Paying for sustainability: A cross-cultural analysis of consumers’ valuations of food and non-food products labeled for carbon and water footprints

Carola Grebitus, Bodo Steiner, Michele M. Veeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing environmental concerns of consumers and global supply chains center on the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and water usage. This study analyzes consumers’ preferences for sustainable products as indicated by water and carbon footprint labels, enabling a rare cross-cultural comparison. We conduct discrete choice experiments in Canada and Germany to identify possible cross-cultural effects. Four products were considered contrasting food and non-food staple products, plant-based and animal-based foods, and processed and unprocessed food items. Results from mixed logit models suggest that each national group of consumers is – irrespective of their cultural background – highly heterogeneous in the discounts required for them to purchase products with larger carbon footprints. The non-food product is discounted most with regard to water usage, followed by the plant product, suggesting that consumers make major category distinctions in their evaluations. German consumers are found to have stronger preferences overall for products with lower footprints than Canadian consumers. The nature of the significant differences in results across product categories and countries could aid industry and policy stakeholders in designing targeted footprint labeling initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Keywords

  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Ground beef
  • Potatoes
  • Toilet paper
  • Yoghurt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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