Which “green” activities are consumers performing in their everyday lives?
- Save them money?
- Are easy to do?
- Are the most beneficial to the environment?
- Some combination of the three?
Developing an innovative approach, we combined insights from a recent survey of consumer behavior with expert opinion on green activities and found that:
- Activities that experts rank as the most beneficial for the environment are not always performed frequently by consumers.
- Economic benefit to the consumer is a stronger predictor of frequently-performed activities than environmental benefit.
- However, convenience to the consumer is the best predictor of green behavior!
- Decision-makers for sustainability programs can tailor this method to their particular location by:
- Compiling a list of green activities specific to their region.
- Surveying local consumers and experts.
- Altering which dimensions are included in assessing the importance of various green activities.
- “Newcomer” communities can maximize the impact of launching their green programs by:
- Prioritizing activities that are convenient and economical for the consumer.
- Motivating consumers with educational programs and incentives.
- Waiting until the environmental program has gotten off the ground before encouraging activities that are low in convenience and economic benefit- unless they can be financially subsidized.
- “Veteran” communities can prioritize the activities by environmental benefit:
- Activities that are most convenient can be financially penalized for non-compliance.
- Less convenient activities can have incentives for performance.