January 30, 2019

The concept of ‘Green Consumerism’ has emerged with the notion of sustainable lifestyle. Consumers are now much conscious about the environmental issues like climate change, extreme weather patterns etc. So, they are now demanding something which can ensure that their living pattern doesn’t hamper the concept of sustainability. But the irony is that, the concept ‘green consumerism’ itself is fading somewhere in the maze of ‘consumerism’.


Consumerism is something that is always devoted to promote and protect consumer interests. On the other hand, Green Consumerism works with the notion to give up something, be it personal interests or choices, for the betterment of the environment. That is where these two concepts contradict with each other. In the current world where the marketers are always up for meeting the interests of the consumers, somehow they can’t take the issue of green consumerism seriously.


Our society is majorly dictated by economic growth, consumerism and convenience. So, creating a balance between the expectations of consumer behavior and businesses’ profit motives is a great challenge. The tendency of shopping makes the consumers feel good enough to ignore the ethical buying behavior. Because, it’s pretty hard to do a good deal ignoring the prevailing concept of consumerism. Once the consumers invest their time, energy and money to pursue something, it becomes really hard to let go of that item they’ve grown attached during the quest.

The concept that plays with the pleasure areas of consumers’ buying pattern is – ‘Fast Fashion’. It is something that not only gives customers the chance to have something they like, but also giving the opportunity to bargain.

A study conducted by University of Michigan found that the price of an item or how much a person liked it didn’t alone explain the amount of pleasure the person experienced during shopping. It was all about how much the person liked it and how much they are paying for it.

We tend not to feel the urge to change our purchase pattern because the risk of remaining unchanged is minimal. If something is widely accepted by the society, people don’t have the pressure to change if our peers do not change. This points out that, majority of the people will not be able to change unless most of the people pay a premium for sustainable and ethically sourced products.


Millennials, who are regularly driving the sustainable movement with their lifestyle and behavioral changes, are considered to be the ones for initiating a change. They are often called as the ‘Green Generation’. Many brands have started to witness the appeal and opportunity that lie in the green generation and are introducing newer ranges of ‘green’ products accordingly. A long-term change is most likely to take place as the millennials are becoming conscious and Generation Z is on their trail to bring about a great change in their beliefs and values.


A shift of mindset

Most of the time we tend not to swap our favorite products for a ‘greener’ version. It’s because of basically keeping the same standard of consumption. Taking for instance, a person buying coffee from the same shop every morning can decide to go for organic coffee from a different shop. One may think that this change of buying pattern will not make a huge change as both the coffee and the to-go cups still eat up a huge amount of resources and create a lot of trash. However, constantly spending for greener version of a product can make people build the notion of sustainability.

Marketers need to be fast movers

Markets don’t wait for slow movers. Businesses that will innovate something for green consumption and respond quickly to consumer demands will survive the best. And here, everyone has a part to play, at various levels of administration, manufacture and use.

Reducing the impact to a minimum

A consumer needs to realize that everything went into the production of a ‘green’ product, will result in everything that will happen in the future because of that product. All products have environmental impacts; however, the products which are green, will have comparatively lesser impact. The idea is to reduce the effect to the minimum level, that’s all.

Introducing collaborative consumption pattern

By introducing collaborative consumption, which is essentially a form of sharing, we can be one step ahead for green consumerism. For example, appliances like printers, coffee makers and blenders can be shared in a neighborhood. People can cut down on unnecessary consumption, costs and environmental damage by borrowing and lending products.

The environment needs to be at the top of every person’s concern. Over the coming year, the tendency of green consumption will be expanded into newer product categories, and brands need to start seeing this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance to their business. By realizing the true potential of the green market, businesses must help consumers change their behaviors. That requires removing the hurdles between would-be green consumers’ intentions and actions.


By Fariha Binte Anwar

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