Business information

Green purchases are only affected by price in

image: Lecturer Maria Jesus Luengo, first author of ‘Ecological behavior in times of crisis and economic well-being through a comparative longitudinal study’
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Credit: Fernando Gomez. UPV/EHU

Concern for the environment and sustainability has been widely explored. It is proven that there is still a gap between pro-environmental attitudes and green consumption, despite the fact that consumers are increasingly concerned about the environment and that more and more companies are marketing green products. . Therefore, understanding the main factors influencing green purchasing is useful in helping organizations develop strategies for producing and marketing green products.

Consumer behavior towards organic products is a complex phenomenon; it is difficult to define, it is strongly influenced by internal consumer variables, and it is diverse and context-dependent. The UPV/EHU services of Economy and business and Financial Economics II conducted a longitudinal study to explore how economic context moderates the relationships between environmental behavior and various factors, such as motivation, attitude, perceived consumer efficacy, environmental information, and marketing. They therefore asked the students about the Master in Business Administration from a perspective of innovation and internationalization UPV/EHU program in times of economic crisis (2008-2012) and in times of well-being (2014-2019); the survey collected their ecological consumption habits, ecological knowledge, transportation habits, recycling habits, etc.

Economic crises affect green buying behavior

The UPV/EHU speaker Maria Jesus Luengo explain that “the results reveal a clear influence of the economic context, which acts as a moderator in the link between the various factors and environmental behaviors”. The speaker underlined that “knowledge relating to ecological issues, organic consumption, organic products, is a priori less than we thought and, what is more, they have no impact either when is about deciding to buy organic”.

Green buying is influenced by motivations, attitudes, perceived consumer efficacy and green activism, and this influence is more pronounced during times of economic crisis. Of all these, the one that most influences green activism and green buying in times of crisis is motivation, followed by consumer perceived efficacy. “In other words, when the consumer makes that green purchase, it really feels like they’re doing something efficient, something that has some impact, rather than whether it’s good or bad.” explained the holder of a doctorate from the Department of Economics and Business. However, in times of well-being, the effects of these two main factors are similar.

“We were surprised that being a green or sustainable activist, i.e. sorting waste or using public transport, for example, did not play a major role in deciding whether or not to make a purchase. It’s more about feeling that we’re actually doing something good for ourselves and for the world,” Luengo explained.

Within marketing variables, product and price have a greater influence on green activism than product promotion and outlet in times of economic crisis, while price has no effect in times of well-being . “I think of all the variables, price is the one that varies the most when it comes to making this decision. The price of organic products has an impact when it comes to making an organic purchase in times of In times of economic boom, however, the price does not matter, while the distribution is more important (i.e. the ease of access to these products), for example,” she said. declared.

The influence of environmental information is greater in times of crisis than in times of well-being. Thus, during economic crises, the dissemination of environmental information to consumers plays an important role in environmental attitudes, which in turn positively influence green purchases. However, high prices for organic products negatively affect organic purchases in times of crisis, which could explain the observed lower levels of organic purchases.


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