Get access

‘Blame it on marketing’: consumers' views on unsustainable consumption

Authors

  • M. Teresa Pereira Heath,

    Corresponding author
    1. Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham, UK
      M. Teresa Pereira Heath, Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham NG8 1BB, UK. E-mail: teresa.pereiraheath@nottingham.ac.uk
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Andreas Chatzidakis

    1. School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham Hill, Egham, Surrey, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Biography: M. Teresa Pereira Heath is a lecturer in Marketing at Nottingham University Business School. Her publications and research interest focus primarily on consumer behaviour, sustainability and critical marketing. She was awarded an Emerald Citation of Excellence in 2008 for a paper published in the Journal of Marketing Management. She completed her PhD at Nottingham University Business School, with an awarded scholarship granted by the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. Until January of 2011, she was an assistant professor of Marketing at the University of Minho and a member of the board of director for that department's Master in Management. Andreas Chatzidakis is a lecturer in Marketing at the School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London. He received his PhD from Nottingham Business School in 2007. His main research interests include anti-consumption, consumer resistance, moral and altruistic behaviour. He has published in Journal of Business Ethics, Advances in Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Management and Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

M. Teresa Pereira Heath, Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham NG8 1BB, UK. E-mail: teresa.pereiraheath@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper addresses consumers' attitudes towards consumption, the extent to which excessive consumption is perceived as an environmental problem and what consumers perceive as their personal responsibility vs. that of marketing for this consumption. Findings from a focus group and a survey administered to lecturers of a university in Portugal are reported. A critical reflection upon the findings reveals that participants view consumption as excessive and mostly due to marketing, but do not associate high levels of consumption with environmental damage. The consumers surveyed did not accept personal responsibility for excessive consumption, and many of them do not perceive their actions to have a significant impact on the environment. The high educational level of our sample makes these findings of particular concern. This paper feeds the debate on sustainable marketing and expresses the need to address consumers', as well as marketing's, place in sustainability. Implications of this study are drawn and directions for future research are suggested.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary