FACTORS review is to further define the term



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2.0 Literature review


This chapter provides a literature review of factors that influence consumers purchasing behaviour towards green products. There is an increasing number of studies concerning on the consumers have been put forward to explain the factors. The purpose to conducted literature review is to further define the term and the characteristics of the topic related in respectively.In this chapter, the literature review discusses on how those researches were carried out with regards to the factors that influence green purchase behavior of UTMSPACE students.

2.1 Green Consumer and Green Products

Green consumers are defined as consumers who are concern, care and pay close attention to the environmental issues (Soonthonsmai, 2007). Green consumers always have a clear mindset that they have the responsibility to the environmental protection and concern for the environment issues. Therefore, green consumers always purchase products that have less environmental impact. Green consumers also defined by Renfro (2010) as the people who support businesses that trade in the environmental friendly or green manner. Therefore, not only organic product will be buy by green consumers, those products that have eco-label or eco-friendly packing will always being chosen by green consumers. In addition, corporates or
companies such as Starbucks and The Body Shop are actively participate in the fair trade or environmental save program. This practice will be always supported by green consumers. Table 1 show the different types of green consumers and their implications for the green marketers. For better understanding of the green consumers, it was essential to have some knowledge and understandable about the green product.
Many researchers have defined green product in various definitions. Ottman (1998), Nimse, Vijayan, Kumar, and Varadarajan (2007) and Pavan (2010) defined green products as products that made from recyclable materials, least wastage or minimum packaging, less or non-toxic substance, and reduce the wastage of energy and water. Generally, green products also known as environmental friendly products or ecological products which enhance or protect the environment and brings less negative impact or harmful effect to environment as well as human. According to Baker and Ozaki (2008), it was difficult to define environmentally sustainable products because there is unable to find a green product that is genuinely green or sustainable. All the goods or products that we purchase, use or throw away will have some negative impacts and consequences to the environment at its lifecycle stage. Therefore, Baker et al. (2008) concluded that environmentally sustainable products were those products that have less or low impact to the environmental.

Moreover, Schlegelmilch, Bohlen, and Diamantopoulos (1996), Lee (2008) and Pavan (2010) had classified green products into several categories which are contain natural ingredients, original grown, do not pollute environment, not test on animals, contain recycled content, recyclable and reusable, and contain approved chemical. Examples of green products include organic agricultures or food, green (lead-free) electronics products, alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids, eco-friendly garments, and other green products.

Takafumi (2002) stated that green products can provide direct and indirect value to consumers. Direct value means the value will be immediate effect to consumers such as increase in safety or reduce in capital if consumers use green products. Whereas, indirect value means that consumers believe utilizing green products will benefits and protect the environment although they cannot determine an immediate benefits from utilizing the green products.

2.2 Green Marketing

Green can be defined and indicated in many different meanings. Green defined by Prem and Daleen (1993) as environmental and ecological awareness or consciousness, corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainable development, environmental protection or conservation, and new consumerism.

Polonsky (1994) stated that “green or environmental marketing consists of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that the satisfaction of these needs and wants occurs with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment”. In other words, green marketing was a path for companies to introduce and promote environmental friendly or green products to customers in order to satisfy its customers’ needs and wants. Generally, companies or organizations that penetrated in green marketing will vigorously promote its environmental friendly policies and achievements to its target customers as well as potential target customers. It means that companies or organizations need to advertise and promote its products or services that composite with environmental or green characteristics like organic, environmental friendly and recycle that applied in producing consumer products or goods. Besides, the difference between conventional marketing and green marketing lead to a variety of activities needed in green marketing which includes modification on the products, changes in the productions process, change in the products distribution, new style and decoration in products packaging, and change in the way of marketing communications. Table 1 explained the better way to understand the concept of green marketing.

Table 1: Comparison between Green Marketing and Conventional Marketing

Categories Green Marketing Conventional
Consumer Human beings with lives Consumer with lifestyle
Products “Cradle-to-cradle”
flexible services “Cradle-to-gave” one size
fits for all products
Marketing and
Communication Educational values Selling oriented and
Corporate Proactive, interdependent, cooperative, holistic, long
term Receptive, independent, competitive, short term oriented, profit
Note: Prem ; Daleen (1993). Consumer Awareness towards Green Marketing, 2011.

According to the Dagnoli (1991), there were a growing number of people that prefer to purchase environmental friendly products will lead to increasingly in the number of green customers. In other words, consumers now are more concern to business that play more environmental efforts and they will support companies that excellent in and master with their green marketing. However, green consumers not really will buy green products although they have plenty knowledge on green products (Nik Abdul Rashid, 2009), possess high awareness of environmental issues (Abdul Wahid et al., 2002) or concerned and appreciated to her or his environment (Ohtomo ; Hirose’s study as cited in Ooi et al., 2012) will not necessarily behave in green manner or take responsibility to purchase environmental friendly or green products. This circumstance may due to some wrong green marketing practices implemented by companies which led to the failure of green marketing. Table 2 illustrates in details about the practices of green marketing that led to the failure of green marketing.

Table 2: Practices Lead to the Failure of Green Marketing

Practices that led to the
failure of green marketing Definition
Green spinning Taking a reactive approach by using public relations to deny or discredit the public’s
criticisms against the company’s practices.
Green selling Taking an opportunistic approach by adding some
green claims to existing products with the intention to boost sales.
Green harvesting Becoming enthusiastic about the environment only when greening could result in cost savings (e.g., in terms of energy and material input inefficiencies,
package reductions, etc.).
Entrepreneur marketing Developing innovative green products to market
without really understanding what the consumers actually want.
Compliance marketing Using simple compliance with implemented or expected environmental legislation as an opportunity to promote the company’s green credentials without taking initiatives to go beyond
responding to regulations.
Note: Peattie, K., ; Crane, A. (2005). Green marketing: Legend, myth, farce or prophesy?
Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 8(4), 357–370.

According to Peattie and Crane (2005), ‘green selling’ is one of the practices that commonly led to the failure of green marketing. To seize the business opportunities of green marketing trend, many companies blindly follow the trend by adding some green characteristic into the original products in order to boost their sales without conducts a thoroughly research and plenty knowledge on concept of green marketing and green consumerism. Moreover, some companies who implements green harvesting practices will become enthusiastic to the environment only when this practice could led to cost savings such as package reductions (Peattie et al., 2005). In addition, according to Peattie et al. (2005), some firms also practice entrepreneur marketing by developing an innovative

green products to market without clearly understand the actual needs and wants of consumers. In other words, it produces useless products to market because the products didn’t meet the needs and wants of consumers. To avoid misuse on marketing practices, marketing practitioners should thoroughly understand the green marketing concept in order to help them select and implement the right green marketing practices which in return can bring a lot of benefits to companies.

Besides, there are some international companies that implement their green practices and strategies successfully in green marketing. For example, according to Petrecca & Howard (2007), Timberland implement green packaging in its shoeboxes by using 100% recycled material. A new label that draws up the shoes consisted of organic, recycled, and renewable materials contents was introduced to market in 2007. The company’s green effort can be recognized by consumers through the new label of its products. Therefore, Timberland was successfully improved the environment (Petrecca et al., 2007). In additions, according to Petrecca et al. (2007), PepsiCo also successfully improve the environment through its business operations. In 2007, solar energy was staring to implement into PepsiCo’s building and water are recycles from its own factory.

2.3 Green Marketing in Malaysia

Apart from this, according to Sinnappan et al. (2011), Malaysia has enacted the Environment Quality Act since 1974. This indicated that Malaysia is one of the countries that have seriously considered the environment impact and issues. Except enacting legislation to protect environment and beware of environmental deterioration, government recently have established the “Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water” to meets the sustained increase in demand and improvement of green technology towards sustainable development.

Ahmed, Kamalanabhan & Chih (2001) revealed some green corporations in Malaysia have contributed to the environment by implemented green marketing strategies. For example, Canon Corporation emphasize on the using the recycle

cartridge in its “Clean Earth Campaign” to reduce the environmental pollution. Besides, 3M Company deemed that prevention is better than cure. Hence, they are focus on and struggle in preventing the pollution sources rather than remove it. In addition, Monark is stressed on green manufacturing processes by using the recycle bottle in order to lessen the waste and control the pollution rate. Furthermore, Rampai Niaga Sdn Bhd emphasized its cosmetic and toiletries products of are no animal testing. It used this competitive advantage to distinguish itself from competitors.

2.4 Green purchase behaviour

Green purchase behaviour defined by Chan (2001) as a particular types of environmental friendly behaviour that consumers express their caring and attention to the environment. In addition, green purchase behaviour also refers to the consumption of products that are recyclable or conservable, beneficial or benevolent to the environment, and sensitive or responsive to ecological concern (Mostafa, 2007). Increasing the awareness of consumers towards environmental issues will increased the demand for ecological products.

Many past researcher have conducted research on consumers’ behaviour towards green products since 1970’s. Therefore, there have many different variables such as attitudes, values, beliefs or knowledge are used to test which factors will drive consumers’ choice to purchase environmental friendly products (Bui, 2005). Follows and Jobber (2000) confirmed that their study existence the hierarchical relationship of values-attitudes-intention-behaviour when they conducted a research on prediction of buying eco-friendly and unfriendly products on a different consumer model.

Some studies on green segmentation have been conducted by past researchers. Laroche, Bergeron ; Barbaro-Forleo (2001) were investigated on the North America consumers’ willingness to pay more for eco-friendly products based on the consumers’ demographics, psychological and behavioural. They found that

women who are married with at least one child were supported to its result. Besides, the analysis has been done by Paco et al. (2009) regarding to the demographic and environmental criteria in Portuguese consumers was found that they were reluctant to buy green products even though they are aware of the environmental issues. For Straughan et al. (1999), they study had shown that psychographic criteria was more accurate and useful than demographic criteria in analyse consumers purchasing behaviour.

Furthermore, numerous studies regarding factors that influence green consumers’ purchase behaviours have been conducted by former researchers such as Chan and Lau (2000), D’Souza, Taghian, Lamb and Peretiatkos (2006), and Lee (2008). To testing on the consumers’ green purchase intention, target respondent of Lee (2008) was adolescent consumers whereas the respondents of D’Souza et al. (2006) were majority Australian female consumers with aged around 35 to 54 years old. Chan et al. (2000) were studying on Chinese consumers’ green purchase behaviour through the influence of three independent variables. According to Lee (2009), a further study conducted to survey on how different in gender in various factors would influence Hong Kong adolescent consumers’ green purchase behaviour.

According to Gupta and Ogden (2009), “trust”, “in-group identity”, “expectation of others’ co-operation” and “perceived efficacy” was useful individual characteristics to differentiate buyers from “green” or “non-green”. Their research also helpful in understanding the reasons caused the gap between attitude and behaviour in green consumerism.

In recent years, researchers only start carries out studies on environmental labels. D’Souza (2004) had developed a model to classified consumers into four categories, namely “environmentally green consumers”, “emerging green consumers”, “price sensitive green consumers” and “conventional consumers”. D’Souza et al. (2006) were further investigated on the different environmentalism level of Australian consumers through the influence of environmental labels. They study found that consumers can be grouped into either they found environmental

labels are difficult to understand or they can read the labels and willing to buy green products although the products are in low quality (D’Souza et al, 2006).

However, there has only few researchers conducted qualitative research related to green purchase behavior and green strategy. After discover this research gap, Tadajewski and Tsukamoto (2006) conducted a qualitative research to study on the complexity behavioural of UK and Germany consumers towards green products by using life-cycle analysis. Their study shows that looking for the products’ brand name was the simplest way for consumers to evaluate the “greenness” of a product (Tadajewski et al., 2006). Besides, Pujari and Wright (1996) also conducted a qualitative study in analyzing the product development strategies for eco-friendly products on the selected companies in Britain and Germany. Their study revealed that effectiveness of environmental strategy on product development can create a competitive advantage to company itself (Pujari et al., 1996).

Besides, differences in a country’s cultural and socio-economic conditions would cause different factors are being tested on consumers’ green purchase behaviour in that country. Thus, variables use by researches to determine the consumer’s green purchase behaviour also varies among them. For example, Sinnappan et al. (2011) and Lee (2008) used Theory of Reasoned Actions model to determine the Malaysian consumers’ green purchasing behaviour. The variables used in their studies were “environmental attitude”, “government initiative”, “peer pressure”, “green purchase intention” and et cetera.


2.5.1 Social Influence

Information provided by people can have a great effects or tremendous impact on consumers are known as social influence. According to Ryan (2001), social dynamic refers to association among an individual with other people. It means that an individual shares their beliefs, thoughts and values with other people that he or she communicated with. For example, how much the person gain knowledge about green products through his or her family, how much she or he discusses in the field of environmental products with his or her friends and how much he or she shares the information about green products with family (Finisterra do Paço ; Raposo, 2008).

Kalafatis et al. (1999) further defined that “social norm is whether an action should or should not be performed by a respondent in a referent’s point of view”. The referent’s point of view in here could be defines as the perspective of friends, colleagues, neighbours, organizations, family members or other referents.

According to Daido (2004), change in the environmental can change the mindset and influences the behavioural of people. When people were complying to do some things that they were not required to comply with, the social influence can led to a big shifting in people behavioural. This meant that people will buy green products when their social context is encouraging them to behave in green manner.

It is clearly to show that providing people with information are not enough to change their behaviour. Bearden and Etzel (1982), Moore, Wilkie, and Lutz (2002), Price, Feick, and Higie (1987), and Ward and Reingen (1990) have mentioned that the importance of social influence on consumers’ products evaluation and products choice. According to Coulter, Price ; Feick (2003), social network and product involvement are co-related. Social context of consumers, for instance friends, co-workers, and family which provide essential influence and feedback on their consumption will finally affected their decision on product and brand choice.

According to Business Wire (2009), a survey conducted by Ad-ology Research found that social media or social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and others social media have significant impact on consumers purchasing behaviour. For instance, people are widely share the information related to environmental activities such as Earth Hour in social media. Thus, social media played an importance role in coaching people in learning about environmental activities. When they transfer the received information into practices and in the end, social media can affect consumers’ buying behaviour towards green products.

2.5.2 Environmental Attitude

Attitude refers to “a mental and neural state of readiness, which exerts a direct influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related” (Allport, 1935). Attitude also can be defined as desirable or undesirable

evaluations (Ajzen, 1991) and continuous positive or negative feelings (Newhouse (1991) that a particular people have towards objects, issues or other people.

Nik Abdul Rashid (2009) defined environmental attitude as “a learned predisposition to respond consistently favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to the environment”. While, Schulz, Shriver, Tabanico and Khazian (2004) defined environmental attitude as “the collection of beliefs, affect, and behavioural intentions a person holds regarding environmentally related activities or issues”. In additions, environmental attitude was further defined by Lee (2008) based on an individuals’ cognitive assessment of the value of environmental protection. In other words, environmental attitude would affect consumers’ attitude and buying decisions (Schwepker and Cornwell, 1991).

Peattie (2001) proposed that the degree of compromise involved and confidence of a particular purchasing choice towards green products may vary accordingly. According to Laroche et al. (2001) and Chyong et al. (2006), attitudes is the most significant factor in predicting consumers’ willingness to pay more for environmental friendly products. This means that price is not an obstacle for consumers who are voluntary participate in pro-environment activities or to buy green products. Environment degradation will decrease if consumer possess a positive attitude towards environmental protection will eventually transfer it into a real practice by being a green consumerism (Tanner and Kast, 2003). However, many people feel that government have the fundamental and essential responsibility in preserving the environment although people have high conscious and concern on their environment.

Schultz (2000) stated that environmental attitudes can be classified in three types which are altruistic attitudes, self-centered attitudes, and eco-centric attitudes. Altruistic attitudes include the concerns over others. Self-centered attitudes include their concerns. Eco-centric attitudes include concern for the environment. Based on research result, Schultz (2000) founded that self-centered attitudes are causing the behaviour of consumers.

In additions, Abdul Wahid et al. (2002) discovered that young Malaysian willing to behave in more green manner to improve the quality of their environment. According to Abdul Wahid, Abustan and Karwi (2000) revealed that individual, industries, government and finance have equal important roles in build up a positive attitude of individual towards environmental protection. Therefore, many companies recently started to emphasize their responsibility towards environment by produced environmental friendly products and keep track with the changes of environment.

2.5.3 Environmental Concern

According to Chan and Lau (2004), environmental concern has variety definitions which depend on perspective and its complicated and unstable nature. Environmental concern defined by Dunlap and Jones (2002) as people awareness of environmental problems and attempts to solve it. However, the early definition of environmental concern was the degree of protective attitude towards environment (Crosby, Taylor & Gill, 1981), but later was defined as a general attitude which has an indirect influence on attitude through behavioural intent (Gill, Crosby & Taylor, 1986).

In addition, environmental concern refers to an individual’s emotional feature such as like or dislike, worries and consideration (Yeung, 2004) and the belief, attitude, and degree of concern (Said, Ahmadun, Paim & Masud, 2003) towards the environment. Hence, environmental concern can be concluded that an individual was emotionally involved to environmental related issues.

Schultz and Zelezny (2000) stated that “attitudes of environmental concern are rooted in a person’s concept of self and the degree to which an individual perceives him or herself to be an integral part of the natural environment”. Some of the environmental sociologists have referred environmental attitudes as “environmental concern” (Vining & Ebreo, 1992; Fransson & Gärling, 1999; Dunlap et al, 2002). It meant that environmental concern is synonymous with

environmental attitude. Therefore, this two terms can used interchangeable in many studies (Dunlap et al., 2002). However, some of the studies have separated them into two different terms (Stern and Dietz, 1994; Schultz et al., 2000; Sinnappan et al., 2011; Zank Hessami et al., 2013).

Moreover, different segments of the workforce react differently towards the green issues (Ahmed et al., 2001). Walter (1990) found that consumers concern on environmental issues does not always translate into purchasing decisions. However, Dagnoli (1990) and Bang, Ellinger, Hadjimarcou, & Traichal (2000) found that consumers who are more concern towards environment issues will still switched to purchase green products even its price much higher than non-green or less eco-friendly products. Kim and Choi (2005) pointed out that people with high concerning to the environmental issues are willing to buy green products and vice versa.

2.5.4 Perceived Seriousness of Environmental Problems

Amyx, DeJong, Chakraborty and Wiener (1994) defined perceived seriousness of environmental problems as a degree of personal concern and considerable towards ecological issues. When people encounter those environmental issues, the amount of inconveniences and troubles that people need to deal with and the attitude and behaviour that they should have towards the environmental issues was difficulty to know. For instance, easy and convenience for consumption may cause consumers to purchase a product or food even they know the packaging of the product or food will hazardous or damage for the nature and environment.

Banerjee and Mckeage (1994) stated that the perception of an individual to the intensity, dangerous and seriousness of environmental issues and problems could affect his or her green purchasing behaviour. In other words, non-green consumers that do not behave in green manner believe that the environment problems will be solved by themselves automatically and vice versa.

Besides, Moser and Uzzell (2003) stated that the mass media play an essential role in educating consumers to understand the importance of environmental problems. For example, marketers convey the message regarding to how their product can reduce the environmental problems and how consumers can contributed to environment through buying the green products. Through this, people will aware the environmental problems and their responsibility towards the environment.

2.5.5 Perceived Environmental Responsibility

According to Sukhdial and Venice (1990), perceived environmental responsibility refers as the degree of an individual’s perception of self-employment in protecting the environment. In other words, perceived environmental responsibility was the level of concern belongs to an individual towards the environmental and social responsibility to save the environment from continuously deterioration by using not eco-friendly products.

Lai (2000) further defined perceived environmental responsibility as a degree of emotional involvement in environmental issues. However, perceived environmental responsibility was defined by Zank Hessami et al. (2013) as a behaviour and attitude of a person that he or she is responsible for his or her consumption behaviour and its effects towards the nature and environment.

Generally, people expect and believe government have the ability and can eliminate the environmental problems. However, Lai (2000) found that people are hesitate or unwilling to make one-side sacrifices with the government’s policy. Therefore, even many people have ecological concern, but they feel that the environmental protection is the responsibility of the government or huge corporations instead of themselves.

Furthermore, according to Strong (1996) revealed that the major damage to the environment was caused during the manufacturing process. Thus, consumers who support green products will avoid those not eco-friendly products which will

endanger and damage their health. The norm activation model that suggested by Schwartz (1977) found that when individual aware and conscious of adverse consequences and feel responsible for these consequences will inspire the individual’s helping behaviour. Johri and Sahasakmontri (1998) verified that Asian citizen’s societies are becoming conscious of alarming environmental problems. To create green purchase behaviour among individuals cannot be short of their own perceived responsibility. Hence, perceived environmental responsibility is a determinant of purchasing behaviour towards green products

2.5.6 Perceived Effectiveness of Environmental Behaviour

According to Lee (2008), perceived effectiveness of environmental behaviour is closely related to the perception of an individual. An individual who are actively participated into pro-environmental activities and possess of pro-environmental behaviour will like to contribute more to the environmental. Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002) and Jensen (2002) define “pro-environmental behaviour as conscious actions taken by an individual so as to minimize the negative impact of human activities on the environment or to improve the environment”.

The effectiveness perceived by consumer also defined by Kenneth & Sanjay (1998) as a consumer’s confidence in their ability to improve the environment. Kim and Choi, (2005) mentioned that the level of effectiveness which is perceived by the consumer is varies from person to person and this was determined by direct and indirect knowledge and experience. In other words, people from dissimilar background possess different life experience and personal knowledge. Thus, people who are confidence in their abilities believed their contributions and actions can led to positive and great changes in the future and vice versa.

2.5.7 Government Initiative

Government initiative refers to support given or initiative actions taken by the national government (Diekmeyer, 2008). This means that government play an important part in environmental protection and all the initiative efforts taken by government is undeniable. Therefore, government should ‘walk the talk’ in organizing and executing environmental sustainable development plans.

Governments should play more efforts in promoting the environment sustainable programmes to people in order to continuously raise their awareness towards environmental issues. Normally, the purposes of national government campaigns are encourage green products consumption habits of its community. According to OECD (2008), Japan government implemented 3R campaign to promote sustainable packaging and recycling. Besides, the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Energy and Transport in Denmark were jointly launched the “One Tonne Less” campaign in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by its citizen. Furthermore, government in France used a television campaign known as “Let us reduce our garbage: We’re overflowing” to reduce littering such as single- use throwaway products, excessive paper printing, and bottled water (OECD, 2008).

As the role model to all people in the country, Tan et al. (2010) indicated that Malaysian government has implemented various strategies for sustainable consumption and development. Initiated policies such as encouraging car-pooling, providing incentives to green product producers and manufacturers, and encourage consumers to behave in green manner or purchase green products that initiated by Malaysia government in order to enhance environmental sustainability.

In addition, Haron, Paim and Yahaya (2005) said that Malaysian government choose to use social advertising to educate and foster environmental awareness and concern among the public. Government should launch a campaign to promote consciousness on the environmental protection activities such as “go-green”

campaign, “Earth Hour”, and others campaign activities to reduce the burden of environmental.

2.2 Research Framework

The conceptual framework is the foundation for the research project. In this study, both TRA and TPB theories are used to form the research framework. The figure below shows the conceptual framework established to study the relationship between dependent and independent variables.

Figure 1: Proposed Conceptual Framework


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