The Power of Consumers’ Sustainable Product Purchasing: An Abstract

Barbara Seegebarth*, Stefanie Sohn, Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Socially and environmentally responsible business practices also aim to encourage sustainable consumer behavior (Kotler 2011; Olsen et al. 2014). However, it remains unclear to what extent purchasing of sustainable products as a form of sustainable consumer behavior indeed impacts the consumers’ sustainable mindset. Although existing research provides comprehensive insights into both the determinants of sustainable consumer behavior (White et al. 2019) and the effects of sustainable business strategies (e.g., Olsen et al. 2014), extant research largely fails to study the consequences of consumer behavior (Pham 2015). In particular, knowledge is scarce on how sustainable consumer behavior and more specifically the purchasing of sustainable food affect the individual and more specifically the self-identity as a sustainable consumer. In other words, on the backdrop of the embodied cognition theory (Krueger 2013; Shapiro 2011), which states that bodily engagement (i.e., action) shapes both, the character and the content of consciousness, this article sheds light on how sustainable consumer behavior (i.e., organic and fair-trade food purchases) affects consumers’ consciousness for sustainable consumption (CSC). The findings of actual purchase data of both organic and fair-trade food products of 3,358 German households reveal that organic food purchases exert a positive effect on consumers’ CSC while the fair-trade purchases do not. However, fair-trade purchases promote CSC with an increasing age. More specifically, seniors compare to young and middle-aged consumer consider fair-trade purchases to define their CSC. In addition, the positive relationship between organic food purchase and environmental CSC is significantly stronger for young than for middle-aged purchasers. This work has significant implications for practitioners on how to improve consumers’ CSC. Marketers on the one hand should therefore continue to promote and facilitate sustainable purchases (i.e., organic and fair-trade food purchases). Promoting this behavior should be realized in a targeted way. For instance, marketers should put further emphasis on the fair-trade food promotion for senior customers in order to activate CSC and therefore stimulating and amplifying the “foot in the door” strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Micro to Macro: Dealing with Uncertainties in the Global Marketplace : Proceedings of the 2020 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference
EditorsFelipe Pantoja, Shuang Wu
Publication date5. Apr 2022
ISBN (Print)9783030898823, 9783030898854
ISBN (Electronic)9783030898830
Publication statusPublished - 5. Apr 2022
Event44th conference annual Academy of Marketing Science -
Duration: 20. May 202022. May 2020


Conference44th conference annual Academy of Marketing Science
SeriesDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Consciousness
  • Embodied cognition theory
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable food purchases


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