Exploring Green Consumers’ Mind-Set toward Green Product Design and Life Cycle Assessment

The Case of Skeptical Brazilian and Portuguese Green Consumers


  • Fred Lemke,

    Corresponding author
    • Address correspondence to: Professor Fred Lemke, Ph.D., M.B.A., B.Com(Hons.), Chair in Marketing and Sustainability, Newcastle University Business School, Services Marketing Research Group/MOS Group 5, Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4SE, United Kingdom. Email: fred.lemke@newcastle.ac.uk, Web: www.ncl.ac.uk/nubs/staff/profile/fred.lemke

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  • João Pedro Pereira Luzio


Businesses are increasingly interested in exploring the key concepts of industrial ecology (IE), particularly within the context of market-oriented sustainability. However, few studies have researched how green consumers perceive production as having relevant product design and life cycle assessment (LCA) dimensions. In this article, we explore green consumers’ mind-set toward such system tools of IE by conducting 18 in-depth interviews with Brazilian and Portuguese green consumers. We propose a simplified theoretical framework for achieving market-oriented sustainability based on the multidisciplinary potential between IE and marketing. Our analysis suggests that there are still important gaps between what green consumers demand and what businesses are currently able (or willing) to supply. Our findings support the idea that businesses interested in following IE within the context of market-oriented sustainability should spend greater effort in understanding the green consumer's production-related mind-set. In particular, we propose (1) avoiding consumer skepticism and dissatisfaction with greenwashing and (2) establishing credibility and information transparency. Both seem to act as preconditions to better align the product design and LCA processes with green consumer needs within the emerging paradigm of market-oriented sustainability.