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Social normalisation and consumer behaviour: using marketing to make green normal

Kingston Business School, Kingston University
  • Business And Management Studies


socialnormalisation 1 Social normalisation and consumer behaviour: using marketing to make green normal Ruth Rettie, Chris Barnham and Kevin Burchell December 2011 ISBN: 9781872058795 Kingston Business School Kingston University Working Paper No. 8 2 Abstract In this paper we introduce a potentially valuable approach to green marketing: repositioning activities as normal, or not normal, to encourage the adoption of more sustainable consumer practices. Initially, we draw attention to the challenges facing green marketing, as well as the behavioural models on which it is often based. Then, drawing on focus group research, we demonstrate that consumer attitudes towards, and adoption of, green behaviours are often expressed in relation their understandings of what is normal. Further, we show that consumer understandings of what is normal changes over time. To frame the findings, we use the concept of social normalisation; a temporal process in which activities that were once marginal and unusual become normal and everyday, and we argue that green marketing can contribute to processes of social normalisation by making green normal. Keywords Green marketing; conformity; social normalisation; practice theory; social norm approach 3 CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION 4 2. GREEN MARKETING 5 3. METHODOLOGY 7 4. DISCUSSION 13 REFERENCES 15 AUTHOR CONTACT DETAILS AND BIOGRAPHIES 18 4 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION The 2008 Climate Change Act committed the UK to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. The UK government expects consumer behaviour change to play a major role in achieving this reduction (UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, 2009). Although marketing ha

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