Pro-Environmental Consumer Behavior: A Critical Review of Literature

  •  Owino Odhiambo Joseph    


The damage to the environment caused by commercial activities and consumption behaviours has become a reason for concern in recent times. Sustainable consumption and drivers behind it was the main objective of the study. The study is a critical review of literature on pro-environmental behaviours with focus on theory, behavioural drivers and inhibitors. The review covered conceptual and empirical papers selected from peer reviewed articles with high citation index. Behaviour change theories including theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behaviour, norm activation theory and goal framing theory were reviewed. In light of theory, attitude, behavioural intention and perceived consequences are the major variables that cause pro-environmental behaviour. Nevertheless, norm activation theory fails to explain behaviour where people are in denial of responsibility for the consequences of their consumption. The study established that pro-environmental behaviour is caused by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include environmental awareness and knowledge, attitude, consumer age, education, and concern for the environment. Extrinsic factors including income, social network and culture bridge the gap between attitude and pro-environmental behaviour. Perceived high price and lack of trust for green products were the major barriers to sustainable consumption behaviours. The study concludes that interaction between consumer attitude and favourable contextual factors lead to pro-environmental behaviours.

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