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Electronic Green Journal

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Could Perceived Risks Explain the ‘Green Gap’ in Green Product Consumption?

  • Author(s): Durif, Fabien;
  • Roy, Jean;
  • Boivin, Caroline
  • et al.

Although green consumption is increasingly popular in the academic literature, practice is still far from commonplace among consumers. Few studies have been conducted to explain consumer reluctance to adopt green products (GPs), particularly with regard to the roles of the various risks consumers perceive in their purchases. However, perceived risks towards GPs could be one of the explanations for the ‘green gap’ – the difference between pro-environmental attitudes and green purchase behaviour. We used a means-end chain (MEC) approach to explore the links that consumers establish between the attributes of green cleaning products, their consequences, and their perceived risks. Findings indicate that consumers perceive greater risk with respect to the functional, financial, and temporal aspects of GPs than to their physical and psychosocial aspects. Social desirability appears to be a strong personal value attached to the purchase of GPs. We also identified positive (pleasant fragrance, natural ingredients, recyclable packaging, lack of health risks, protection of the environment, enhancement of personal and social image) and negative motivations (limited distribution, weaker concentration, less attractive label, higher cost, longer and more complex purchasing process, product ineffectiveness) associated with the purchase of green cleaning products.

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