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Segmenting the Market for Environmentally Certified Wood Products

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Abstract:

A study was conducted to segment consumers in terms of their attitudes toward environmentally certified wood products. Factor analysis reduced seven variables of environmental certification to two distinct factors. Cluster analysis, performed on the seven variables of forest and wood products certification, suggested the existence of six relatively homogeneous groupings or segments of consumers. Multiple discriminant analysis provided a method for profiling these six consumer segments in terms of demographic, attitudinal, and trust (respondent's trust in potential certifying organizations) variables. This paper identifies one consumer segment of approximately 25 million Americans who would most likely seek out environmentally certified wood products. Relative to our other study respondents, they can be described as politically liberal, Democrats, female, members of an environmental organization, fairly well educated, concerned about the quality of the environment and forest resources, and having high self-rated environmental knowledge. In addition, these respondents would place the most trust in the certification claims made by an environmental organization. Conversely, a consumer segment of nearly 10 million Americans appears highly skeptical of certification programs, in general. Consistent with previous literature, our demographic variables were less effective in discriminating among groupings of consumers than attitudinal and trust variables. Implications of segmentation strategies are discussed for both industrial managers and forest policymakers. For. Sci. 44(3):379-389.

Keywords: Environmental certification; green marketing; market segmentation

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, The Pennsylvania State University, P.O. Box 84, Canterbury, New Zealand, Phone: 64-3-325-2811 (ext. 8062)

Publication date: August 1, 1998

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