This article introduces the three major actors involved in shaping consumer behavior: businesses, states, and consumers themselves. It provides a conspectus of the debates that have arisen over the effectiveness of green consumption, and of whether consumption can be green at all. A third section summarizes the effect on consumer behavior of misinformation (greenwash) and discusses the problem of “information overload,” as well as the role of ecolabeling.

Consumers, Firms, and States

The major actors involved in shaping consumer behavior are consumers themselves, alongside states and businesses (together with advertisers and marketing consultants). The first actor, the consumer, is an individual who professes or exhibits a concern for the environment in his or her consumption activities. Although states, businesses, and other organizations are major consumers in their ...

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