Essays on the Economics of Environmental and Sustainability Labelling

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Julkaisun nimi: Essays on the Economics of Environmental and Sustainability Labelling
Tekijä: Schollenberg, Linda
Muu tekijä: Svenska handelshögskolan
Hanken School of Economics
Kuuluu julkaisusarjaan: Economics and Society – 251
ISSN: L 0424-7256
ISBN: 978-952-232-185-5
Tiivistelmä: Environmental protection, sustainability, and the combat against climate change are central topics for today’s societies. For reaching policy targets in any of these areas, it will be crucial to achieve far-ranging behaviour change in many respects. Given that a substantial part of environmental problems can be traced back to consumption patterns, involving citizens and impacting on consumer behaviour are of major importance. There is a growing need to design policy programmes which have the potential to succeed in setting the right incentives. Environmental and sustainability labelling is one of the policy instruments increasingly employed to meet this objective. However, to date the market shares of products with environmental or sustainability labels remain low and stated positive consumer attitudes towards labelled products do not consistently translate into buying behaviour. So what are the main obstacles preventing efficient labelling and the factors impacting negatively on the demand side? Contributing to answering this central question is one of the main objectives of this thesis. It consists of three self-contained essays which study various aspects of the potential impact of labelling on the market for food products with a sustainability or ethical background. The first paper takes up the topic of the pricing of labelled products and applies a hedonic pricing framework to the case of Fair Trade labelled coffee in Sweden. The second paper is concerned with the attitude-behaviour gap with regard to purchasing organic food and focuses on various determinants of demand for products with an organic label. The third paper focuses on the analysis of consumer choice in the presence of the growing multitude of environmental and ethical labels used for marking products with a respective background. The results obtained in this thesis present highly relevant empirical results and are of interest to policymakers and scholars alike as they do not only focus on policy advice but also stimulate the academic debate. Its analysis of the impact the existing multiplicity of labels has on consumers contributes to a research front which has not received appropriate levels of attention yet. Findings point to a need to modify the current set-up in the field of environmental, sustainability, and ethical labelling. Focusing on consumers’ needs in trying to make labelling schemes work efficiently and lowering consumer evaluation costs as much as possible should be given high priority in the design of policy measures. Public sector involvement will continue to be of key importance.
Päiväys: 2013-03-19
Avainsanat: labelling
consumer behaviour
organic food
fair trade
ethical consumption
consumer demand
attitude-behaviour gap
multiplicity of labels
evaluation costs
hedonic pricing
generalized ordered logit


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