Sunday, March 21, 2010

Consumers who choose green products to boost their status

Recently research was carried out on a group of 168 college students and what they found out is that some people who go out of their way to buy eco-friendly products do not do it for their concern of the planet but to make themselves appear superior.

Many green products are more expensive but lack some of the features of conventional products but such altruistic behavior may come from a desire to show off one's wealth and environmental consciousness.

One group of students read a story intended to make them aspire towards a high social status, while another group read a different story or no story. Each student was asked to choose between a series of green and conventional products. The products had the same price and brand, but the green option had lower performance and fewer luxury features. Students in the "status" group were more likely to choose the green products as compared to the students in the control group. And the result of another experiment is more interesting. It showed that the status hungry students were less likely to buy green if told they were shopping online rather in a store, that is if no one is watching! (Naughty naughty..) Students in the status-seeking group were also more attracted to green products when those products were more expensive.

Maybe these students have to take a course on climate change in order to take it more seriously and understand that their future wouldn't be as comfortable if no drastic action is taken. I was shocked to find out that there are people out there who are more interested in attaining a higher status in life than concern for the environment. We still have to share the same air no matter what status you are in!

Tip of the day: Throw you recyclables in the designated recycling bin in town instaed of the regular bin :)

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