Shopping to Save the Planet? Implicit Rather than Explicit Attitudes Predict Low Carbon Footprint Consumer Choice

Geoffrey Beattie, Laura Sale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change is upon us and requires urgent action. This has led to carbon footprint information appearing on products. But are consumers primed to change their behaviour? What is their fundamental attitude to low carbon products? And what attitudes might predict actual consumer behaviour? This study found that whilst most participants were pro-low carbon on both the explicit and implicit measures, the explicit and implicit scores did not themselves correlate. In addition, a number of participants scored significantly more positively on explicit than implicit measures, reflecting the social desirability of being seen as green. Neither of the explicit measures significantly differentiated the choice of high/low carbon products but the implicit measure did. Furthermore, it appears that when under time pressure, people seem to rely on their underlying implicit attitude to guide their consumer choices. Thus, it could be argued that if we are to genuinely engineer a green revolution, then we must augment these implicit attitudes and ensure that they translate to actual behaviour, for example, by designing carbon footprint 'signals' aimed primarily at the implicit system. © Common Ground, Geoffrey Beattie, Laura Sale, All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-232
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Climate

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