Varieties of Environmental Labelling, Market Structures, and Sustainable Consumption Across Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Organizational and Market Supply Determinants of Environmental-Labelled Goods
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The purchase of environmental-labelled goods is an important dimension of sustainable consumption. Existing research on environmental labels and sustainable consumption has a rather individualistic bias. Organizational and structural determinants have only recently sparked attention. In this paper, a comparative framework is used to analyse the impact of organizational varieties of environmental labelling and market supply characteristics on purchases of environmental-labelled goods in 18 European countries. Focusing on labels for organic food and ecological durables, the plurality of existing labels as well as state involvement into labelling are used as the central dimensions constituting the organizational varieties. Market structures refer to the supply of labelled goods and the dominant retailing channels that make up the infrastructure for this dimension of sustainable consumption. After giving an overview on the underlying theoretical mechanisms of the main determinants, country differences in the organization of environmental labelling as well as the market structures are outlined. To analyse the effect of these differences, individual level data of a 2007 Eurobarometer survey on purchases of environmental-labelled goods is combined with organizational and market structural indicators. Using random intercept regression models and controlling for individual socio-economic and aggregate market demand-side factors, like average per capita income, share of post-materialists, and level of generalized trust, only the market supply and retailing structure reveal a robust effect on individual purchases of environmental friendly labelled goods.