Lancaster University Management School - 54 Degrees Issue 10

FIFTY FOURDEGREES | 29 consumers believe strongly that their lives would be very different if they could no longer contribute to the preservation of the environment with environmentally friendly activities in their everyday lives. For example, when they shop, they tend to choose environmentally friendly products, those packaged in recyclable and recycled materials. They will search for those, such as soap and pens, that come in refillable packaging; and they tend to use fresh food rather than frozen. Our research results also suggest that consumers with a stronger moral identity purchase less overall, cautious that their purchases might lead to an accumulation of things they do not really need. Our respondents show the importance of the disposal stage of sustainable consumption in their behaviour, as they are very careful as to howandwhere they dispose of the products they use in their households. Many of themtend to take goods they no longer need to charity shops or second-hand shops, andwith their responsible actions they contribute to the circular economy of their products beyond the acquisition stage. Beyond these actions in their home life, our research shows it is likely that such actions will spill-over to sustainable consumption behaviour in the workplace. There, as at home, meals are prepared using fresh rather than frozen food, but there are wider influences as well. These respondents tend to avoid using one-offdishes and cutlery when at work, they use paper bags instead of plastic ones, a real towel instead of one-offtowels, where it is possible to make such decisions. They attempt to preserve water in their workplace, put recyclable waste in recycle bins and switch offtheir computers when leaving their offices for a considerable period of time, aiming to reduce electricity consumption. Thesefindings show that significant improvements on sustainable consumption behaviour in theworkplace can bemade through improving sustainable consumption behaviour at homewhenmoral identity is present. Beyond thesefindings were others, more unexpected. Contrary to earlier studies, our research showed that men are actually more engaged with sustainable consumption than women. Men tend to dedicate more time to sustainable consumption, are more interested in opinions of others on sustainability issues, and are more prepared to take immediate action regarding their own sustainable consumption. This could be explained by men having more spare time to dedicate to such activities. Our research suggests policy makers’ attention should be directed towards women when it comes to increasing sustainable consumption both in the home and in the workplace. Any offerings that are presented as timesavers will grab female attention, and marketing products that tap into qualities such as fairness, honesty, compassion and helpfulness are proven to help trigger females’ moral identity and drive them to action. Making women feel good about themselves morally by better raising awareness about how they can contribute to the good cause, while saving some of their precious time, are just some steps that can be taken to change our sustainable consumption habits for the better. Dr Laura Salciuvieneis a Research Fellow in the Department of Marketing.