Western Consumers' Understanding of Carbon Offsets and its Relationship to Behavior

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Polonsky, Michael Jay, Garma, Romana and Grau, Stacy Landreth (2011) Western Consumers' Understanding of Carbon Offsets and its Relationship to Behavior. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 23 (5). pp. 583-603. ISSN 1355-5855


The purpose of this paper is to examine Western consumers’ levels of general environmental knowledge and specific knowledge related to carbon offsets and the relationships between specific types of environmental knowledge and consumers’ related behaviors. Design/methodology/approach – The study surveyed consumers from Australia (n ¼ 345) and the USA (n ¼ 340) who were sourced through national online panels. The analysis looks at differences between knowledge and behaviors, both across the samples as well as whether there are differences between consumers with high and low levels of environmental and carbon offset knowledge, and whether demographics impact on knowledge levels. Findings – The results found that consumers had higher levels of general knowledge than carbon offset knowledge and the two types of knowledge were not related. ANOVA results considering country differences and demographic factors found that general knowledge was affected by education, age and gender, with carbon knowledge being affected by education. Environmental behavior was affected by age and gender as well, and no demographic factors influenced carbon-related behavior. Respondent’s location (i.e. USA or Australia) did not influence knowledge or behaviors, but interacted with education in regard to carbon knowledge and behavior. Social implications – This research suggests that consumers are not acting on their carbon knowledge, which may be due to the debate surrounding carbon issues and/or because the information is based on complex scientific foundations, which the average consumer may have difficulty grasping, regardless of country.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/9281
DOI 10.1108/13555851111183048
Official URL http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=13...
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 0502 Environmental Science and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of International Business
Historical > SEO Classification > 8998 Environmentally Sustainable Information and Communication Services
Keywords ResPubID23999, consumer behaviour, demographics, knowledge levels, environment, greenmarketing, environmental behaviour, environmental knowledge, carbon offsets
Citations in Scopus 31 - View on Scopus
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