Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 439–460 | Cite as

The Ethical Consumer. Moral Norms and Packaging Choice

  • John Thφgersen


This study investigates whether the claim that environmental attitudes are based on moral reasoning is valid with regard to consumer buying attitudes, as it has been shown to be in other domains of consumer behaviour. It is proposed that two conditions make moral reasoning in the buying situation more likely: environmental concern and the absence of other highly involving characteristics. The paper presents a study of a case with these two characteristics: Danish consumers' choice of environment-friendly packaging. With regard to this case, the evidence supports the claim. A majority of Danish consumers have developed personal norms about choosing environment-friendly packaging and the personal norm is a significant predictor of their (self-reported) propensity to choose environment-friendly packaging in the supermarket (whereas perceived costs have a minor influence on the choice). It is recommended that attempts to promote this and similar behaviour focus on strengthening consumers' intrinsic motivation and on facilitating its transformation into behaviour.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Thφgersen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Aarhus School of BusinessAarhus VDenmark.E-mail

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