46 When participants were asked to sort a series of corporate behaviors associated with sustainability into a hierarchy according to which behaviors the participants believed were most important, the resulting hierarchies reflected a real concern for ethical business generally, but less dedication to spending capital to ensure that ethical business is practiced. Indeed, participants consistently sorted sustainable business behaviors that require companies to adhere to regulations or expend capital toward the bottom of their hierarchies. This is “concern for capital,” or the idea that although a person may feel positively about purchasing sustainable products and enjoy the concept of sustainable business, they are simultaneously worried that operating a sustainable business is antithetical to accumulating capital and thus an inappropriate strategy to prefer. I consider concern for capital an additional barrier to purchasing sustainable products along with barriers identified by participants: (1) high price, (2) lack of information, and (3) lack of availability. If the opinion of my study participants is any indicator, it seems that one of the reasons we see a significant attitude-behavior discrepancy when it comes to American consumption of sustainable goods is because Americans don’t always think sustainability makes good business sense. They are concerned for capital, and see sustainability as at least somewhat antithetical to it. To temper this concern for capital I recommended two global policies that could serve to tip the scales in favor of sustainable production: establishing a pigouvian tax on carbon and a large scale attempt to reproduce the California Effect by raising sustainability standards in developed countries while conditioning market access on adhering to those standards. These are undeniably difficult policies to implement, especially on a global level. Nonetheless, they bear mentioning. My more reasonable recommendations deal with breaking down the three barriers (1) high price, (2) lack of information, and (3) lack of availability, which may serve to temper the

On the nature of sustainable product choices 47 attitudes of consumers toward purchasing sustainable products, and diminish the persistence of (4) concern for capital. These recommendations are designed to encourage growth in the market for sustainable products through consumer demand. Future Directions for Research Further research is needed to fully understand sustainability as a concept, how consumers interact with sustainable goods and what is likely to convince or dissuade them from purchasing these goods. Beyond Early Adopters To evaluate whether sustainable business practices and purchasing sustainable goods are of concern to groups that do not fit the ‘early adopter’ description it would be interesting to employ this survey methodology to other groups. I recommend exploring the viewpoints of relatively economically disadvantaged populations, elderly populations, and relatively uneducated populations. Applying this survey design to other groups may require some adjustment of the brands used as primers so that the particular group is able to recognize the brand and make judgments about it. In this case it may be helpful for the researcher to be familiar with the population, at least through empirical study and/or observational research. Small Companies & Sustainable Business Participants consistently noted that small companies have a heightened capacity to operate their business sustainably. Small businesses, however, are often legally exempt from reporting information about their operations. This isn’t bad thing, by any means. Indeed, transparency can be a very onerous apparatus, and it may not be appropriate for every “mom and pop shop” to spend the time and money it would take to document their business practices. To evaluate whether small businesses deserve to be associated with sustainability I recommend a

On the nature of sustainable product choices 48 survey of small businesses in an effort to understand just how sustainable they are. The survey could be administered to small business owners and would ask them to take account of their sustainable business practices, which could be modeled on the eleven sustainable business practices I used in this project (p.16). Situational Primers and Sustainable Consumption Social science research has continually showed the effects of priming on attitudes and actions. In one study, participants were primed with words related to elderly stereotypes were likely to walk more slowly down the hallway after finishing the experiment than the control group (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). It would be interesting to evaluate whether situational primers might make a consumer more likely to purchase a sustainable product. The study might take place in a grocery store with a pair (or several pairs) of brands, to be displayed next to one another. One of the two products should be marked in some way that distinguishes it as sustainable. Before entering the store to do their shopping, consumers would be primed to think about values related to sustainability; for instance, they may witness a small group of people planting a tree or see some information the reminds them of social instability like a poster about child laborers. Would these positive primers actually affect real life purchasing decisions? Additionally, prices between the sustainable and unsustainable brand could be altered to be either more egalitarian or more differentiated as a method of determining at what cost people would choose the sustainable good in a primed vs. unprimed condition. Limitations As with all research, the data collected for this study is subject to some limitations. First, the online survey relied on self-reported preferences. This is especially significant in research related to sustainable goods. Indeed, respondents may be prone to ‘social desirability bias.’ This

On the nature of sustainable product choices 49 is a bias where respondents tend to reply to surveys in a manner that may be viewed favorably by others. This will generally take the form of over reporting "good" behavior or under reporting "bad" behavior. Self-reported behavior, however, was not an important part of the semistructured interview protocol, so this bias should have relatively little effect on the study’s final conclusion. The online survey and therefore the interview protocol were only administered to Northwestern undergraduate students. These individuals are demonstrably different than the general population in that they are younger, more highly educated and have higher socioeconomic statues than the general population. These differences could affect the generalizability of the data. Young, educated, relatively wealthy individuals, however, are a choice population for studying attitudes toward sustainability and thus appropriate subjects for this research. I classify them as potential “early adopters” of sustainable goods. Finally, encouraging this method of altering the marketplace toward sustainable concerns is flawed because it is consumption oriented. Encouraging individuals to buy sustainable products does not really discourage conspicuous consumption, but merely signals to a consumer that a certain product is “more sustainable” than others on the market. As a result, consumers might see these sustainable products as a permissible (and even helpful) way to consume at will. One could certainly argue, however, that high levels of consumption themselves are a significant cause of environmental depletion and socially negligent policies like using child labor or requiring overtime work without overtime pay and should not be used as a method to combat these negative effects.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 50 Works Cited Bargh, J. A., Chen, M., and Burrows, L. (1996). Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 230-244. Baumol, W. J. (1972). On taxation and the control of externalities. American Economic Review 62 (3): 307–322. Bruno, Kenny. (21 March 2009). CorpWatch: Greenwash Awards [Electronic version]. Accessed 5 October 2009 from http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=942. Carrigan, M. & Attalla, A. (2001). The myth of the ethical consumer – do ethics matter in purchase behavior? Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18(2), 560-578. Case, S. (2008). EcoLogo & the trend toward green [Electronic version]. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from www.ecologo.org/common/assets/medias. University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems. (2009). U.S. environmental footprint fact sheet [Electronic version]. Accessed 20 May 2010 from <http://css.snre.umich.edu>. Cerin, P & Dobers, P. (2000). What does the performance of the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index tell us? Eco-Management and Auditing, 8(3), 123-133. Creyer, E. and Ross, W. (1997). The influence of firm behavior on purchase intention: do consumers really care about business ethics? Journal of Consumer Marketing, 14(6), 421-432. Chase, D. and Smith, T.K. (1992). Consumers keen on green but marketers don't deliver. Advertising Age, 63, 2-4. Drumwright, Minette E. (1994). Socially Responsible Organizational Buying: Environmental Concern as a Noneconomic Buying Criterion. Journal of Marketing, 58(July), 1-19.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 51 Eilperin, J. (2010). Environmental certification becoming increasingly crowded and contested field [Electronic version]. Washington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from www.washingtonpost.com. Franklin Associates, LTD. (1990). Energy and environmental profile analysis of children's disposable and cloth diapers. Ger, G., (1999). Experiential meanings of consumption and sustainability in Turkey. Advances in Consumer Research, 26, 276-280. Good Guide. (2010). Good Guide’s Methodology [Electronic version]. Accessed 10 May 2010 from <http://www.goodguide.com/about/methodology>. Guber, Deborah L. (2003). The grassroots of a green revolution: polling America on the environment. Cambridge: MIT. Gurau, C. and Ranchhod, A. (2005). International green marketing: a comparative study of British and Romanian firms. International Marketing Review, 22(5), 547-61. Gronewald, N. (7 May 2009). Shell’s sustainability plan emphasizes biofuels. [Electronic version]. New York Times. Accessed 1 October 2009 from <http://www.nytimes.com>. Hanas, J. (2007). A world gone green; environmental awareness has not only yipped in the media: it’s hit corporate boardrooms as well [Electronic version]. Advertising Age. Accessed 4 September 2009 from <http://adage.com/ecomarketing/article?article_id117113>. Helm, D. (2005). Climate change policy: a survey. Climate Change Policy. New York: Oxford. Holdsworth, M. (2003). Green choice: What choice? London: National Consumer Council. Johri, L.M. and Sahasakmontri, K. (1998). Green marketing of cosmetics and toiletries in Thailand. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 15(3), 265-81.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 52 Kranhold, K. (2007). Environment push hits business realities [Electronic version]. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from <http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/212/45338.html>. Levin, G. (12 November 1990). Consumers turning green: JWT survey. Advertising Age. MacGillivray, A. (2000). The fair share: the growing market share of green and ethical products. New Economics Foundation, New York, NY. Mayer, R., Gray-Lee, J., Scammon, D., and Curie, B. (1996)."The last audit: environmental marketing claims between 1992 and 1995. Paper Presented at the American Marketing Association Pre-Conference, August 3, 1996. Mandevile, B. (1705). The fable of the bees. New York: Penguin. Nader, R. & Heaps, T. (2008). We need a carbon tax: Cap and trade won’t stop global warming [Electronic version]. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 May 2010 from <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122826696217574539.html>. O’Rourke, D. (2004). Opportunities and obstacles for corporate social responsibility reporting in developing countries. The World Bank Group. Oxfam. (2009). Fair Trade Facts. Accessed 3 May 2010 from <http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shops/content/fairtradefaqs.html#8>. Proctor and Gamble. (1989). Perspectives on disposable diapers. Press Release. Rathje, W.L. (1989). Rubbish. The Atlantic Monthly, 264(6), 99-109. Roper Organization. (2007). Environmental behavior, North America Canada, Mexico, United States, a report on the study commissioned by S. C. Johnson and Son, Inc.

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On the nature of sustainable product choices 54 Appendix A Shell Advertisement

In 2007 Shell released this advertisement, which depicts oil refinery chimneys spewing out flowers. Environmental groups charged that this marketing campaign misrepresented the environmental impact of Shell’s activities. Although the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not define the image itself as misleading because it was “conceptual and fanciful,” the ASA did rule against Shell on the factual information presented here. The ASA asserted that the wording of the advertisement implied that a significant amount of the company’s emissions were recycled, perhaps to grow flowers, which is absolutely misleading (Tryhorn 2007).

On the nature of sustainable product choices 55 Appendix B Online Survey Protocol Online Sustainability Survey During this survey, you will be asked a series of multiple choice and open response questions about sustainability. Please be thoughtful and answer the questions to the best of your ability. Definitions: Environmentally friendly (green): Something that inflicts little to no harm on the environment. Sustainability: The potential for long-term maintenance of Earth’s ecosystem, which depends on making trade offs between the economic, social, and environmental spheres to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 1. Please describe your personal commitment to sustainability. 2. Are there any brands you buy specifically because they are sustainable? Please list them below. 3. Are there any brands you buy even though they are not sustainable? Please list them below. 4. There are many environmentally friendly products on the market. For each product below, please indicate how important it is to you, when making a purchase, that the product be environmentally friendly.
Essential (4) Computer printer paper Clothes detergent Automobile Wood furniture Important (3) Not so important (2) Not important at all (1) Don’t buy (0)

On the nature of sustainable product choices 56 5. For each of the following products, please indicate which one of the following is most important to you when you buy it – the price, quality, or environmental friendliness.
Environmental friendliness (4) Computer printer paper Clothes detergent Automobile Wood furniture Quality (2) Price (2) Don’t buy (0)

6. Would you pay 15% more for an environmentally friendly version of the product?
Definitely (4) Computer printer paper Clothes detergent Automobile Wood furniture Probably (3) Probably not (2) Definitely not (1) Don’t buy (0)

7. In order to let consumers know that their product is “environmentally friendly,” manufacturers may use a seal of approval or eco-label on their packaging. Please indicate how knowledgeable you are about the following eco-labels.
Very knowledgeable (4) Somewhat knowledgeable (3) Have heard of but are unfamiliar with (2) Never heard of (1)

On the nature of sustainable product choices 57

On the nature of sustainable product choices 58 8. Please evaluate how important it is that companies practice the embrace the following sustainable practices. Essential (4) Employees may organize and bargain collectively Company is actively working to reduce energy and resource consumption Company is working to reduce the amount of waste it creates Companies employ independent monitors to oversee overseas production Company practices environmental stewardship even if the country it operates in lacks environmental regulations Employees have freedom from forced labor Company is engaged with the community and supportive of it Company employs metrics to measure and manage energy consumption Important (3) Not so important (2) Not important at all (1)

On the nature of sustainable product choices 59 Employees earn a living wage Employer sponsors jobrelated education programs for employees Company routinely collaborates with non-profit groups 9. Demographic Info: Age: Gender: Year in school: A: Freshman B: Sophomore C: Junior D: Senior 10. Would you be willing to participate in a one-hour interview to answer more questions on this topic? You will be paid $30 for your participation. If you are willing to participate, please enter your email address below. If you are selected to participate in the interview, you will be contacted by email to schedule an interview time.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 60 Appendix C Semi-Structured Interview Protocol Semi-Structured Sustainability Interview Instructions: This interview will consist of three separate tasks, which will require you to sort a series of index cards into groups. There are two types of index cards you will interact with: branded cards and behavior cards. The branded cards contain the logo of 10 brands respectively. During step three, up to four of these cards may be brands you reported knowledge of during your online survey. The behavior cards contain sustainable business practices, which are the same corporate behaviors the respondent was asked to rank during the online survey. Task 1: Please sort these branded cards according to how sustainable you believe them to be. Create three groups: sustainable brands, unsustainable brands, and brands of unknown sustainability. You may have as many or as few cards in each group as you wish, but you must sort all the cards into one of the piles. Adidas

American Apparel Ben & Jerry’s Chipotle Questions about Task 1: • Will you please say a few sentences about why you sorted each of these Chiquita Haagen Dazs branded cards as you did? Kettle Chips • What made you select [insert brand] for the sustainable brand group? Sun Chips • What made you select [insert brand] for the unsustainable brand group? Timberland • You said you were unfamiliar with the sustainability practices of [insert Urban Outfitters brand] do you know anything about this brand? Have you ever purchased it? • I may also ask other questions that attempt to get at why a respondent sorted the brands he did. Task 2: Please sort these behavior cards according to how important it is to you that a company engages in each of these activities. Behaviors may tie for a position on the scale. If one or more of these behaviors is not important at all to you, please do not include the card in your ranking system. Questions about Task 2: • Will you please say a few sentences about why you sorted these behaviors cards the way you did? • Why did you select [insert behavior(s)] as the most important one(s) for a company to engage in? • Why did you select [insert behavior(s)] as the least important activity or activities for a company to engage in? • Are there sustainable business practices in addition to the ones I have laid out that are especially important to you? Why? • I may also ask other questions that attempt to get at why a respondent sorted these behaviors as he did.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 61 Task 3: Please use the groups of branded cards and your hierarchy of behavior cards to answer the following questions. Questions about Task 3: • Do you associate any of these brands with the corporate behaviors you identified as important? • What do you know about the company that produces [insert brand]? • • • Do you associate any of these brands with corporate behaviors that conflict with the ones you identified as important? What do you know about the company that produces [insert brand]? I may also ask other questions that attempt to understand why a particular brand/company is associated with being sustainable (or unsustainable) in the participant’s mind.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 62 Appendix D Bibliography Regarding Brand Pairs Adidas Group. (2007). Workplace standards. Herzogenaurach, Germany. Adidas Group. (2008). Sustainability performance review. Herzogenaurach, Germany. American Apparel. (2009). Environmental Initiatives. Retrieved 30 August 2009, from http://americanapparel.net/contact/environment.html. American Apparel. (2009). LegalizeGay. Retrieved 20 August 2009, from http://americanapparel.net/legalizegay/ American Apparel. (2009). LegalizeLA. Retrieved 20 August 2009, from http://americanapparel.net/contact/legalizela/. American Apparel. (2009). Our workers. Retrieved 20 August 2009, from http://www.americanapparel.net/contact/ourworkers.html. American Apparel. (2009). Vertical integration. Retrieved 25 August 2009, from http://americanapparel.net/contact/vertical.html. Arch Coal, Inc. (2008). Corporate Social Responsibility Report. St. Louis, MO. Associated Free Press. (19 October 2009). Coca-Cola, Pepsi on Beijing’s worst polluter list. World News. Retrieved 14 October 2009, from http://article.wn.com. Associated Free Press. (21 August 2009). Coke, Pepsi pollute China? [Electronic version]. Strait Times. Retrieved 30 September 2009, from http://www.straitstimes.com. Associated Press. (20 July 2009). Business briefs: Green Mountain invites nonprofits to apply for solar arrays [Electronic version]. Star Telegram. Retrieved 26 August 2009, from http://www.star-telegram.com. Association of American Publishers. (14 February 2007). Coal can’t be clean [Electronic version]. Herald Sun. Retrieved 22 August 2009, from http://www.heraldsun.com.au.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 63 Ben & Jerry’s. (2008). Social & Environmental Assessment Report. London, UK. Bergmann, A., Hanley, N., and Wright, R. (2004). Valuing the attributes of renewable energy investments. Energy Policy, 34, 1004–1014. Cerin, P. and Dobers, P. (2000). Business strategy and the environment conference proceedings. University of Leeds, UK. 18-19 September 2009. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (n.d.). Work. Retrieved 23 September 2009, from http://www.chipotle.com/#/flash/work_careers. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (2008). Chipotle Annual Report. Denver, CO. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (n.d.). Food with integrity. Retrieved 23 September 2009, from http://www.chipotle.com/#/flash/fwi_fare. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (n.d.). Philanthropy. Retrieved 23 September 2009, from http://www.chipotle.com/philanthropy/default.asp. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (n.d.). Restaurants. Retrieved 24 August, 2009, from http://www.chipotle.com/#/flash/restaurants_green. Chiquita Brands, Inc. (2006). Corporate Responsibility Report. Cincinnati, OH. D. Jaffee. (2007). Brewing justice: Fair trade, sustainability, and survival. Berkeley: University of California Press. Department of Health and Human Services. (2007). ToxFAQs for 1,2- Dibromo-3Chloropropane. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Retrieved 8 August 2009, from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts36.html. Department of Interior. (2007). Placement of Coal Combustion Byproducts in Active and Abandoned Coal Mines; Proposed Rule. Retrieved 5 September 2009, from http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/E7-4669.htm.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 64 Estabrook, B. (10 September 2009). Politics of the plate: score one for farm workers. Gourmet. Retrieved 20 September 2009, from http://www.gourmet.com/foodpolitics/2009/09/chipotle-tomatoes-labor-friendlycompanies. Eyre, C. (2007). Kettle Foods waits on union vote. Bakeryandsnacks.com. Retrieved 5 September 2009, from http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com. Frito-Lay North America. (2009). Healthier planet: our Modesto plant. Retrieved 17 August 2009, from http://www.sunchips.com. Frito-Lay North America. (2009). Healthier planet: compostable packaging. Retrieved 17 August 2009, from http://www.sunchips.com. Frito-Lay North America. (2009). Steps to a healthier planet. Retrieved 17 August 2009, from http://www.fritolay.com. Frito-Lay North America. (2009). Conserving energy. Retrieved 17 August 2009, from http://www.fritolay.com. Frito-Lay North America. (2009). The green effect. Retrieved 17 August 2009, from http://www.sunchips.com. Frito-Lay North America. (2009). SunChips brand donates to sustainable rebuild efforts in Greensburg, Kansas. Retrieved 16 August 2009, from http://www.fritolay.com. Gekas, V., Frantzeskaki, N., and Tsoutsos, T. (2002). Environmental impact assessment of solar energy systems: results form a life cycle analysis. Energy Policy, 33(3), 289-296. Green Mountain Energy. (2006). Sustainability report. Austin, TX. Green Mountain Energy. (2009). Careers. Retrieved 5 October 2009, from http://www.greenmountainenergy.com/careers.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 65 Greenpeace. (2008). Carbon capture and storage: a corporate boondoggle that shortchanges environment, consumers [Electronic version]. Retrieved 16 September 2009, from http://www.greenpeace.org. Greenpeace. (n.d.). Clean coal myths and facts. Accessed 4 September 2009, from http://www.greenpeace.org. Gresser, C. and Tickell, S. (2003). Mugged: poverty in your cup of coffee. Oxford: Oxfam Publishing. Hays, Constance L. (13 April 2000). Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever with attitude [Electronic version]. New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com. Holloway, S. (2005). Underground sequestration of carbon dioxide—a viable greenhouse gas mitigation option. Energy, 30, 2318–2333. Howard, Theresa. (16 October 2005). Ben & Jerry’s returns to social issues [Electronic version]. USA Today. Retrieved 7 September 2009, from http://www.usatoday.com. International Labor Rights Fund. (26 October 2006). ILRF sues Nestle for Complicity in Colombian Union Murders. Retrieved 20 July 2009, from http://www.laborrights.org. IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA. Issel, Bernardo. (11 January 2008). Integrity of Fair Labor Association Challenged. Non-Profit Watch. Retrieved http://www.nonprofitwatch.org.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 66 Kammen, D., Kapadia, K., and Fripp, M. (2004) Putting renewables to work: how many jobs can the clean energy industry generate? RAEL Report, University of California, Berkeley. Klein, N. (2000). No Logo. NY: Picador. Kettle Foods, Inc. (2009). Careers. Accessed 5 August 2009, from http://www.kettlefoods.com. Kettle Foods, Inc. (2009). Community giving. Accessed 5 August 2009, from http://www.kettlefoods.com. Kettle Foods, Inc. (2009). Sustainability: packaging. Accessed 5 August 2009, from http://www.kettlefoods.com. Kettle Foods, Inc. (2009). Sustainability: solar power. Accessed 5 August 2009, from http://www.kettlefoods.com. Kettle Foods, Inc. (2009). Sustainability: wetlands. Accessed 5 August 2009, from http://www.kettlefoods.com. Le Guern F, Sigvaldason GE. (Ed). (1989). The Lake Nyos event and natural CO2 degassing. J Volcanol Geotherm Res, 39, 95–276. Lenstra WJ, van Engelenburg BCW. (2001) Climate policy, CO2 storage and public perception. Proceedings of the fifth International conference on greenhouse gas control technologies (pp. A 31-9). Australia: CSIRO. Llanos, Miguel. (3 March 2009). Plastic bottles pile up as mountains of waste. MSNBC.com. Retrieved 9 August 2009, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5279230/. Loden, K. and Babbitt, K. (2009). Adidas 2008 sustainability performance review—fit, but not nimble [Electronic version]. Ethical Corporation. Retrieve 5 September 2009, from http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=6455.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 67 Melvin, Jasmin. (12 June 2009). U.S. revives nation's first clean coal power project [Electronic version]. Reuters. Retrieved 19 September 2009, from http://www.reuters.com. Neil, A. (13 March 2007). Timberlands’ Green Index named Backpacker 2007 Editors Choice Green Award winner. Retrieved 14 September 2009, from http://www.outdoorindustry.org. Nestlé, S.A. (2002). The Nestlé Sustainability Review. Vevey, Switzerland. New York Times. (5 October 1988). Boycott of Nestlé to resume [Electronic version]. New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com. O’Carroll, E. (17 October 2008). What is clean coal anyway? [Electronic version]. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 4 August 2009, from http://features.csmonitor.com/environment. Oxfam Australia. (February 2009). Looking inside Adidas' Indonesian factories. Retrieved 3 August 2009, from http://www.oxfam.org.au. Pepsi Bottling Group. (9 June 2008). Fact sheet: corporate social responsibility. Somers, NY. PepsiCo. (2007). EPA Awards PepsiCo For Leading Purchase Of Green Power. Environmental News. Accessed 4 August 2009, from http://www.pepsico.com. PepsiCo. (2009). Human sustainability. Retrieved 4 August 2009, from http://www.pepsico.com PepsiCo. (2007). Our sustainability journey. Purchase, NY. PepsiCo. (2009). Supplier CSR assurance. Accessed 30 September 2009, from http://www.pepsico.com Pier, C. and Zamvil, S. (2002). Tainted Harvest: Child Labor and Obstacles to Organizing on Ecuador's Banana Plantations. New York: Human Rights Watch.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 68 Power, Stephen. (20 October 2009). Big Coal Campaigning to Keep Its Industry on Candidates' Minds [Electronic version]. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 August 2009, from http://online.wsj.com. Rainforest Alliance. (2008). Rainforest Alliance Annual Report. New York, NY. Saha, Poulomi Mrinal. (2 February 2005). Bean wars: coffee producers fall out over who’s the most ethical. Ethical Corporation. Retrieved 17 July 2009, from http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=3436 Sedex. (2009). FAQs. Retrieved 5 September 2009, from http://www.sedex.org.uk. Simon, Michele. (2006). Appetite for profit. New York: Nation Books. Slone, Deck. (30 January 2009). Arch Coal, Inc. Reports Full Year 2008 Results [Electronic version]. Reuters. Retrieved 3 September 2009, from http://www.reuters.com. Spano, John. (16 November 2007). Dole must pay farmworkers 3.2 million [Electronic version]. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2009, from Suchitra, M. (6 May 2008). Major beverage company`s inaction over groundwater contamination [Electronic version]. India Together. Retrieved 4 June 2009, from http://www.indiatogether.org/2008/may/env-colawater.htm. The Timberland Company. (2007). Human rights report. Stratham, New Hampshire. The Timberland Company. (2009). Code of Conduct. Retrieved 2 July 2009, from http://www.timberland.com. The Timberland Company. (2009). CSR: environmental stewardship. Retrieved 3 October 2009, from http://www.timberland.com/corp/index.jsp?page=csr_chem_used.

On the nature of sustainable product choices 69 The Timberland Company. (2009). Community engagement. Retrieved 2 July 2009, from http://www.timberland.com. Thompson, Tanya. (17 April 2001). The modern face of child slavery [Electronic version]. The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 August 2009, from http://www.corporatewatch.org. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (April 2009). U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report. Retrieved 3 August 2009, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (8 October 2009). Climate Leaders. Retrieved 22 July 2009, from http://www.epa.gov/stateply. Urban Outfitters Board of Directors. (1 April 2009). Proxy Statement: Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Retrieved 20 July 2009, from http://proxy.urbn.com/ Vorley, B. (2002). Food, Inc. summary. London, UK Food Group. Walsh, B. (21 August 2009). Getting real about the high price of cheap food [Electronic version]. Time. Retrieved 12 September 2009, from http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458-4,00.html. Zhang J., Fu, G., and Pan, J. (2004). Using behavior-based safety approach to prevent mining accidents. National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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