When is Sustainability a Liability, and When Is It an Asset? Quality Inferences for Core and Peripheral Attributes
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Sustainable products ofered in today’s marketplace are labelled with product-related green attributes (i.e. green core attributes) or non-product-related green attributes (i.e. green peripheral attributes). The current research investigates consumers’ inferences about a product’s functional quality when its core attributes are green (e.g. the ingredients) and when its peripheral attributes are green (e.g. the product packaging). Four experimental studies and an internal meta-analysis show that there is a sustainability liability efect in strength-dependent categories (for both core and peripheral attributes), and a sustainability asset efect in gentleness-dependent categories (for core attributes only). Our research contributes to the current understanding of how consumers make inferences about product quality when contemplating diferent types of green attributes. The fndings have implications for how strength-dependent and gentleness-dependent products should be labelled as green.