Use More, Waste More? Apparently Not

Imagine two companies that produce clothing – one uses 50% less water in manufacturing than the industry average, and the other disposes 50% less water than the industry average.

Some might say these two represent the same environmental impact, but consumers react differently when they hear one versus the other. Research by Felix Xu and Lisa Bolton (Penn State) demonstrates that when consumers learn about disposal (relative to use) it carries significantly lower weight in their judgements because consumers associate less environmental impact with resource use (versus disposal).

For companies working to mitigate their environmental impact, focusing on reducing resource use may lead to missing out on consumer support. To learn more Felix’s research click here.