Sustainable development and the consumer: exploring the role of carbon labelling in retail supply chains

Hornibrook, Sue and May, Claire and Fearne, Andrew (2015) Sustainable development and the consumer: exploring the role of carbon labelling in retail supply chains. Business Strategy and the Environment, 24 (4). pp. 266-276. ISSN 0964-4733

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Abstract

This empirical article contributes to the sustainable development debate by examining
consumer responses to carbon labels within a realworld context.Given the limitations of methodologies
that use self-reported or intended measures of purchasing behaviour, we use the
loyalty card data of the largest supermarket retailer in the UK to measure the impact of carbon
labels on sales by different consumer segments. The data show that the trial of carbon labels on
supermarket own brand products has had no discernible impact on shifting demand to lower
carbon products. In order to explore possible reasons for lack of impact, nine focus groups were
held using purposive sampling by retailer consumer segments to allow an exploration of awareness,
understanding and use of carbon labels. The findings from the focus groups identified
possible reasons for this lack of impact: lack of awareness and understanding of carbon labelling;
constraining or facilitating social and cultural influences; and the heterogeneous nature
of consumers. As a result, a number of implications for stakeholders are discussed.

Keywords:eco-labelling, retailing, loyalty card data, sustainable purchasing behaviour, bmjgoldcheck, NotOAChecked
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:13928
Deposited On:12 May 2014 14:19

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