Me, Myself, and Future Generations: The Role of Affinity and Effectiveness in the Creation of Consumer Environmental Stewardship (CENS)

Niek Hensen*, Debbie I. Keeling, Ko de Ruyter, Martin Wetzels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Policymakers, consumer advocate groups, and researchers agree that consumers need to increase their proenvironmental behaviors if a decent standard of living is to be ensured for future generations. Despite high levels of environmental concern, consumers still refrain from large-scale adoption of proenvironmental behaviors. Social marketers agree that a change in attitudes is not enough to stimulate the necessary behavioral change and are looking for ways to help consumers overcome the costs (e.g., price premiums, inconvenience) that are often associated with proenvironmental behaviors. Currently, consumers often see proenvironmental behavior as a trade-off between short-term personal benefits and longer term collective benefits. The authors contribute to the social marketing literature on proenvironmental behavior by introducing the concept of consumer environmental stewardship (cens), which centers on the use of intrinsic motivation to stimulate a personal sense of responsibility for the environment. The findings, based on a survey and three experiments, show that the stimulation of consumers’ affinity with future generations (afgs) and perceived consumer effectiveness (pce) can help to promote cens, which in turn raises proenvironmental behaviors. However, this research also shows that increasing levels of afgs can backfire and result in lower levels of cens, if consumers experience low levels of pce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-406
JournalPsychology & Marketing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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