Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Sustainable consumption has become a crucial factor to consider for both consumers and manufacturing firms. Green marketing practices, or marketing activities aimed at decreasing the impact on the environment, have been incorporated into many business plans to combat old habits of wastefulness and pollution. One very popular method that has come to prominence over the recent years is eco-labeling of products and services. Eco-labels are logos that represent that a product or service has met standardized criteria set by a certifying organization and that it is deemed a sustainable option in its product category. The focus of this study will center-on well-known and established eco-labels in the Swedish market, namely the Swan, Bra Miljöval, KRAV, EU-Ecolabel and the Marine Stewardship Council eco-labels.
Eco-labels are tools for communication which can be used to facilitate the practice of sustainable consumption. However, there are many factors that influence the consumer’s ability to understand the message of the eco-label which in turn can affect their capacity to adopt the sustainable behavior. The purpose of this study is to determine if Swedish consumers understand the eco-label’s message and if this message affects their green purchasing. These results were related to message quality as defined by the International Standards Organization 14063 standard for environmental communication (2004 cited in Strömdahl, 2005, p. 15; Von Ahn & Wikström, 2005, p. 33-34) and other notable factors found from a literature review. The following research questions were answered:
• Do consumers understand the message of an eco-label?
o What are the factors related to understanding the eco-label?
• Do awareness and understanding affect purchase behavior of and eco-label?
o What are the factors related to the purchase of eco-labeled products?
A quantitative approach has been used in this research project and a survey has been administered at supermarkets in the Umeå area. To confirm the message of the eco-labels, a semi-structured interview was conducted with the issuing organizations prior to designing the questionnaire. A total of 152 responses were collected from the survey and analyzed with frequency distributions, independent sample t-tests and contingency tables where a significance level of chi-square of .05 or lower was required.
The results of the study indicate that customer understanding and purchase behavior varied by each eco-label. Message quality can have a significant impact on understanding of the eco-label. Also, other personal factors were related to understanding and purchase behavior with nationality giving evidence of the strongest relationship.
2011. , 79 p.
Eco-label, Marketing Communications, Green Marketing, Environmental Friendly Products