The role of values and information in ethical consumption

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Leizerovici, Gail
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University of Guelph

This thesis looks to investigate how individual characteristics such as personal values, as well as the provision of social product information, influence preference for social and ethical product features. The inclusion of an information construct as well as a comparison of three elicitation methods serve to attend to what is termed the "Attitude-Behaviour Gap" in social and ethical consumption literature. Using the Schwartz Portrait Values Questionnaire (SPVQ) and presenting either only functional or both functional and social body soap information, individual consumer preferences for four ethical body soap features are measured. Three different elicitation methods serve the purpose of capturing the preferences for these features, specifically, a Likert rating scale, Discrete Choice Experiment, and Best-Worst Scaling are used to increase validity of the findings. The four ethical features under investigation are: animal testing, animal by-product, plastic use (in packaging), and biodegradability. Results lend support to one of the value dimensions in the SVPQ as well as to the influence of social feature information on preferences for ethical and social product features.

individual characteristics, personal values, social product information, preference, social product features, ethical product feature, ethical consumption