Applying ethical concepts to the study of "green" consumer behavior: An analysis of chinese consumers' intentions to bring their own shopping bags

Yee Kwong Chan, Y. H. Wong, T. K.P. Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on the general ethics and social psychology literature, this study presents a model to delineate the major factors likely to affect consumers' intentions to bring their own shopping bags when visiting a supermarket (called "bring your own bags" or "BYOB" intention). The model is empirically validated using a survey of 250 Chinese consumers. Overall, the findings support the hypothesized direct influence of teleological evaluation and habit on BYOB intention, as well as that of deontological evaluation and teleological evaluation on ethical judgment about the BYOB practice. Teleological evaluation exerts a much stronger influence on ethical judgment than does deontological evaluation. In addition, the findings reveal that consumers who perceive the BYOB practice to be more important are more inclined to rely on their ethical judgment to derive their BYOB intention. Academically, these findings provide some encouraging evidence for the application of general ethics theories to explain green consumption-related practices. Practically, the findings also suggest that a utilitarian approach (i.e., emphasizing the consequences of BYOB) may represent an effective means for the Chinese government to promote BYOB practice among consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • China
  • Ethical concepts
  • Green consumption
  • Moral philosophies
  • White pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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