Understanding 'green' consumers key to business success

December 3, 2018, Massey University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Massey University Ph.D. graduate Dr. Fred Angels Musika set out to develop a reliable way of measuring green consumer consciousness to better understand the decision-making processes of this growing market segment.

While "" have been of interest to businesses for several years, academic frameworks designed to identify and measure green consumption styles are relatively new, he says. His thesis outlines a framework for measuring just how "green conscious" a particular market is.

"Understanding the decision-making process of green consumers can help companies to develop, design and create that will match the needs of their market," Dr. Musika says.

"This is definitely a growing market for businesses to tap into and, if approached strategically, it can be profitable and sustainable as well."

Is the green consumer a universal concept?

Dr. Musika's research had two key goals: to develop a measure that captured recent trends in green consumption; and to test if the measure was useful in both developed and developing countries. To test the second research question, he collected data in New Zealand and Tanzania, his home country before migrating to New Zealand.

The research showed the most important factors to green consumers were products that were ethically produced and recyclable. They also had a preference for products that were certified as environmentally-friendly, biodegradable and free from toxins.

"All these factors were common to consumers in both New Zealand and Tanzania, but the reasons behind preferring such products were sometimes different," Dr. Musika says.

"In Tanzania, consumer decisions were driven by concerns about , especially climate calamities like floods, droughts and unpredictable seasons, while New Zealanders were more motivated by their pride in a being seen as a clean, green country."

Dr. Musika's framework is currently being tested in Tanzania to see if it can be used to predict consumer behaviour and the results are promising. In the future, he would also like to test the framework in New Zealand.

"We are in the process of developing an app that links to unique product information codes so, when consumers enter a store, all the products that meet their 'green criteria' pop up on their mobile phone. There's no need to scan each product so it's very fast and convenient."

Sustainability gains momentum

He says his research should help businesses identify green consumer needs as well as give companies insights into the strong and weak aspects of their products and brand portfolios.

"It's important for businesses to understand these things as green consumption and consciousness is gaining momentum quickly. Just look at the way New Zealand supermarkets are getting rid of as a result of the influence of green ."

Explore further: 'Green' scale helps predict how consumers buy environmentally friendly products

Related Stories

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

July 29, 2014

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Why retailers want you to know about their green credentials

June 29, 2018

Australian supermarkets phasing out single-use plastic bags is just one example of how retailers are fiercely engaged in a race to be "green". Other examples are dumping plastic straws, buying back used products and reducing ...

New Zealand to ban single-use plastic bags

August 10, 2018

New Zealand became the latest country Friday to outlaw single-use plastic shopping bags, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying they will be phased out over the next year as a "meaningful step" towards reducing pollution.

Recommended for you

Meteorite source in asteroid belt not a single debris field

February 17, 2019

A new study published online in Meteoritics and Planetary Science finds that our most common meteorites, those known as L chondrites, come from at least two different debris fields in the asteroid belt. The belt contains ...

Diagnosing 'art acne' in Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings

February 17, 2019

Even Georgia O'Keeffe noticed the pin-sized blisters bubbling on the surface of her paintings. For decades, conservationists and scholars assumed these tiny protrusions were grains of sand, kicked up from the New Mexico desert ...

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.