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Business Psychology

A constant winner

Götz Walter und Selina Leser
Götz Walter

What effect do sustainability features on products have on young consumers? RWU professor Dr. Götz Walter and Selina Leser, RWU alumna of the Master's program in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, investigated this question in the study "Perceptions of Sustainability vs. Quality Features".

In two online experiments, three experimental groups evaluated food and beverages with different product information. These included either sustainability features, quality features or no features. The results show a clear trend: sustainability features such as "fairtrade" or "recyclable packaging" always led to the highest perceived quality and purchase intention. Even in comparison to quality features such as "hand-picked coffee beans" the apparently more sustainable product always prevailed in the assessment of quality. A consistent winner, then, sustainability. "What surprised us most was that these results apply equally to environmental and social sustainability features," says Professor Götz Walter. The results of both surveys indicate an awareness among young consumers of sustainable consumer products. "This is particularly encouraging in today's sustainability discourse," says Selina Leser. "Marketers of food and beverages should clearly and prominently indicate sustainability features on product packaging."

The study is based on the master's theses of Selina Leser and Hannes Ottmann. Götz Walter, professor of business psychology, and Selina Leser published the study on the effect of sustainability features on young consumers in the journal Marketing Review St. Gallen. The team of authors also includes Hannes Ottmann (Beta Film GmbH) and Kim Hartmann (Strathclyde Business School, RWU lecturer). Selina Leser is pleased that the results of her master's thesis are now available to a wider readership. "The positive experience with my master's thesis has encouraged me to pursue a career in science."

Götz Walter/ Vivian Missel