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Impact of Green Marketing on Young Consumers

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 4758 words Published: 15th Jan 2018

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This study provides an overview of green marketing (is also known as ethnical and environmental marketing), the impact of green marketing towards the young consumers in Malaysia. The first part covers section on research problem, research objectives and research questions.


Throughout the twentieth century, many technologies and business practices have contributed to the destruction of the very ecological systems on which the economy and life itself depends, including toxic contamination, depletion of fisheries and forests, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss (Ottman et al.,2006). Many companies and consumers are beginning to respond to programs to help conserve the Earth’s natural resources, and green marketing is making a comeback (Ottman et al., 2006). Business management researchers Stuart Hart and Mark Milstein argue that the emerging challenge of global sustainability is catalyzing a new round of creative destruction that offers “unprecedented opportunities” for new environmentally sensitive innovations, markets, and products (Ottman et al., 2006).

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The progress of environmentalism in a country has significant role in changing consumers’ purchase behaviour as well as changing company’s strategies to more environmental friendly. According to Kotler and Armstrong (2008), the first wave of modern environment and quality of life by environmental group and concerned consumers whereas second wave which passed law and regulations governing practices impacting the environment. At the moment, environmentalism waves is merging into a third and stronger wave in which companies are accepting responsibility for doing no environmental harm by adopting policies of environmental and sustain environment and produce profit (Kolter et al, 2008).


The emerging trend of “Go Green” in the global is becoming more significant to the society in line with the growing awareness of global warming is accelerating, and the perception that it is posing a serious threat to humanity and the world’s environment (Star Publications (M) Bhd, 1995-2011). According to “Our green world research report 2008” survey conducted by global insight and information group TNS, United Kingdom and other European countries are showing high interest in adopting changes in lifestyle and behaviour in the past to benefit the environments. The environmentalism in Asian countries especially for Thailand and Singapore are even more distinct through the society adaptation in environmental protection and green purchases through the effort of governments. On the aspect of eco-friendliness of habits and behaviours only 8% of Malaysian respondents responded they have changed their behaviour in a great deal to benefit the environment (Nabsiah Abdul Wahid et al, 2011). Despite the social adaptation of environmental consumption is rising, research indicates that many green products have failed because of marketers’ myopic focus on their products’ “greenness” over the broader expectations of consumers or other market players (such as regulators or activists) (Ottman et al., 2006).

On the other hand, Tully and Schonfeld (1994) found that young consumers showing high concerned with social issues, particularly environmentalism. Many products are begin to tailored to suit young consumers as this group is representing a new generation of consumers with a strong potential impact on the type of goods and services offered in the market (Tan & Lau, 2009). It is undeniable that young consumers play a relatively important consumers segment in the market as many researchers have been studying the behaviour and consumption patterns of this group which are the future marketing planners, policy makers and the new educators of the new economy.

Therefore, the research is striving to find out how young consumers in Malaysia aware of green marketing? Does green marketing effectively changes the adaptation of green purchases among young consumers?


The objectives of this study are as following:

To review the concept of green marketing in consumer market.

To analyse the environmental awareness, attitude and knowledge of young consumers in Malaysia.

To evaluate the way that young consumers aware of green marketing.


What is the concept of green marketing in consumer market?

What are the extent of environmental awareness, attitude and knowledge of young consumers in Malaysia?

How the young consumers aware of green marketing?


The study aims to contribute the understanding of how young consumers perceived about green marketing in Malaysia. The research will examined the level of awareness of young consumers towards green marketing whether it will leads to positive environmental knowledge and attitude in making purchases. At the end of research, it is believed to provide some insights to green marketers regarding how they can expand their operation in Asia especially in Malaysia (Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid 2011).


Green marketing

Green marketing is defined as holistic marketing concepts where in the production, marketing consumption and disposal of products and services happen in a manner that is less detrimental to environment with growing awareness about the implications of global warming, non-biodegradable solid waste, harmful impact of pollutants etc (Tariq Ahmad, 2010). Kotler & Armstrong (2008) defined it as an organized movement of concerned citizens and government to protect and enhance people’s living environment. The concept is starting to popularize in many countries and companies as a cognitive persuasion strategies to involve environmental costs into the consumers’ decision process (Suplico, Luz T, 2009) especially in their purchases of goods and services. Marketers always coined the term ecological marketing, green marketing, environmental marketing, eco-marketing and sustainable marketing (Coddington, 1993, Fuller, 1998 and Ottman, 1998) as a label of the “greenness” of their product and services.

Despite many agree with the powerful function of green marketing, green products is still remained as niche goods attributed to marketers’ selling strategy which only to committed ethical consumers without the aid of mainstream marketing techniques (Josephine Pickett-Baker and Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008). Thus, many companies has started to include green concept in advertising as a way to connect consumers with their “environmental friendly” product and services.

Green advertising

Green advertising is known as environmental advertising which include popular terms such as recyclable, environmentally friendly, ozone safe and biodegradable (Clare D’Souza & Mehdi Taghian, 2005). Consumers’ response towards green advertising may turn out to be effective when the products meet their needs and aligns with their values (e.g saving money on fuel and increasing children’s safety) (Josephine Pickett-Baker & Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008). Some consumers response negatively towards the messages in green advertising due to the credibility of green advertising is relatively low (Kilbourne, 1995) which is insufficient for attitudes change towards the advertisement leads to changes in brand attitudes (Gorn 1982; Lutz, Mac Kenzie and Belch, 1983; Mitchell and Olson, 1981). However, the study of Davis (1993) revealed that consumer’s weak response to environmental advertising is not the consequence of consumer’s unwillingness to take action and change their behaviour to purchase green products; rather consumers are unwilling to change their purchase behaviour given the manner in which green products have been promoted and advertised (Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid, 2011). However, many authors believe advertising works well when it tries to appeal to those values that drive consumer decision processes (Josephine Pickett-Baker, Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008) Hawkins et al. (1998) explain how the emotional content in advertisements increases attention, a critical step in the perception process. Emotional messages may be processed more thoroughly and remembered better as a result of increased alertness. It is reasonable to assume that advertising green products using emotional content would be more successful (Josephine Pickett-Baker & Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008). Mendleson (1994) even commented that marketers should emphasize the ecological knowledge in their organizations, their products and their advertising in order to achieve the goal of changing the consumer purchasing behaviour (Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid, 2011)

Young consumers

Generation Y is the prevalent group of young consumers born between the years of 1980-1994 (Halstead, K, 2006 cited in Tee, 2007) which has greater purchasing power than any prior generation and it will heavily influence markets in the near future (Martin and Turley). Gen Y learns to shop at young age will eventually shape their shopping behaviour as adults (Ward, as cited in Halstead K, 2006). Therefore, it came as no surprise that many marketing and promotional efforts are targeted at this group of growing young consumers (Tan & Lau, 2009) from consumer acceptance of unethical consumptions). Pratt et al. (1983) in their study found that young consumers often differ from elderly consumers in terms of their moral thinking (Tan & Lau, 2009). This group of people are more open minded and strongly influence what happens in their homes (Josephine Pickett-Baker and Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008)

Young consumer’s purchase decision

According to Kotler and Armstrong, consumer purchase decision involves three major components: inputs, process and output (). The input consists of both internal and external influences. The output component involves the purchase behaviour and the post-purchase evaluation. The process component involves the psychological field such as motivation, perception, learning, personality and attitudes (Kotler & Armstrong, 2008 cited in Luz T. Suplico, 2009). The study followed the proposed model of consumer decision-making process used in Luz T. Suplico (2009) that involves inputs, process and the output. Inputs will include environmental attitude, knowledge and the extent of awareness to green marketing (Peter & Olson, 2009 cited in Luz T. Suplico, 2009). The expected output is the whether the consumers choose to purchase the product.

Green consumption

Green consumption defined as contradicted as consumer concerns about the environment do not necessarily behave in a green way in general, or in their purchasing (Josephine Pickett-Baker & Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008). Green consumption began when consumers’ purchase behaviour is influenced by environmental concerns (Shrum, McCarty & Lowrey, 1995 cited in Clare D’Souza & Mehdi Taghian, 2005). Study found that people who are environmentally conscious do not necessarily behave pro-environmentally: for example, people might throw rubbish away when most people around them do so (reactive process, as opposed to intentional decision making (Ohtomo and Hirose, 2007 cited in Josephine Pickett-Baker & Ritsuko Ozaki, 2008). In most cases, consumer will experience an improvement of environmental quality only when major sectors of the global population pursue generalized green consumer behaviour. Thus, the perceived individual customer benefit might not be a sufficiently powerful motivation to green purchasing (Belz and Dyllik, 1996 cited in Patrick Hartmann, Vanessa Apaolaza Ibáñez, 2006).

Environmental Awareness

Environmental awareness and behaviours were found to be influenced by values, attitudes and knowledge (Haron et al, 2005). German scholars of Pakistan have added that the buyers’ level of awareness will affect attitude to environmental protection, the attitude of the environmental protection will affect the attitude of his green lifestyle, people with positive attitude of green lifestyle will involved in the purchase of green product and consumption activities (Juan Zhang, 2010, p.178). Unfortunately, in the case of Malaysia, the environmental awareness is still very low from the view of the importance of separating household solid waste and involvement in recycling programmes (Haron, S.A., Palm, L. & Yahaya, N., 2005, p.428).

Environmental Attitude

Attitudes are the most consistent explanatory factor in predicting consumers’ willingness to pay for green products (Chyong et al., 2006 cited in Tan, & Lau, 2010, p.30). Consumers’ product purchasing decisions are often based on their environmental attitudes (Irland, 1993; Schwepker and Cornwell, 1991 cited in Tan & Lau, 2010). Environmental attitude is defined as the individuals’ value judgement of environmental protection which taps the individuals’ cognitive assessment of the value of the environmental protection (Lee, 2008 cited in Nabsiah Abdul Wahid et al, 2011). However, the demand and attitudes for green products is likely to be uneven across different market segments and cultures (Ottman & Peattie, 1992 cited in Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid 2011) which need to be closely study.

Environmental Knowledge

In numerous studies, knowledge is an important factor in consumers’ decision-making process. Cohen (1973) commented that green marketing activities had play an important influence on increasing consumer knowledge and in shifting consumer into purchasing green products (Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid, 2011). Findings of Gendall et al reveals that men tended to have more knowledge than women; younger people tended to be more knowledgeable than older people; and the higher the level of education, the higher the level of knowledge (Haron, S.A., Palm, L. & Yahaya, N. 2005, p.428). However, they concluded that generally the overall level of knowledge of Malaysian teenagers is low, especially among those studying in the arts stream compared with those studying in the sciences stream. (Haron, S.A., Palm, L., & Yahaya, N., 2005, p.428). Bradley et al. (1999) commented that environmental education is able to create environmental awareness and promote environmentally responsible behaviour (cited in Tan, & Lau, 2009). Malaysian government has been promoting sustainable consumption practices among the public in various strategies. Social advertising is one of the approaches of Malaysian government to educate and foster environmental concern among the public (Haron et al., 2005).


Referencing from the existing literature, it is thus hypothesized that:

HI: Green marketing has a positive





Independent Variable

Dependent Variable

Impact of Green Marketing on Purchase Behaviour of Young Consumers in Malaysia

Environmental Awareness

Environmental Attitude

Environmental Knowledge


For the purpose of this study, descriptive research will be undertaken using quantitative methodology to examine the impact of green marketing on young consumers purchase decision, environmental awareness, attitude and knowledge.


Target Population

The target population for this study will be the under graduate, graduate and postgraduate students age ranging 18 to 25 years old. The reason of choosing individuals above this age is because they are familiar with purchasing of products and are also empowered in their decisions for choosing the right items between many available choices, therefore, considerate to environmental issues in their purchasing behaviour (Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid, 2011).

Sampling Technique

In this study, cluster sampling is deployed as it is a type of probability sampling where a random of subgroups is selected and all members of the subgroups become part of the sample (David A. Aaker, V. Kumar, George S Day, Robert P. Leone, 2010). By using probability sampling technique, the research findings can be generalized to the target population with a specified level of confidence (Hair et al., 2007).

The advantage of cluster sampling is able to enhance sampling efficiency improved by decreasing cost at a faster rate than accuracy. The limitation of cluster sampling is resulted in relatively imprecise samples, and it is difficult to form heterogeneous cluster because, for example, household in a block tend to be similar rather than dissimilar (David A. Aaker, V. Kumar, George S Day, Robert P. Leone, 2010).

Sampling location

The questionnaire survey will be conducted in four private colleges or universities in Klang Valley in order to enhance the results of the findings.

Sampling size

The sampling size involved in this study will be 400 participants either in private colleges or universities in Klang Valley.


The data collections of this study consist of primary data and secondary data. Primary data will be collected through the distribution of questionnaires. James P. Neelankavil (2007) stated that secondary data collection is an important step in the research process because it is the key to accomplishing low cost research programme. The secondary data is retrieved from different websites, newspaper, magazines, journal articles database such as Emerald insight and Anglia Ruskin e-library which is both permanent and available in a form that may be checked relatively easily by other (Denscombe, 1998 cited in Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A., 2007). However, the secondary data might fails to provide the information that appropriate to answer the research questions or research objectives will result in invalid answers (Kelvin, 1999 cited Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A., 2007)

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According to Zikmund, et al (2010) the questionnaire has to be pretested to ensure the respondents understand the intended meaning of the questions as well as checking the problems attached in the wording and measurement. Thus, pilot study will be conducted by circulating 200 questionnaires among universities or colleges which the result is important to check the reliability and suitability the instrument.


The questionnaire will be divided into four sections. The first section will include demographic information which adapted from the study of Fong (2006) on environmental orientation of consumers in Malaysia (Nabsiah Abdul Wahid et al., 2011). The second section include the

The third section of the questionnaire measuring on the respondents’ environmental attitude, the respondents’ environmental awareness and respondents’ green purchasing behaviour based on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree) and (1 = never, 5 = always) is used in the study of Nik Abdul Rashid and Elham Rahbar and Nabisha Abdul Wahid.


For this research, the data will be processed using statistical techniques which include factor analysis, descriptive analysis, and multiple regression analysis.

Factor Analysis

Factor analysis which is one type of multivariate analysis is used to define the underlying structure called factors among the variables in the analysis (Hair et al., 2007). Factor analysis will performed using the all the variables in this study to test whether the concept is correctly theorized.

Descriptive Analysis

Descriptive analysis involved summarizing and transforming the data into an understandable and interpretable mode (Zikmund et al., 2010). Descriptive analysis will be utilized in most parts of the analysis using mean and standard deviation of variables to help researchers understand the respondent’s perception of variables and other detailed analysis that were performed (Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid, 2011).

Multiple Regression Analysis

Multiple regression analysis will be performed to analyze the relationship between a dependent variable and independent variables and addressed hypothesis (Coakes and Steed, 2001; Hair et al., 1998 cited in Elham Rahbar and Nabsiah Abdul Wahid, 2011). The control variables to be analyse included age and educational level of respondents’ whom constantly influenced by environmental knowledge (Haron et al, 2005).


There are few limitations in this study. Firstly, the main limitation is the study will opened for colleges or universities students in Klang Valley only. Therefore, the result may not be appropriate to generalize finding to all young consumers in Malaysia.



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