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Consumers' evaluations of ecological packaging – Rational and emotional approaches

Koenig-Lewis, Nicole, Palmer, Adrian, Dermody, Janine, Urbye, Andreas
Journal of environmental psychology 2014 v.37 pp. 94-105
beverages, emotions, environmental impact, marketing, models, packaging
Ecological marketing claims have been criticized for confusing or misleading buyers, leading to calls for more rationality in promoting and evaluating ‘green’ products. However, emotions are important drivers influencing pro-environmental purchase decisions. This study investigates consumers' emotional and rational evaluations of pro-environmental packaging. A conceptual model incorporates individuals' general environmental concerns, their rational beliefs about environmental effects of product consumption and emotions evoked. Hypotheses are tested with 312 Norwegian consumers who evaluated a beverage container incorporating organic material. Purchase intention was significantly influenced by general environmental concern, but not by rational evaluations of benefits. Rational evaluations had differing effects on positive and negative emotions. Both positive and negative emotions had significant direct effects on purchase intention. This paper contributes to evidence that emotions rather than rational evaluations are key drivers for changing pro-environmental purchase behavior and adds new knowledge about the role of negative emotions evoked by pro-environmental packaging.