A happy and healthy 2019! Making sustainable choices

At the start of 2019 I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2019!

Whatever in life we are planning to do to be happy and healthy, we have different options to choose when we are buying a product or a service. Do we always choose the most sustainable option?

The short answer is no. Shim et al. (2018) show there can be many hurdles in our decision making proces that prevent us from choosing eco-friendly or sustainable products and services (see graph).

Sometimes we are still not aware of sustainability issues. Especially when it concerns commodity products with low price and a short purchase cycle. For example in the case of detergents.

In other cases we have not enough knowledge to make a proper judgement or we have different preferences based on our feelings and emotions (Songa et al., 2019).

Shim et al. (2018) show that sustainability is a key driver in the decision making process when it concerns products or services that have a high level of involvement, a high price and/or a long purchase cycle. For example in the case of electric vehicles. The positive attitude of the potential customer does not automatically lead to a buying decision often caused by a so called “attitude-behavior gap”. In such a case customers need to be convinced that there are benefits in terms of monetary value and that it is easy to use or as comfortable as other competing products that are less sustainable.

So whatever in 2019 we are planning to do, to be happy and healthy, we can at least think about the sustainability issues when we buy a product or a service whatever the price level, the length of the purchase cyle, our involvement or emotions.

Perhaps we then realise what we really want and choose the most sustainable solution.

Have a great 2019!

Norbert Bol


Shim, D., Shin, J., & Kwak, S. Y. (2018). Modelling the consumer decision‐making process to identify key drivers and bottlenecks in the adoption of environmentally friendly products. Business Strategy and the Environment.

Songa, G., Slabbinck, H., Vermeir, I., & Russo, V. (2019). How do implicit/explicit attitudes and emotional reactions to sustainable logo relate? A neurophysiological study. Food Quality and Preference71, 485-496.

Photo by Jens Enemark

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