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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8729-8747; doi:10.3390/su7078729

The Well(s) of Knowledge: The Decoding of Sustainability Claims in the UK and in Greece

1
Department of Marketing and Cultural Industries University of Sheffield, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK
2
Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen AB10 7QE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 24 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
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Abstract

Sustainability claims have existed on fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) for over four decades and there is evidence that they are increasing. Research suggests that consumers have a low level of knowledge and understanding of such labels. It has been found that environmental and labelling knowledge may influence consumption behaviour but the findings so far have been inconsistent. Furthermore, the issue of knowledge and particularly sense making of the variety of claims found on FMCGs today is somewhat under researched. In this paper we investigate the types of knowledge consumers draw upon in order to decode and make sense of different types of labels across two countries. We carried out a qualitative study in the UK and Greece with 12 focus groups and utilised concepts of knowledge to investigate consumer decoding of labelling. We found that overall consumers have limited labelling knowledge and understanding even though their environmental knowledge may vary. This limited labelling knowledge makes consumers feel unsettled and unsure about their shopping decisions. Finally, we identified areas where consumers demonstrated limited knowledge and requested further information and education. This has important implications for companies, marketers, and policy makers if sustainability claims are to promote and support sustainable consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: labelling; environmental knowledge; FMCGs; on-pack sustainability claims; decoding; UK; Greece labelling; environmental knowledge; FMCGs; on-pack sustainability claims; decoding; UK; Greece
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Alevizou, P.J.; Oates, C.J.; McDonald, S. The Well(s) of Knowledge: The Decoding of Sustainability Claims in the UK and in Greece. Sustainability 2015, 7, 8729-8747.

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