Promoting sustainable consumption: Determinants of green purchases by Swiss consumers



Given that overconsumption in industrial countries is a main cause of environmental degradation, a shift toward more sustainable consumption patterns is required. This study attempts to uncover personal and contextual barriers to consumers' purchases of green food and to strengthen knowledge about fostering green purchases. Survey data are used to examine the influence of distinct categories of personal factors (such as attitudes, personal norms, perceived behavior barriers, knowledge) and contextual factors (such as socioeconomic characteristics, living conditions, and store characteristics) on green purchases of Swiss consumers. Results from regression analysis suggest that green food purchases are facilitated by positive attitudes of consumers toward (a) environmental protection, (b) fair trade, (c) local products, and (d) availability of action-related knowledge. In turn, green behavior is negatively associated with (e) perceived time barriers and (f) frequency of shopping in supermarkets. Surprisingly, green purchases are not significantly related to moral thinking, monetary barriers, or the socioeconomic characteristics of the consumers. Implications for policy makers and for companies and marketers engaged in the promotion and commercialization of green products are discussed. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.