Inderscience Publishers

Understanding the role of free-choice environmental education in 'green' consumption behaviour: an empirical investigation

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Threats to the natural environment have prompted increasing numbers of people to become educated about environmental issues and to take actions that reflect their concern. One way that individuals try to contribute to the conservation and improvement of the environment is through the purchase of environmentally-friendly or 'green' products. The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between five different sources of informal environmental education and 'green' consumption behaviour. Using a sample of 236 college students, the study found that a positive, significant relationship exists between the use of informal environmental education and green consumption behaviour. In addition, the findings suggest that use of the five sources of informal environmental education serves as an accurate predictor of the extent to which consumers engage in green consumption behaviour (i.e., none, light, moderate, or heavy). The paper draws conclusions and discusses implications for practice that are relevant to non-government organisations (NGOs), governments, businesses, educational institutions and individuals.

Keywords: environmental education, green consumption, consumption behaviour, environmental sustainability, environmentally-friendly products, discriminant analysis, regression analysis, media, internet, non-government organisations, NGOs, green purchasing, purchasing behaviour, sustainable development, green products, informal education

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