Green Consumption

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Critical Analysis of the Statement: Green Consumption Offers a Promising Possibility for Making Capitalist Society More Sustainable

Critical Analysis of the Statement: Green Consumption Offers a Promising Possibility for Making Capitalist Society More Sustainable


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 (McMichael, 2008).

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 (Gould and Lewis, 2009). 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. 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. Moreover, an increasing number of consumers are willing to pay more for environmental friendly products (Lodziak, 2002). 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. It can be seen that the green aspects are gradually becoming the mainstream of consumption worldwide (Vandergeest, 2007).

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. 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. (Lodziak, 2002) This paper is intended to discover important factors that influence consumers' green purchasing behaviors in this emerging new market using the macro points of view.

Understanding green consumerism

Define the green consumption

There is no fixed definition of green consumption in academic community until now. However, some influential and representative foreign points of view on this area are being reviewed below. The “Green Consumer Guide”, published in 1987 in the UK, defines the green consumption as consumerism that avoids using the following products (Islam, ...
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