5 Feb 2013 (Tuesday)

Department of Marketing survey finds consumers' attitudes towards "socially responsible consumption" in Hong Kong are varied
市場學系調查發現香港市民負責任消費意識參差


Professor Prendergast (left) and Dr. Tsang share the findings of the survey on how consumers perceive socially responsible consumption in Hong Kong
彭嘉諾教授(左)和曾仕龍博士分享「香港負責任消費意識」調查結果

The Department of Marketing of the School of Business announced the findings of a survey on how consumers perceive socially responsible consumption in Hong Kong today (5 February). The survey showed that many respondents believe that consumers do not engage in socially responsible consumption because they think it would be inconvenient. The findings also indicated that people are more concerned about whether companies take care of their employees than the needs of disadvantaged groups in society when making their purchase decisions. In addition, when people consume, they are concerned more about whether the products harm endangered animals than polluting the environment, especially the air.

   

Professor Gerard Prendergast, Head of the Department of Marketing, and Dr. Alex Tsang, Associate Professor of the Department of Marketing, conducted a questionnaire survey from February to July last year. They surveyed 1,202 individuals aged 18 or above who have been living in Hong Kong for five or more years in different areas of Hong Kong to understand their perception of and views on socially responsible consumption.

 

"Socially responsible consumption" refers to the idea that consumers make consumption decisions based not only on the benefits that such decisions bring them, but also on the impact that the decisions have on other stakeholders such as the employees of a merchant, other consumers and the general public, as well as the natural environment.

 

The questionnaire was designed based on the scale of Webb, Mohr and Harris (2008) with a list of 20 responsible consumption intentions to be scored in order to understand more about the intentions behind consumers’ behaviour (“1” is the lowest score while “7” is the highest; a higher score represents a higher willingness to engage in that behaviour.) These 20 questions were further grouped into two categories: “Corporate Social Responsibility Concern” (13 questions) and “Environmental Friendly Consumption” (7 questions).

 

The results showed that respondents place different values on various responsible consumption behaviours. They tend to be more concerned about whether the companies take care of their employees’ welfare or fulfill generalised corporate social responsibilities, such as helping victims of natural disasters and engaging in charitable services. Respondents were less concerned about whether companies support particular disadvantaged groups, such as the disabled and ethnic minorities. In addition, when they consume, they are concerned more about whether the products harm endangered animals than polluting the environment. The findings implied that senior respondents or respondents with a monthly salary of HK$20,001 or above are more inclined to engage in socially responsible consumption. However, such consumption does not differ across different gender or educational level.

 

The survey also investigated the reasons why respondents do not engage in socially responsible consumption. Of the 1,202 respondents, 35 per cent believed that Hong Kong people think socially responsible consumption would cause inconvenience while 22 per cent thought that the power of the individual is limited. Another group, comprising 32 per cent of the respondents, believed that people in Hong Kong do not care or do not know what socially responsible consumption is. Only a minority, comprising 6 per cent, considered such consumption expensive.

 

Professor Prendergast said the findings would provide a valuable reference to the Government, the industry and consumers on consumers’ awareness of socially responsible consumption. He advised the Government and related educational institutions to develop strategies to emphasise that the minority and disadvantaged groups are integral members of society and that consumers should avoid engaging in consumption which would impact these groups in a negative way. In addition, the young generation and the less affluent should be educated on the importance of socially responsible consumption, and policies or actions should also be formulated to enable the consumers to engage in socially responsible consumption in a convenient way.

 

Both professors hoped that the Department could collect relevant data periodically in order to develop a “Hong Kong responsible consumption index” which could provide insights to related organisations for educational and promotional purposes.

工商管理學院市場學系今日(二月五日)發佈一項有關「香港負責任消費意識」調查報告,發現普遍受訪者認為香港人沒有實行負責任消費的主要原因,是有關消費會為生活帶來不便。調查亦顯示,受訪者在消費時,較為考慮和關注該銷售機構有否照顧員工的福利,至於該機構是否關顧弱勢社群的需要則不大關心。此外,他們亦會避免購買瀕臨絕種動植物製成的產品,對污染空氣的產品卻不太在意。

 

市場學系系主任彭嘉諾教授和副教授曾仕龍博士於去年2月至7月期間,透過問卷形式在香港不同地區訪問了合共1,20218歲或以上、在港連續居住五年或以上的人士,了解他們對「負責任消費」的意願和看法。

 

「負責任消費」指消費者在消費時,除了考慮自身的直接得益外,亦會考慮消費行為對該銷售機構的員工、其他消費者及普羅大眾等相關持份者,以至地球整體生態的影響。調查問卷以Webb, Mohr and Harris2008)的量表為基礎,設有以兩大因素分類、合共二十種負責任的消費行為項目供受訪者評分 (1分為最低,7分為最高;分數愈高代表受訪者愈認同他們會實行相關的負責任消費行為),以了解他們對實行該等消費行為的意願。結果發現,受訪者對不同的負責任消費行為存在相異的價值觀。

 

在「關注企業社會責任」因素中(共十三題),他們普遍較為關心銷售機構有否照顧員工的福利,以及有否履行廣義上的企業社會責任,如幫助天災受害者、以慈善服務回饋社會等。相對而言,對於該機構有否協助特定弱勢社群,如殘疾人士或少數族裔等,受訪者的關心程度則較低。在「環保消費意識」因素中(共七題),他們會避免購買危害瀕臨絕種動植物的產品,對能減低空氣污染的消費卻不太在意。調查亦顯示,年長人士或月薪港幣$20,001或以上的高收入組別,對負責任消費的意願相對較高,至於性別或教育程度在相關行為意願上則沒有明顯分別。

 

另一方面,調查亦探討了受訪者沒有實行負責任消費的原因。當中三成五受訪者認為消費者不實行負責任消費的主要原因,是有關消費會為生活帶來不便,其次是覺得個人力量如杯水車薪(佔22%)。部份受訪者則認為,香港市民不關心或不知何謂負責任消費(共佔32%),只有少數受訪者表示負責任消費行為是比較花錢的(佔6%)。

 

彭嘉諾教授指出,是次調查結果對政府、業界和消費者具有一定的參考價值,有助他們了解消費者對負責任消費的認知。他建議政府及教育機構可協助制定相關政策,讓大眾市民明白到弱勢社群作為香港社會一份子的重要性,因而避免作出任何對弱勢社群造成負面影響的消費選擇;同時亦應教育年輕一代和較低收入人士對負責任消費的重要性,並可考慮實施相關條例或措施,以便消費者實行負責任的消費。兩位教授希望學系能夠定期收集相關資料,長遠建立一套完整的「香港負責任消費指數」,以供相關機構作教育和推廣之用。
 

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