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Will Consumers Continue to Buy Greener Products If/When the Economy Turns Down?

This is an important question with respect to sustainability (Chapter 3) consumer behavior (Chapter 5). With growing concern around climate change, a survey from summer 2022 found that 66% of US consumers and 80% of young adults (18-34) reported they are willing to pay higher prices for more sustainable products. Will behavior follow attitudes as the economy tightens?

A recent Wall Street Journal article “Opportunity Beckons as Inflation, Cost Concerns Hit Green Purchases,” reports that the “% of people purchasing a sustainable good/service in the past four weeks” fell in 18 of 20 countries between September 2021 and March 2022. The obvious implication is that the economy is (at least somewhat) dampening enthusiasm to buy green. That said, the article also highlights reasons beyond cost—including convenience, didn’t occur to the respondent, or just a belief that their buyig “won’t make a difference.”

Given how much young people—who make up most of our student body—care about sustainability, this data and these issues might be worth discussing in class.

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