لوکس و توسعه پایدار: آیا یک مسابقه وجود دارد؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29489||2013||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7768 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 66, Issue 10, October 2013, Pages 1896–1903
This research explores the extent to which sustainable development can be associated with luxury products. In particular, it examines the propensity of consumers to consider recycled materials in luxury purchases. The existing academic literature neglects this question and some newspapers recently launched a debate on the relevance of adopting responsible practices in the luxury sector. Findings from an empirical study regarding the case of French luxury clothing indicate that incorporating recycled materials in such goods affects consumer preferences negatively and reveals a certain incompatibility between recycling and the category of luxury products. Despite the increasing concerns of consumers about the preservation of the planet, the responsible behavior of the brand remains a secondary selection criterion and consumers of luxury goods primarily focus on the intrinsic quality of the product.
We are living in an “ethics era” (Davies, Lee, & Ahonkhai, 2012) characterized by an increasing number of companies engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Excelling on social and environmental dimensions improve business performance, especially in the current societal landscape where the consumers have a greater CSR orientation (Tang & Tang, 2012). Today, consumers express new concerns giving rise to the consumption of products which are less toxic, more durable, and made from recycled materials (Lozano, Blanco, & Rey-Maquieira, 2010). Nonetheless, research has shown that the positive link between CSR and consumer preference for ethical goods is reached only when some contingent conditions are satisfied: when the consumer supports the company's CSR efforts, when the product is of high quality, and when the consumer is not asked to pay a premium for social responsibility (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2004). The consumer responses to CSR are “often highly nuanced and often not so much an explicit endorsement of corporate CSR policies” (Smith, Palazzo, & Bhattacharya, 2010, p 622). Studies focusing on the issue of responsible consumption often test the case of generic and everyday products such as food and cosmetics (Ngobo, 2011) and examine the subject of eco-certification (Lozano et al., 2010). However, the issue of sustainable development affects all sectors, and it is surprising to note how few academic contributions focus on this subject in the case of other more involved product categories (Davies et al., 2012). Several reports and newspaper articles have extended the debate on sustainable consumption to luxury products. The existence of a number of points of divergence in terms of values between luxury and sustainable development suggests that there is a weak association between the two concepts. Luxury is often associating with personal pleasure, superficiality and ostentation, while the reference to sustainable development evokes altruism, sobriety, moderation and ethics (Widloecher, 2010). In their recent book, Lochard and Murat (2011), however, support the idea that the two concepts are compatible. The newspaper La Tribune (2011) indicates that the luxury sector contributes to the transmission of ancestral skills and the preservation of raw materials and local activities. According to Kim, Ko, Xu, and Han (2012), sustainable development presents an opportunity to improve brand differentiation and corporate image especially in the light of the fact that consumers of luxury products are increasingly aware of social and environmental issues (AFP, 2008). Ageorges (2010) and Kim and Ko (2012) argue that luxury product manufacturers can no longer rely uniquely on their brand name and the intrinsic quality or rarity of their products; they must now convey humane and environmental values in order to establish a lasting relationship with consumers. In line with this idea, consumers of luxury products have recently extended their quality expectations to the social and environmental dimensions (Lochard & Murat, 2011). In response to the recent concerns of consumers, a number of responsible initiatives are emerging in the luxury sector. Consider the example of the Gucci brand which supports UNICEF by producing a specific line of accessories every year, with 25% of profits going to the association. In France, some luxury companies, such as the Hermès brand, have adopted recycling practices. In the academic literature, authors pay little attention to the relevance of adopting responsible practices in the case of luxury goods and do not examine the propensity of consumers to consider recycled materials in luxury purchases, hence the relevance of this study focusing on the particular case of luxury clothing. The textile industry causes an environmental burden, especially through the large volume of waste it generates and the use of pesticides in producing cotton. This issue is of major concern to the luxury clothing industry in light of the democratization of some luxury products (Lochard & Murat, 2011). The current strategy of luxury goods manufacturers involves offering a combination of the exceptional represented by “custom-made” products maintaining a prestigious image, of intermediate luxury linked to brand recognition, and of more accessible luxury products produced at reduced costs for the mass market (Chatriot, 2007). The adoption of recycling practices by enterprises may contribute to limiting the waste disposal problem (Kirsi & Lotta, 2011). While some authors (Tsen, Phang, Hasan, & Buncha, 2006) argue that consumers perceive recycled products in a positive light, the conclusions of some research works (Hamzaoui-Essoussi & Linton, 2010) do not concur with this finding and indicate that this preference is product-specific. The study here examines luxury consumers' preferences for recycling. It proceeds first by reviewing the existing literature on sustainable consumption in general and in the textile industry specifically before exploring the particularities of luxury clothing. Next, the paper outlines the research methodology adopted and presents findings from the empirical analysis of French consumers' preferences with regard to recycled luxury shirts. Finally, the paper draws a discussion of key findings, presents limitations and offers managerial and research implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This research includes three major findings. First, “product quality” and “brand reputation” still constitute decisive selection criteria in the case of luxury products. Despite the growing ethical and environmental concerns of consumers, the “environmental commitment of the brand” criterion is not, on the whole, a decisive factor. This result supports the conclusion of Davies et al. (2012) which states that the trend toward “everything green” appears to be taking root only very slowly. Luxury companies should take up societal challenges (Dereumaux, 2007), but this must not be done to the detriment of the intrinsic quality of the products, which is a priority requirement among consumers. It is clear that consumers are only willing to buy environmentally-friendly clothing if the intrinsic quality attributes, such as style and color, are equivalent to those of conventional products (Domina & Koch, 1998). Second, the presence of recycled material in luxury products is perceived negatively by consumers. The respondents are convinced of the benefits of recycling to the environment and no unfavorable perception is associated with this practice (no health risk and no link with perceived poor quality), yet a rejection of the introduction of recycled materials in luxury products is observed. Only recycled packaging is accepted. The results of the conjoint analysis offer additional support for this observation. Possible reasons for this apparent discrepancy between favorable perceptions toward recycling and the behavior adopted when choosing luxury products are as follows. First, in the dissonance between recycling and the product category studied, this contradiction might result from the notions of prestige and rarity which characterize luxury products (Catry, 2007). Despite the fact that it was not associated with poor quality in our study, recycling does not appear to be associated with “prestige”, and while luxury goods have to a certain extent been democratized, the production of luxury clothing does not call to mind the idea of an excessive use of resources. Considering their characteristic scarcity (Catry, 2003), slow fashion and level of personalization, consumers do not appear to believe that luxury products are a danger to the planet. This phenomenon is consistent with the conclusions of Widloecher (2010), who observes that luxury, in general, favors quality over quantity, craft and rarity over mass production, in the spirit of “consuming less but better” while supporting the “Fallacy of Clean-Luxury” (Davies et al., 2012). Wasted resources are thus considered to be caused by the consumption of products with a short life cycle, rather than by prestigious luxury products. Another reason is that due to the consumers' doubt, the true motives of companies that adopt recycling practices, believing that they may be purely commercial in nature — a means to boost sales. This idea is therefore in line with Potoski and Prakash (2005), who highlight the opportunistic behavior of companies. In particular, the question of the credibility of brands promoting themselves as “responsible” notably arises in a context where greenwashing is a common phenomenon. The decision of companies to advertise their commitment to sustainable development is explainable by image management imperatives in response to social pressure resulting from negative environmental repercussions (Bansal & Roth, 2000). The decision may be a plan to establish a degree of legitimacy or as an eco-friendly masquerade enabling companies to enhance, maintain or repair their reputation (Caron & Cho, 2009). The results show that the introduction of recycled materials in a luxury garment reduces the value of the product. This does not support Guagnano's (2001) conclusions, which underline the fact that recycling has a positive influence on consumers' willingness to pay. However, they do concur with Hamzaoui-Essoussi and Linton (2010) findings, stating that the willingness to pay for recycled products is product-specific. The gender can influence the consumers' preference for the introduction of recycled materials in luxury clothing products. Women perceive the use of recycled materials less unfavorably than men. This conclusion is in line with Niinimäki and Hassi (2011) who argue that in the case of textile products, women are more concerned by environmental and ethical issues. Finally, in contrast with recycling practices, consumers perceive the use of organic cotton positively. In the case of our sample, 84% of respondents are consumers of organic products, especially in the textile sector. This result may be explained by the positive image associated with organic products in France. A survey conducted by Agence bio and CSA (2010) shows that 12% of French people opted for organic textiles in 2010. Their choice was driven by environmental concerns (mentioned by 53% of respondents) and product quality (43%). However, it is important to note that the development of organic cotton is confronted with certain obstacles. Farming practices must be radically changed with regard to fertilizer use and pest control, while major investment is required (Droy, 2011). Consequently, among the problems encountered, firms are faced with supply issues and additional costs (Teulon, 2006). 7.1. Managerial implications A large number of luxury brands have now taken the path of sustainable development in order to meet the expectations of consumers who are increasingly aware of this issue. Luxury consumers enjoy “power,” as Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (1997) define power. The high price of the products they purchase gives them the authority to be more demanding than in other segments (Dereumaux, 2007 and Kapferer, 2010). The study here examines consumers' preferences for recycled luxury clothing. This study is one of the few that explores the issue of sustainable development in the luxury product category. This research shows, on the one hand, that incorporating recycled materials in a luxury product has a significant negative effect on consumer preferences. And, on the other hand, using organic cotton increases consumer preference. Based on those findings, enterprises should consider implementing the following managerial propositions to increase purchase intent for luxury fashion brands. First, a strategy of promoting luxury products based on the argument of recycling materials would be ineffective on the French market. Luxury brands should not attempt to promote this practice, as reflected by the Yves Saint Laurent brand. Recycling should be restricted to product packaging. As Smith et al. (2010) have emphasized, responsible production does not often translate into responsible consumption and, consequently, the economic benefit of CSR remains doubtful. Corporations should contribute to change the consumption routines of their customers and co-create responsible consumerism. It might result from a process of education, empowerment and transformation of existing consumption habits. Second, the results of the current study imply that it is in the best interests of luxury brands to advertise the type of cotton when it is organic. In the fashion industry, reputational benefits are, today, intimately dependent on adherence to what are perceived to be a sustainable stance, in which the use of organic materials is fundamental (Rieple & Singh, 2010). However, luxury companies are now faced with three problems concerning organic cotton: availability, quality variation (Kapferer, 2010) and certification insufficiency (Sanfilippo, 2007). Relating to the earlier point, an organic textile product has to be certified as organic throughout the whole chain from cotton fields until it is finally sold. Investments are therefore required to develop this type of production. 7.2. Research implications Although this research makes an important contribution, further studies should increase understanding of the sustainable development issue in the case of luxury goods. In order to gain a better understanding of the nature of the dissonance which seems to exist between recycling and luxury products, we believe it would be fruitful for future research to perform a qualitative study to provide insights into the reasoning of consumers. This would enable us to explore the universe of luxury products from the consumers' point of view and determine to what extent the theme of sustainable development is associated with luxury. Additional research should examine the “fallacy of clean-luxury”. Contrary to expectations, our research reveals that perceptions of recycling are more negative in the case of the lowest recycling rate (less negative utility in the case of a 70% rate of recycled material compared to a 30% rate). Consumers may consider that for a luxury product it is better for it to be entirely recycled. A future study needs to be conducted to examine the relationship between consumers' preferences for recycled products and the proportion of recycled materials incorporated in a luxury product, and to include additional sustainable practices such as the reduction in the amount of packaging which are liable to affect consumer preferences for luxury products. Furthermore, an examination of the effects of consumers' characteristics shows that gender, familiarity with luxury products and interaction between familiarity with luxury products and fabric recycling have significant effects on the preference for recycled products. This result is interesting but should be considered with caution because of the current sample (a convenience one and relatively small in size). Replicating this study with additional consumer samples in different countries or regions of France is necessary to test the effect of these variables. Finally, future studies should also determine the extent to which the negative perceptions toward recycling identified in the case of clothing could be extended to cover the luxury product sector as a whole. It would thus be beneficial to carry out comparative experiments with other luxury products like jewelry and cosmetics.