Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 199–214 | Cite as

Toward a Composite Measure of Green Consumption: An Exploratory Study Using a Korean Sample

  • So-Yun Kim
  • Jungsung Yeo
  • Sang Hee Sohn
  • Jong-Youn RhaEmail author
  • Shinae Choi
  • A-young Choi
  • Suhyun Shin
Original Paper


This study developed a composite measure of green consumption behaviors, incorporating multiple dimensions of green consumption behaviors. As a result of an extensive literature review, four value orientations were proposed: health-related egoistic value orientation, resource-related egoistic value orientation, altruistic value orientation, and biospheric value orientation. And a composite measure of green consumption which measured green consumption behavior manifesting the suggested value orientations were proposed and empirically tested using a Korean sample. After empirical testing and validating the proposed composite measure according to the measurement validation procedure proposed by Nunnally (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1978), the composite measure of green consumption behaviors was revised to three dimensions of green consumption behaviors: health-conscious green consumption behavior, resource-conscious green consumption behavior, and socially conscious green consumption behavior that combined originally suggested altruistic and biospheric value orientations. A multivariate regression analysis was employed to test the usability of the composite measure of green consumption behaviors and to identify the determinants of green consumption behaviors. As hypothesized, the results of regression analysis showed that perceived consumer effectiveness, reference persons, and perceived market situation are significant determinants of green consumption behaviors, and the effects of environmental concern and socioeconomics are limited. Based on these findings, public policy and marketing implications that promote green consumption are also proposed.


Green consumption behaviors Composite measure Value orientations Measurement validation procedure 


  1. Adams, W. M. (2006). The future of sustainability: Re-thinking environment and development in the twenty-first century. Report of the IUCN Renowned Thinkers Meeting. Retrieved January 14, 2011 from
  2. Alwitt, L. F., & Pitts, R. E. (1996). Predicting purchase intention for an environmentally sensitive product. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 5(1), 49–64. doi: 10.1016/S1057-7408(96)70404-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antil, J. H. (1984). Socially responsible consumers: Profiles and implications for public policy. Journal of Macromarketing, 5(2), 18–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Axelrod, L., & Lehman, D. (1993). Responding to environmental concerns: What factors guide individual action? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 13(2), 149–159. doi: 10.1016/S0272-4944(05)80147-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bae, S., & Chun, H. J. (2010). Development of the green family’s model. Seoul: Korean Consumer Agency.Google Scholar
  6. Balderjahn, I. (1988). Personality variables and environmental attitudes as predictors of ecologically responsible consumption patterns. Journal of Business Research, 17, 51–56. doi: 10.1016/0148-2963(88)90022-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berger, I., & Corbin, R. (1992). Perceived consumer effectiveness and faith in others as moderators of environmentally responsible behaviors. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 11(2), 79–89.Google Scholar
  8. Chan, K. (1999). Market segmentation of green consumers in Hong Kong. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 12(2), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, M. F., & Tung, P. J. (2010). The moderating effect of perceived Lack of facilities on consumers’ recycling intentions. Environment and Behavior, 42(6), 824–844. doi: 10.1177/0013916509352833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Connolly, J., & Prothero, A. (2008). Green consumption: Life-politics, risk and contradictions. Journal of Consumer Culture, 8, 117–146. doi: 10.1177/1469540507086422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deacon, R. E., & Firebaugh, F. M. (1988). Family resource management. Boston: Ally & Bacon, Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. (2008). A framework for pro-environmental behaviours-annexes. Retrieved July 20, 2010 from
  13. Ellen, P., Wiener, J., & Cobb-Walgren, C. (1991). The role of perceived consumer effectiveness in motivating environmentally conscious behaviours. Journal of Public Policy Marketing, 10(2), 102–117.Google Scholar
  14. European Environment Agency. (2007). Sustainable consumption and production in South East Europe and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, (EEA Report 2007/3). Retrieved January 14, 2011 from
  15. Finisterra do Paco, A. M., & Rapposo, M. L. B. (2008). Determining the characteristics to profile the “green” consumer: An exploratory approach. International Review on Public Nonprofit Marketing, 5(2), 129–140. doi: 10.1007/s12208-008-0010-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  17. Fraj, E., & Martinez, E. (2006). Environmental values and lifestyles as determining factors of ecological consumer behaviour: An empirical analysis. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 23(3), 133–144. doi: 10.1108/07363760610663295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fraj-Andres, E., & Martinez-Salinas, E. (2007). Impact of environmental knowledge on ecological consumer behavior: An empirical analysis. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 19(3), 73–102. doi: 10.1300/J046v19n03_05.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gilg, A., Barr, S., & Ford, N. (2005). Green consumption or sustainable lifestyles? Identifying the sustainable consumer. Futures, 37(6), 481–504. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2007.08.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gim, T. (2003). A study of influences on green purchasing with structural equation modeling (SEM). Master’s thesis. Retrieved December 03, 2010 from
  21. Gupta, S., & Ogden, D. T. (2009). To buy or not to buy? A social dilemma perspective on green buying. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 26(6), 376–391. doi: 10.1108/07363760910988201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hilton, J. M., Martin, S. K., & Haldeman, V. A. (1994). Using psychometric analysis to evaluate the construct validity and reliability of the coping response indices. Journal of Family Economic Issues, 15(3), 201–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jain, S. K., & Kaur, G. (2006). Role of socio-demographics in segmenting and profiling green consumers: An exploratory study of consumers in Korea. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 18(3), 107–146. doi: 10.1300/J046v18n03_06.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Laroche, M., Bergeron, J., & Barbaro-Forleo, G. (2001). Targeting consumers who are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18(6), 503–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lucey, T. (2005). Assessing the reliability and validity of the jump start survey of financial literacy. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 26(2), 283–294. doi: 10.1007/s10834-005-3526-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mainieri, T., Barnett, E. G., Valdero, T. R., Unipan, J. B., & Oskamp, S. (1997). Green buying: The influence of environmental concern on consumer behavior. Journal of Social Psychology, 137(2), 189–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McDonald, S., Oates, C., Thyne, M., Alevizou, P., & MacMorland, L. (2009). Comparing sustainable consumption patterns across product sectors. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33(2), 137–145. doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2009.00755.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McEachern, M., & McClean, P. (2002). Organic purchasing motivations and attitudes: Are they ethical? International Journal of Consumer Studies, 26(2), 85–92. doi: 10.1046/j.1470-6431.2002.00199.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mostafa, M. M. (2007). Gender differences in Egyptian consumers’ green purchase behavior: The effects of environmental knowledge, concern and attitude. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 31(3), 220–229. doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2006.00523.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.Google Scholar
  31. Ottman, J. A. (1993). Green marketing: Challenges & opportunities. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books.Google Scholar
  32. Ozcaglar-Toulouse, N., Shlu, E., & Shaw, D. (2006). In search of fair trade: Ethical consumer decision making in France. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 30(5), 502–514. doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2006.00532.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peattie, K. (2001). Golden goose or wild goose? The hunt for the green consumer. Business Strategy & The Environment, 10(4), 187–199. doi: 10.1002/bse.292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pelsmacker, P., Driesen, L., & Rayp, G. (2005). Do consumers care about ethics? Willingness to pay for fair-trade coffee. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39(2), 363–385. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6606.2005.00019.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Prothero, A. (2008). Green consumption: Life-politics, risk and contradictions. Journal of Consumer Culture, 8(1), 117–145. doi: 10.1177/1469540507086422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roberts, J. A. (1996). Green consumers in the 1990s: Profile and implications for advertising. Journal of Business Research, 36(3), 27–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schaefer, A., & Crane, A. (2005). Addressing sustainability and consumption. Journal of Marcromarketing, 25(1), 76–92. doi: 10.1177/0276146705274987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 1–65). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  39. Shrum, L. J., Lowrey, T. M., & McCarty, J. A. (1994). Recycling as a marketing problem: A framework for strategy development. Psychology & Marketing, 11(4), 395–416. doi: 10.1002/mar.4220110407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith, S., Haugtvedt, C., & Petty, R. (1994). Attitudes and recycling: Does the measurement of affect enhance behavioral prediction? Psychology and Marketing, 11(4), 359–374. doi: 10.1002/mar.4220110405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sohn, S. H., Kim, K., Rha, J. Y., & Choi, S. (2010). Green consumption competency: A conceptual model of its framework and components. Consumer Policy and Education Review, 8(3), 95–119.Google Scholar
  42. Stem, P. C., & Oskamp, S. (1987). Managing scarce environmental resources. In D. Stokols & I. Altman (Eds.), Handbook of environmental psychology (pp. 1043–1088). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Stern, P. C. (1999). Information, incentives & proenvironmental consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Policy, 22(4), 461–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stern, P. C., & Dietz, T. (1994). The value basis of environmental concern. Journal of Social Issues, 50(3), 65–84. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1994.tb02420.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Straughan, R. D., & Roberts, J. A. (1999). Environmental segmentation alternatives: A look at green consumer behavior in the new millennium. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 16(6), 558–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tanner, C., & Kast, S. W. (2003). Promoting sustainable consumption: Determinants of green purchases by Swiss consumers. Psychology and Marketing, 20(10), 883–902. doi: 10.1002/mar.10101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thogersen, J. (2000). Psychological determinants of paying attention to eco-labels in purchase decisions: Model development and multinational validation. Journal of Consumer Policy, 23(3), 285–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thogersen, J. (2005). How many consumer policy empower consumers for sustainable lifestyles? Journal of Consumer Policy, 28(2), 143–177. doi: 10.1007/s10603-005-2982-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thogersen, J. (2010). Country differences in sustainable consumption: The case of organic food. Journal of Macromarketing, 30(2), 171–185. doi: 10.1177/0276146710361926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Van Birgelen, M., Semeijn, J., & Keicher, M. (2009). Packaging and proenvironmental consumption behavior: Investigating purchase and disposal decisions for beverages. Environment and Behavior, 41(1), 125–146. doi: 10.1177/0013916507311140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vining, J., & Ebreo, A. (1990). What makes a recycler? A comparison of recyclers and nonrecyclers. Environmental Behavior, 22, 55–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Webster, F. (1975). Determining the characteristics of socially conscious consumer. Journal of Consumer Research, 2(12), 188–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Welsch, H., & Kuhling, J. (2009). Determinants of pro-environmental consumption: The role of reference groups and routine behavior. Ecological Economics, 69, 166–176. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.08.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Young, W., Hwang, K., McDonald, S., & Oates, C. J. (2010). Sustainable consumption: Green consumer behavior when purchasing products. Sustainable Development, 18, 20–31. doi: 10.1002/sd.394.Google Scholar
  55. Zepeda, L., & Deal, D. (2009). Organic and local food consumer behaviour: Alphabet theory. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33, 697–705. doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2009.00814.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • So-Yun Kim
    • 1
  • Jungsung Yeo
    • 1
  • Sang Hee Sohn
    • 1
  • Jong-Youn Rha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shinae Choi
    • 2
  • A-young Choi
    • 1
  • Suhyun Shin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Consumer ScienceSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Consumer SciencesOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations