Environmentally conscious consumption: The role of retailers and peers as external influences

Yelena Tsarenko, Carla Renee Ferraro, Sean James Sands, Colin McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Environmentally conscious consumption is one of the key concerns in modern society generally, and increasingly among the consumer population. However, consumers often overstate their willingness to purchase environmentally conscious products, with global purchasing of these products relatively low. Much research has considered the role of drivers internal to an individual in making such consumption choices; however there is less knowledge as to how external influences may impact environmentally conscious consumption behaviour. As retailers increasingly strive to adopt and communicate their environmentally sustainable business practices, and encourage parallel consumer behavior, the question arises: what role do retailers play in influencing consumers environmentally conscious consumption? In this paper we investigate this notion, specifically how external influences (the retailer and peers) impact environmentally conscious behavior. We investigate this behavior in terms of two outcomes; sustainable consumption (direct costs) and willingness to accept environmental taxes (indirect costs). Our research demonstrates that retailers can influence consumers to be more environmentally conscious in their consumption, with retailer influence a stronger mediator than peers in this relationship. One important implication of this research is that retailers have the opportunity to shape environmentally conscious consumption if they adopt sustainable business practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302 - 310
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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