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Consumers are willing to pay more for eco-labelled non-food products

Consumers are willing to pay more for non-food agricultural products that have two attributes linked to protection of the environment.  This research was carried out on roses characterised by their carbon footprint and the presence of an eco-label.

Tropical rose (Delbard, 1956). © INRA, WEBER Jean
Updated on 11/07/2013
Published on 10/31/2013

There are numerous motivations which underlie consumer purchases of goods with eco-labels

Many studies have shown that consumers are paying increasing attention to the environmental characteristics of the products available to them. Their interest may result in a willingness to pay more for products that integrate attributes linked to protection of the environment.  However, the great majority of these studies have to date focused on food products, where a degree of confusion persists regarding the true motivations of consumers.  Foods produced by organic farmers may be chosen for altruistic reasons (or in other words, to protect the environment during their production) or for strictly individual reasons linked to diet (e.g. for their gustatory properties or health qualities). The challenge for consumption economists is therefore to dissociate these two types of motivation (individual or environmental benefits) when trying to place a global value on ecological products.

A true motivation for products with environmental attributes

In the present case, the evaluation of willingness to pay was based on a series of experiments performed in the laboratory and involving subjects representative of the population.  In order to place a limit on strictly individual motivations to consume eco-labelled products, the experiments concerned a non-food agricultural product (roses) which bore one concerning their production conditions (eco-label) and a second indicating how they had been transported (carbon footprint).  The results showed that consumers placed a real value on products with environmental attributes that only procured collective benefits.  They placed greater importance on those with a global impact (carbon footprint) than on those whose environmental attributes were more localised (eco-label).

Scientific contact(s):

  • Daniel LLERENA (+33(0)4 76 82 59 72) Joint Research Laboratory for Applied Economics
Associated Division(s):
Social Sciences, Agriculture and Food, Rural Development and Environment.
Associated Centre(s):
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur