Association of Marketing Theory and Practice, Association of Marketing Theory and Practice 2012

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Black, White or Green: The Powerful Influence of Ethnicity on Pro-environmental Attitudes and Behaviors.
Andrew Ellis, Felipe Korzenny

Building: Marriot Resort and Spa
Room: Atlantic 1
Date: 03-29-2012 - 09:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Last modified: 02-10-2012


While the recent environmental movement has enjoyed much success in generating pro-environmental attitudes in the public, it has not found similar success when it comes to generating pro-environmental behaviors. This phenomenon is supported by ample research suggesting that attitudes are not effective predictors of behaviors, especially in the case of environmental issues. This research examines the attitude-behavior relationship through a cultural lens by comparing the pro-environmental dispositions and behaviors of five key ethnic groups. Specifically, the study tested 2,500 subjects for cultural identification, agreement with the New Ecological Paradigm, and self-reported environmental behaviors. The research found significant differences between the ethnic groups on attitude-behavior correlations and environmental dispositions. These findings indicate that ethnicity is not only a strong predictor of environmental disposition, but also of the likelihood a person will convert pro-environmental attitudes into pro-environmental behaviors.

Through this better understanding of culture’s unique influence on pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors, social marketers charged with advancing the “green” platform can better match campaign messaging with the specific challenges of each ethnic market.

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