Advancing sustainable consumption in the UK and China: the mediating effect of pro-environmental self-identity

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Dermody, Janine ; Hanmer-Lloyd, Stuart ; Koenig-Lewis, Nicole ; Zhao, Anita Lifen (2015)

In this paper, we respond to the call for more holistic and culturally diverse research to advance understanding of (non)sustainable consumption behaviour. Our conceptual model incorporates materialism, environmental concern, social consumption motivation, pro-environmental self-identity and sustainable consumption behaviours. This paper contributes to knowledge by examining the mediating role of pro-environmental self-identity to more fully explain consumers’ (non)sustainable consumption behaviour. An international online panel survey was employed in the UK (n = 1037) and China (n = 1025). Findings show that pro-environmental self-identity partially or fully mediates the relationships between materialism, environmental concern, social consumption motivation and sustainable consumption behaviours. Important cultural differences also emerged, for example, the positive effect of materialism on Chinese consumer’s sustainable consumption, which is contrary to Western evidence. We suggest bolder, culturally informed and more reflexive marketing strategies are needed to significantly advance sustainable consumption, thus effectively helping to redress the crisis facing our planet.
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