The View From Taft

THE recent monsoon rains that we have experienced easily resulted in severe flooding across Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces. Classes were suspended, business operations were interrupted, and the traffic situation was aggravated. While this may be “normal” for us during rainy season, the recent flooding was different as it did not require heavy rains to flood the streets.
One cause of the recent floods is the proliferation of plastic waste that clogs the city’s drainage system. While government is trying to remedy this perennial problem, it seems that these programs are ineffective.
We have witnessed rapid environmental degradation in the past years. According to Chen & Chai (2010), some of the causes are overconsumption and overuse of natural resources due to increased worldwide consumer demand. As a result, climate change and environmental problems, environmental protection, and sustainable development have become relevant issues in business and consumerism. Today, businesses and consumers confront their biggest challenge: to protect and to preserve the earth’s resources and the environment. This challenge has made “greening” an important issue for managers, marketers, and consumers.
People engage in environmental behavior to satisfy their desire to solve environmental problems, to become role models, and to feel they are helping to preserve the environment. According to Ishaswini and Datta (2011), the rising number of consumers who prefer and are willing to engage in environmental or green consumption is creating opportunities for businesses that use “green” as a component of their value propositions.
According to McEachern and McClean (2002), green consumerism includes environment preservation, curtailment of pollution, responsible use of non-renewable resources, and the welfare and preservation of animal species. Shamdasani et al. (1993) define environment-friendly or green products as those that can be recycled and processed, and do not pollute the earth or depreciate natural resources. A few examples of green products are energy-efficient light bulbs and products made of recycled or biodegradable materials.
In a local study I conducted this year, I compared the green purchase intentions of generation X, born between 1961 and 1981, and generation Y, born between 1982 and 2004 (Strauss, 2000). This study contributes to the debate about which generation has higher regard for protecting the environment. Among the variables tested were attitude toward green consumption; the subjective norm or the regard for green consumption among the groups who are important to us such as family and friends; perceived behavioral control or the resources that enable us to consume green products such as buying power and availability of green products in stores; and intention to buy green products. My findings revealed that both generations have similar levels of attitude toward green consumption and intention to purchase green products.
Interestingly, generation X registered a higher subjective norm than generation Y did. This implies that generation X faces more pressure from friends and relatives to buy green products. The results run contrary to global studies that revealed that generation Y has a higher subjective norm. This difference could be attributed to the changing orientation of younger Filipinos, who experience a strong force to uphold uniqueness and individualism.
The practical implication of these findings would be for businesses to adopt strategies to persuade generation Y, now the dominant consumers in the market, to support green initiatives. A unique selling approach integrating individualism and green consumption might drive this group to become more involved in the green revolution.
Hopefully, once generation Y becomes green consumers, their “greening” will have ripple effects on their general behavior and ultimately contribute to the protection of the environment. n
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of De La Salle University and its faculty and administrators.
Reynaldo A. Bautista, Jr. is an associate professor at the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He teaches Marketing Research, Methods of Research, and General Marketing.