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Reconciling the duplicity of consumer attitudes to carbon footprints

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There is little research evidence of carbon footprints becoming a decisive factor when making product purchase decisions. Consumer attitudes towards disposal methods of returned items as a predictor of their intention to continue patronising the products was used as a proxy to assess the influence of carbon footprints in consumer purchase preferences. There is evidence in this study that consumers accept the reconstitution of returned appliances and clothing items, but they themselves are not prepared to repurchase from mainline stores those brands that are known to be selling as reconstituted items in alternative stores or charity shops. Notwithstanding manufacturers' attempts to build brand equity with smaller carbon footprints by responsible disposal of returned items, it may be prudent for producers not to publicise the availability of their reconstituted brands in alternative/charity stores, because prime consumers might be inhibited from patronising the pristine brands in mainstream stores. Reconciling the double-mindedness of consumer attitudes towards smaller carbon footprints may foreshadow major changes to the way products are positioned in future.

Keywords: brand image; carbon footprint; reconstituted; returned goods; salvaged

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Applied Economics, Victoria University, Australia

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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