Is it a Responsibility of Marketing to Encourage Moderation of Consumption?

  • Zoe Morgan

Student thesis: Phd


There has been a steadily growing concern by governments, NGO's and international agencies regarding the rising rate of consumption in industrialised countries. Despite warnings and evidence showing the relationship between rising consumption and climate change, and the uptake of initiatives and education at business and consumer levels, the trend towards consuming more and more continues unabated. Questions have been raised regarding the relationship between marketing and rising consumption. In line with this, the research will investigate the responsibility of marketing to encourage consumers to moderate their consumption behaviour.  The research will address three broad objectives:· To identify whether marketing professionals feel responsible for encouraging consumers to moderate their consumption· To identify and explain the reasons why marketers would encourage moderation of consumption· To understand the construct 'marketing responsibility to encourage moderation of consumption' and explain the influences upon the acceptance of responsibilityThe research adopted a mixed-methods design. Qualitative research methods were used to explore perceptions of responsibility and develop a typology of motivations to explain why marketers would encourage moderation. An online, quantitative survey (n=359) was conducted in the USA and UK in January 2011. The results evidenced an acceptance of responsibility which is suggestive of a changing role for the marketing discipline. The results found support for the typology of motivations which were developed during the qualitative phase of the research, in particular, highlighting the importance of ethical and cost-saving motivations. The level of environmentalism in the workplace, and in the private life of the marketer, was found to influence the acceptance of marketing responsibility to encourage moderation. Finally, the motivation to remain competitive was also associated with the acceptance of marketing responsibility. The acceptance of responsibility to encourage moderation of consumption highlights a changing role for marketing which could potentially signify far-reaching changes in practical terms, in the way marketing is taught, and in the public policy domain.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Mcgoldrick (Supervisor) & Terry Newholm (Supervisor)


  • Corporate Environmentalism
  • Consumption
  • Sustainability
  • Responsible Marketing

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