Turning Off the Lights: Consumers' Environmental Efforts Depend on Visible Efforts of Firms

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Wang, Wenbo, Aradhna Krishna, and Brent McFerran (2017). "Turning Off the Lights: Consumers' Environmental Efforts Depend on Visible Efforts of Firms". Journal of Marketing Research, 54 (3, June), 478-494. DOI: 10.1509/jmr.14.0441

Date created: 
Green marketing
Corporate social responsibility
Price image

Firms can save considerable money if consumers conserve resources (e.g., if hotel patrons turn off the lights when leaving the room, restaurants patrons use fewer paper napkins, or airline passengers clean up after themselves). In two studies conducted in real-world hotels, the authors show that consumers’ conservation behavior is affected by the extent to which consumers perceive the firm as being green. Furthermore, consumer perceptions of firms’ greenness and consumer conservation behavior depend on (a) whether the firm requests them to conserve resources, (b) the firm’s own commitment to the environment, and (c) the firm’s price image. Additionally, firm requests to consumers to save resources can create consumer reactance and can backfire when firms themselves do not engage in visible costly environmental efforts. Such reactance is more likely for firms with a high price image. Finally, the authors show that by spending a little money to signal environmental commitment, firms can save even more money through consumers’ conservation of resources, resulting in wins for the firm, the consumer, and the environment.


The fulltext of this paper will be available in June 2018 due to the embargo policies of the journal, Journal of Marketing Research. Contact summit@sfu.ca to enquire if the fulltext of the accepted manuscript can be made available to you.

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Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)