The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) formulated “Agenda 21” in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the document pointed out: the earth were facing serious problems, which including inappropriate consumptions and production patterns, leading to environmental degradation, increasing poverty and national development imbalance. In order to achieve reasonable development, the global citizens have to improve production efficiency and change habits and structure of citizens in order to improve production efficiency and change habits of consumption. This will lead to optimal use of resources and minimize the production of waste. Based on the deep reflection of “non-ecological consumption” in industrial settings, the conference held environmentally ethical consumption as a suitable way of sustainable development (1).
Grunert's study shows that 30% to 40% of environmental degradation was caused by household consumption activities and consumer purchasing behaviors played a significant role in this regard (2). Since 1990s, environmental issues have gained increasing attention, and a large number of consumers (especially those in developed countries) are getting aware that their consumption behaviors' directly impacts the environment. The American Marketing Association (AMA) found that people's concern for physical environment has become one of the most important influential factors of global marketing (3&4). According to incomplete statistics, 67% of Dutch, 80% of Germans and 77% of Americans take environmental issues into account when they make their purchase decisions (5). Moreover, an increasing number of consumers are willing to pay more for environmental friendly products. For instance, environment conscious consumers were willing to spend 15%-20% more on green products in 1991, while 79% of respondents in Myburgh and O'Shaughnessy e-mail investigation studying female British consumers found that consumers are likely to spend 40% more on eco-friendly products (6&7). It can be seen that the green aspects are gradually becoming the mainstream of consumption worldwide.
The green movement started with the purpose of combating environmental pollution and maintaining ecological balance to solve the survival crisis that the humanity faces. The movement is indispensable to create a safe and sustainable living environment for the whole mankind. The concept is new in some developing countries like China (8). Thanks to the dramatic development of economy and improved living standards; the majority of Chinese citizens are preparing to accept a more sustainable model proposed in “Agenda 21” but they are still vaguely aware of environmentally ethical consumption and lack motivation in purchasing green products at the present stage, as opposed to western green consumers. Though many profit-driven and customer-oriented companies actively took part in green business in developing countries, they lack the ability to indentify green consumers because of weak Asia-based studies on green marketing. This paper is intended to discover important factors that influence Chinese consumers' green purchasing behaviors in this emerging new market using the macro points of view.
Define green consumption and green consumer and classify them.
Compare the differentiations of environment-oriented consumption between developed countries and developing countries ...