A Study of Consumers' Recognition and Recall of Environmental Claims

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Tommy V. Smith

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


The growth of consumers' environmental concern has led to a phenomenon known as "green consumerism." As a result of green consumerism, products with green marketing claims have more than doubled over the past several years. This has led the Federal Trade Commission to issue guidelines for the use of environmental marketing claims. However, an inverse relationship exists between consumers' concern about the environment and their "green purchase" behavior. Although the environment may be important to consumers, its importance has not translated into a change in purchase behavior at the grocery store. This lack of actual purchase behavior may be partially due to consumers' inability to recognize and understand green symbols and labels, the credibility they place in environmental claims and the level of trust they place in a company's environmental responsibility. This research measured consumers' ability to recognize and recall environmental symbols and labels. It also tested the consumer's ability to distinguish deceptive from non-deceptive environmental claims based on the individual's level of commitment to the environment. The Roper/S.C. Johnson Segmentation of environmental attitudes and the Green Marketing Guidelines issued by the Federal Trade Commission will be used as the basis for this study.