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Sustainability claims on FMCGs : consumers' perceptions and company practice in the UK and in Greece.

Alevizou, Panayiota (2011) Sustainability claims on FMCGs : consumers' perceptions and company practice in the UK and in Greece. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Eco labels and green claims by definition and ideally are meant to be connected with sustainable production and motivate sustainable consumption. Companies are faced with many labelling decisions and consumers are faced with many labelling choices. Both parties complain about misleading claims. Companies argue that consumers claim they want greener products but their purchase behaviour indicates otherwise. Consumers claim that companies use misleading claims on their products and thus, confuse them. There seems to be a communication gap between companies and consumers as well as a gap in the literature exploring this miscommunication. This research takes a different holistic approach by exploring both consumers and company claim perceptions by using a qualitative research methodology. Focus groups are used to explore consumers' perceptions and interviews are used to examine company labelling practice. Other stakeholders such as governments, NGOs, retailers, media and other organisations seem to play an important role in the area of production and consumption of green claims and thus are explored as part of the theoretical framework used in this study. The findings indicate that a new wave of claims has emerged. Sustainability claims are used by companies as an on-pack link to their environmental and/or social considerations. The company claim practice is a complex interaction of internal initiators and external influencers. Consumers decode claims with little guidance from stakeholders and companies and thus, scepticism characterises their perceptions. In both cases issues and perceptions connected to trust and literacy seem to gain importance. The main theoretical contributions of this study are a company perception typology and a consumer perception typology. The most important methodological contribution is the detailed and well documented qualitative methodology used. The findings from both parts of the research present implications for both marketers and policy makers. Consumers should be able to make informed purchase decisions and thus policy makers may interfere and offer guidance and support. In a similar manner policy makers can support companies during the claims encoding process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.548640
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 14:00
Last Modified: 31 May 2016 14:00
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12871

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