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Academy Of Marketing Paper 2009 Green Consumers And Flying Behaviours


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Slides of a paper on 'green consumers and flying behaviours' - presented at the Academy of Marketing conference in in UK in 2009

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Academy Of Marketing Paper 2009 Green Consumers And Flying Behaviours

  1. 1. The decision of whether or not to fly: A pilot study of Green consumers Claire Carlile, Seonaidh McDonald, Caroline Oates, Maree Thyne and Leigh-Ann McMorland Academy of Marketing 2009
  2. 2. Background <ul><li>The academic literature on green consumers is extensive, but relatively little attention has been paid to air travel </li></ul><ul><li>Recently, Barr (2008) and Randles and Mander (2009) have investigated consumers’ approaches to flying </li></ul><ul><li>For green consumers, flying raises several issues </li></ul>
  3. 3. Methods <ul><li>Qualitative approach </li></ul><ul><li>29 self-selected green consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Recruited through posters and leaflets and then snowballing </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews focussing on detailed discussions of travel (non) purchases </li></ul><ul><li>Transcribed and analysed inductively </li></ul>
  4. 4. Approaches Found <ul><li>Through inductive analyses of our data, we have surfaced five main green consumer strategies: </li></ul><ul><li>Compromise in favour of mundane criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Compromise in favour of other ideals </li></ul><ul><li>Compromise by restricting or reducing flights </li></ul><ul><li>Compensate with other behaviours/carbon offsetting </li></ul><ul><li>Not flying </li></ul>
  5. 5. Compromise in favour of mundane criteria <ul><li>Expressed concern about contribution of air travel to climate change </li></ul><ul><li>May have looked into alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>However the ideal of not flying was compromised in favour of ‘grey’ criteria such as journey time or journey cost </li></ul><ul><li>“ You could travel from the south to the north but it would have been a day and half journey on the train ” </li></ul><ul><li>comment on decision to fly within Thailand </li></ul>
  6. 6. Compromise in favour of other ideals <ul><li>This group also stated that their ideal was not to fly </li></ul><ul><li>However this ideal was often compromised, but for less concrete criteria than the previous group </li></ul><ul><li>The compromise here was sometimes expressed in terms of obligation to friends and/or family: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Because the people we went to stay with had invited us to stay with them for a few years so we decided we’d do it this year. It wouldn’t have been our first choice to go to Tarifa no; we went because they had invited us more ” </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>And sometimes in terms of issues related to self- identity: </li></ul><ul><li>“… there’s this breadth of experience that comes from travelling, that you’ve see this and you’ve done that, sometimes I feel like I’m under pressure to travel because that’s what all the interesting people have done…I think that other people judge us by our travelling experiences…” </li></ul>Compromise in favour of other ideals
  8. 8. Compromise by restricting or reducing flights <ul><li>This group have either stopped flying so frequently: </li></ul><ul><li>“ We have stopped flying so much, we still do fly a bit, but it’s going to be once every few years, not every year” </li></ul><ul><li>Or have cut out particular types of flight: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Over the past few years I’ve tried to reduce my carbon footprint in a couple of fairly major ways, and one of those ways was to try and stop flying, which I’ve been relatively successful at, apart from one short flight to France – but I haven’t flown long haul for 2 years and that was a conscious decision.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Compensate with other behaviours <ul><li>This group continued to fly, but offset what they perceived as the environmental costs of flying through other pro-environmental activities: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’ve earned it from all of the things that I have done, whether it be recycling, composting, wood burning, solar panels, cycling to work when I can and just saving all that carbon and thinking that I have lived a relatively low carbon lifestyle for x amount of time, if I do the sums I work out that I can fly once every 3 years within my personal carbon allowance”. </li></ul><ul><li>Contrast to Barr’s (2008) ‘eco-hypocrites’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. Not flying <ul><li>For some green consumers, this option was considered for short, but not for long haul flights </li></ul><ul><li>Many sought alternative modes of transport for short haul flights and simply decided not to travel to long haul destinations </li></ul><ul><li>An emerging discussion of the merits of ‘slow travel’ and changes to the meaning of the idea of being ‘well travelled’: as such this option has been reframed as a positive scenario </li></ul>
  11. 11. Summary <ul><li>All green consumers experience a tension between their desire to fly and their beliefs about sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Some ignore this tension </li></ul><ul><li>Some re-frame the need to fly </li></ul><ul><li>Some change their behaviours in various ways </li></ul>
  12. 12. Cognitive Dissonance <ul><li>One possible framework that could help explain these results is the theory of Cognitive Dissonance </li></ul><ul><li>We have a need to avoid inconsistencies in our beliefs, attitudes and behaviours (Festinger, 1957) </li></ul><ul><li>This would explain the tension between ideals and behaviours expressed by respondents </li></ul><ul><li>Th ø rgersen (2004) notes that cognitive dissonance is not produced if inconsistency can be attributed to external forces, perhaps explaining the discourses around grey criteria and obligation </li></ul>
  13. 13. Marketing Implications <ul><li>Our research has identified several consumer strategies that can be used to encourage pro-environmental behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging discourses such as ‘slow travel’ could be developed to offer an acceptable alternative </li></ul>
  14. 14. Further Research <ul><li>Building on the exploratory pilot work reported in this study </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing our attention on notions of identity and alternative consumption practices </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Further details of the Welsh study: </li></ul><ul><li>Eco hypocrites or key to a sustainable future by Claire Carlile, MSc Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>