Green Consumerism

Rising sea levels, increasing temperatures and extreme weather changes have made consumers more mindful about their lifestyle choices. The attitude shift intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Reduced human activity during the pandemic had a positive impact on the environment. As there were fewer cars on the highways, less greenhouse gases were released to the atmosphere. This positive side effect of the pandemic was well captured by the meme “nature is healing, we are the virus”, which increased eco-consciousness worldwide.

This movement has also been reflected in consumer preferences. Consumers increasingly demand an eco-friendly production process or one that involves recycling or protecting natural resources. Consumers are encouraged to be more aware of the production process and buy products or services that are environmentally-friendly. This movement is called green consumerism. It favours “the sustainable and pro-environmental behavior of consumers”, and balances buyer behaviour and the profit objectives of businesses. 

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Green consumerism is an environmentally responsible process of management which covers the following areas:

(1) Reduced package waste. Green consumerism favours purchasing loose products over pre-packaged products. It also encourages reusing paper and plastic bags and tins.

(2) Increased energy efficiency. Green consumerism advocates using energy efficiently, which ultimately saves money, reduces utility bills, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, and helps meet growing energy demands. 

(3) Fewer emissions. Due to green consumerism advocacy, stringent emission standards have been introduced. Consequently, the amount of emissions from engines and motors has decreased, followed by an increase in consumption of clean-burning fuel. 

(4) Healthier food consumption. Green consumerism has also increased demand for more eco-friendly food products. This has triggered the development of “a culture of buying more organic and local food”.

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Sustainability and eco-consciousness has become an integral part of the lifestyle of young consumers. However, older consumers are almost on par with younger consumers for saying that helping the environment is important. The main difference is how they approach the problem.

Research shows that Gen Z or millennials are more concerned with things like changing to more sustainable energy providers or buying organic food or sustainable clothes. Older generations focus on recycling, being 24% more likely to recycle than younger consumers. Older generations also intend to make more sustainable purchases in the future.

34% of consumers claim that governments are the most responsible for supporting sustainable initiatives, followed by consumers themselves (20%) and corporations (13%). Sustainability expectations placed on corporations are so high that consumers claim that number one thing that would discourage them from buying is ‘false sustainability claims’. Failure to live up to eco-friendly claims can damage a brand more than having a poor diversity record or poor staff treatment. Eco-consciousness is so important to consumers that they are likely to catch brands out if they do not meet their environmental commitments. 

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References:  Vd08earth, | Rinkesh, | Tom Morris,