Bridging the Values Divide: Communicating and Activating Diverse Values to Stimulate Pro-Environmental Intentions

Bullock, Graham
Johnson, Chris
Southwell, Brian
Conference Session: 
Session D
Conference Panel: 
28: Representing green lifestyles/encouraging pro-environmental behaviours: opportunities and challenges
Type of Presentation: 
Scholarly papers
Presentation Format: 
Live presentation
Academic research and marketing practices point towards distinctly different strategies for increasing adoption of “environmentally-friendly” products. Scholars have consistently shown that consumers with strong biospheric and altruistic beliefs are the most likely to purchase these products, while marketers are increasingly appealing to consumers’ self-interest in their efforts to sell their “green” products. This paper explores this divide, and offers a potential explanation for it using the concept of value activation. It then presents results of a survey experiment that tests this theory in the context of organic food advertisements. Participants were exposed to different advertisements that were designed to activate six of the human values identified in Schwartz’s value framework. The study’s results indicate advertisements that focus on activating conservation-related values – i.e. those related to protecting the health of oneself and one’s family – are most likely to increase organic purchases, followed by advertisements designed to activate values associated with self-enhancement and altruistic self-transcendence.