Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 694–714 | Cite as

Citizens of the (green) world? Cosmopolitan orientation and sustainability

  • Amir Grinstein
  • Petra Riefler


Contemporary consumer markets are characterized by both a heightened need for sustainability and an increasingly cosmopolitan lifestyle. This article bridges these two trends and studies two untapped questions: (1) How do cosmopolitan consumers relate to sustainable behavior? and (2) How should environmental messages be framed to successfully target cosmopolitan consumers? Four studies in three countries show that high-cosmopolitan consumers demonstrate environmental concern and engage in sustainable behavior. To successfully target this promising segment with sustainable products or messages to promote sustainable behavior, marketers and public policymakers should highlight the benefit of these products/behaviors for the global (rather than the local) environment. However, the findings also show that high-cosmopolitan consumers can be successfully targeted to support local environmental initiatives when activating their local identification. The article offers implications for businesses, non-government organizations, and public policymakers in designing effective messages to promote sustainable behavior.


cosmopolitan orientation sustainability global/local framing market segmentation experiments 



The authors would like to thank Oliver Buettner, Danit Ein-Gar, Ann Kronrod, and Yael Steinhart for their valuable input on this research. The authors thank Raz Shalev for designing the adverts used in Study 3 and Marco Meier for his methodological input.


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, VU AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Faculty of Business, Economics, and Statistics, University of Vienna, ViennaAustria

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