Green Credential in Advertising on Malaysian Consumers

In this research proposal we will understand how the research being explored by seeing the influencing factors of incorporating green credentials in their advertisement to gauge Malaysian consumer’s commitments towards the green products or services.

The focus of this research is identically on the Malaysian consumer’s behaviours towards green issues by looking into four main parts. Firstly, consumer’s interest in green products, their understanding of green products, the motivational and influences factor before purchase green products, and the key characteristics in marketing activities. Overall the core of the discussion is mainly on the Malaysia consumer’s awareness on the green issues and how the green credentials influence in advertisement supports in purchasing the green products or to enhance the green services.

Over the decades we have noticed the unbeatable momentum of increase in consumer consumption as well as the increase of demands in services. Therefore the involvement of manufacturing, product processing, massive consumption and consumer behavior had caused the environmental deterioration which has required the most utilization of the natural resources and eventually damage them. According to reports from Grunet(1993) that an average of 40% of environmental degradation is came from the level of private households products consumption. This has lead to the consumers to realize their consumption activities which eventually leads them to environmental issues and transformed into environmental concern through action.(Kangun,et al.,1991). It’s really become a point to awaken the country about green movement which will uphold the environmental issues. This is because the more they consume environmental products the more they help the environmental issues. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the level of awareness and contribution of consumers towards the environmental products and services.

Malaysia government has acted much earlier in the environmental issues in 1974 through Environment Quality Act. To enforce the act the government has formed the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KETTHA) which promote the research and development of green technologies in Malaysia. The ministry covers the aspect of Energy, Environment, Economy and social aspects by their commitment in manufacturing, service sectors and consumer awareness through advertising agency towards matters that involve environmental issues. The government has committed to reduce 40 per cent of carbon emission in the domestic production by year 2020 whereby in year 2005 the carbon emission was at 7.1 tonnes per capita compare to world average which was at 4.5 tonnes per capita.

Malaysia Energy Commission has introduced the energy labeling scheme for household appliance to reduce and promote the efficiency in energy consumption which made the Standard and Industrial Research Instituted of Malaysia (SIRIM) to launch eco-friendly programs that covers the environmental requirement by environmentally degradable, on toxic plastic, plastic packaging material, biodegradable cleaning agents, hazardous metal free electrical and electrical equipment and recycle paper. A manufacturer with the brand name of ECOMAX has launched eco friendly household products which consist of 100% biodegradable ingredients. Malaysian National Automotive policy has been revised for making the car manufacturer of hybrid car or electric vehicles to have 100% investment tax allowance and the banking sectors have developed the services to support funding for green related matters. In year 2009 the governments have launched Green Building Index (GBI) which serves the green rating index on environmental building index. Most of the retail sector business chain have enforce the no plastic bag day and yet the consumers are keen to patronized the outlet by getting recyclable bags or recycle empty boxes. The issue didn’t stop the consumers from patronizing the outlet which eventually showing their concern on the environmental issues or it has any other reasons for their reaction.

For a matter of facts, consumers are the ideal instruments for promoting eco friendly products and being responsible for practicing ecological consumption. The ecological consumption is referring specifically on the socially responsible consumer behavior which covered as an ‘environmentalist perspective’ (Scheffer, 1991) and also be termed as ‘green consumerism’ (Elkington, Hailes and Makower, 1990) or ‘environmentally concerned consumption’ (Henion, 1976). According to Smith (1990) research which shows that consumers have transformed the environmental concern into actively purchasing green products. In this research we will discover the consumer awareness and the readiness of them to buy the eco friendly products, and to know what could be the influences of green marketing characteristic factors towards this intention.

To create customer satisfaction and to build long term business customer relationship is the prime objective of every business units in their businesses and at the same time customer’s demands become very crucial as day by day in the competitive business world. Nevertheless this will be a challenge for the marketing and manufactures to understand the consumer’s behavior because the demand is increasing in green purchasing power. (Tanner and Kast, 2003, Soonthonsmai, 2007; Lee, 2008, Cheah, 2009). In general less studies has been done in Malaysia compared to western countries on green marketing but based on Cheah(2009) and Chen and Chai(2010) studies showing that the demand in green purchasing has increased in Malaysia.

According to “Malaysia’s Advertising Market 2010” report which was showing that two top advertisers have increased their advertising expenditure in 2010 which are Unilever and Procter & Gamble. They have increased by 57.7% and 37.6% respectively compare to year 2009. Hypermarket industry also have significantly increased their advertising expenditure by 12.4% which was from RM 115,633,000 in 2009 to RM 130,005,000 in 2010.Therefore the implication is clear that advertising have played an important role in influencing consumers’ buying behaviour for any household products.

In Malaysia the government and public involvement in supporting the environmental issues which has made the retailers and all other business units start to embraced green marketing strategies by emphasizing on the green credentials. To echo the environmental friendly many companies have started to respond by addressing the issue of pollution and waste disposal by developing the green credential in the product packaging and services which has created numerous marketing activities to enhance the friendly environment. Hence, the efforts has faced many challenges to enhance the credibility of the products due to the awareness of consumer, some of high cost involved in developing green products and the understanding of the customer preferences. Based on this there were three parts involve in identifying the supports towards green issues which are the government involvement, manufacturers and advertising agency and the consumer who will be the end users.

We also need to understand does the consumers are valuing the benefit of purchasing green products based on the product freshness that able to provide better taste, covered by the safety and improve the health consent and improving in term of energy cost savings or it is mainly a core support towards environmental issues.

Still we do have consumers or even retail managers, who are yet to understand what green is all about to them because of the lack of standard or clear definition about the green credentials. In some situation the consumers have become wary on the attention given by the manufacturer or retailers on the products. Whereby, some of the products have lack of information on the level of credentials before marketing the products. In retail outlet the products could be displayed at one corner with limited choices at the shopping area. Whereby the demand of consumer starts to evolve from day by day and therefore it is requiring the most attention on the product development and services in the country. Also the consumers are very much concern on what they are buying and getting in return for their value for money. The standard of living has changed compared to earlier days in Malaysia whereby the consumers are deeply into healthy living with better safety concern. Due to economic reason they’re also very prudent in their spending on any part of their life.

It’s become vital to explore the understanding and motivational factor of consumers on the green issues which indirectly showing their interest to environmental issues and what will influence them towards contributing in the issue. Also, the key role of green credential in the advertising could be the identical aspect to be incorporated for developing the green product or services branding or it’s barely for a matter of trademark in the product marketing. The concern is merely due to benefits, privileges or changes of their behavior towards environmental friendly concept which could evaluate the green products on performance, prices or taking the social responsibility.

In this paper we will identify two core issues which will be the consumer’s involvement towards the green issues and the key role of green credentials in the marketing strategy. In the first issue we could capture the consumer relationship and motivational factor towards green products or services which enhance the consumer confidence towards environmental friendly issues. Secondly, the involvement of green credential in advertising which lead to the consumer for clear understanding or even showing great assurance prior to purchase or getting the service.

Therefore it gave an opportunity to have a research on this issue by going through the consumer preferences and attitude on environmental issues. The explorations begin by identifying the green issues in Malaysia and identify the issues which capture the attention of Malaysian consumers. Literally we will focus on the green consumption, the motivation factor for green consumer and identify the key characteristic of green marketing. The methodology and quantitative survey result will be presented and thereafter the research will be concluding with discussion of the result and recommendation for the green credential enhancement.

Thesis Topic for the Research

To understand does Malaysian consumers been attracted with green credentials in advertising towards the green products purchases and services.


The purpose of this research is to find out the effectiveness of incorporating advertiser’s green credentials in their advertisements to gauge Malaysian consumers to commit using green products and services.


To find out if highlighting the green credentials in products or services in their advertisement would attract Malaysian Consumers to patronize those products and services.

The effectiveness of incorporating green credentials in every green products or services in the advertisement which indirectly making the urge for the consumers to patronized the outlet or they are irrelevant to the consumers.

To find out the Malaysian consumers’ concern over the environmental issues.

Are they really concern about the environmental issues or are they more concern about their self image which is to purchase for the sake of satisfying for the approached been done towards them in pursuing support for the environmental issues.

To find out what will be the level of Malaysian consumer commitments and motivational factors on the green issues compare to value for money products.

Since the economy is become narrower in term of expenditure and the consumer is very much consent about the bargain factor in every retail outlet but do they have the same conception on green product or services. Is the material inside the package is really a matter or the outer look of the package is become the concern for the consumer before doing the purchase.

Does the green information or environmental news give an impact before doing the purchases?

Does the consumer reacting immediately to jot down the green product in their shopping list once reading the environmental latest news or it is merely an impulse purchase during their shopping.

To understand the key characteristics of green marketing that influences the Malaysian consumer to purchase green products or getting the right services for supporting the environmental issues.

Marketing a product or service is required the right methods to understand the consumers needs and able to deliver the right message which eventually give a better business penetration.

Review of the Literature

In the literature review we will covered three main factors that conclude the question of incorporating green credentials in advertising attract Malaysian consumer to a product or service which is the green consumption, green consumer motivation factor and identifying the key characteristic of green marketing. In this part we will able to understand what are the references on green consumption that consumers looking into and to narrow it to the motivation factors which is encouraging them to participate or purchasing the products. To make the consumer understand and educate on the issue the advertising part playing a role by identifying what will be the key characteristic of green marketing to persuade or influence them to purchase the products. In the Michael Solomon (1994) “Consumer Behaviour” 2nd edition book that has highlighted the consumption process in two aspects which is the consumers and the marketer’s. He also have describe the wheel of consumer behaviour in five elements which are cconsumers in the marketplace, consumers as individuals, consumers as decision makers, consumers and subcultures, consumers and cultures.

Green consumption is the level of production and consumer consumption in green products and the usage of recycling of materials, energy consumption towards protecting the environment and natural preservation. It could be categories into four parts which will define the green consumption. The first part is the high usage of natural resources for heavy production due to high consumption. Secondly is the reduction in waste management and emission issue due to heavy production, the usage of hazardous materials, product disposal habits, fast replacement in due to demand in consumption and usage, re usage of products. Thirdly is the safety concern due to unhealthy environment from the improper choice and use of material by not getting the right information. Fourthly, is the unsafe and unpleasing work environment because of improper safety management and lack of appropriate aesthetics. (Sandra Vandemerwe & Michael D. Oliff, 1990).

It also has been define as Phosphate Free, Recyclable, Refillable, Ozone Friendly and environmental friendly. (Polonsky,1994).In view of this the consumer also have presume that green products are those can be repair, recondition, remanufacture, reuse, recycle and reduce the usage.(Prakash,2002).Apparently the same products have been categories in designing the environment and developing institution to educate on reducing the environmental impact of product use in developing system.(Prakash,2002) .

All the above discuss the same thing in different manner and obviously it will still depend on consumer point of views. Based on the above deviation term, the green consumption will be categories in this paper into eco friendly products, energy saving and cost saving management, waste management, environmental friendly campaign and safety concern.

Eco friendly products

detergents, that have a reduced environmental impact;

Avoiding products with aerosols;

Purchasing recycled paper products (such as toilet tissue and writing paper);

Buying organic produce;

Buying locally produced foods;

Purchasing from a local store;

Buying fairly traded goods;

Looking for products using less packaging;

Using one’s own bag, rather than a plastic carrier provided by a shop.

Energy saving and cost saving management

Waste management

Environmental friendly campaign

Safety aspects

The motivation factor for purchasing green products is identically different compare by countries based on cultural and socio economics conditions of the country. There are numerous literature been done on human psychology that motivate for purchasing green products which have the personal interest, psychology motivation, internal and external factor that drive consumer towards buying intention for supporting the environmental issues.

Firstly the Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs theory(1970) is that advocate the people’s need for understanding the level of motivation factor which giving the primary thought before doing the purchase. The hierarchy positioning the consumer in five levels of needs which are physiological, safety, self belonging, self esteem and self actualisation. Even though the theory process is effecting differently in Malaysia compare to less develop country which identically showing the consumers are satisfied and impetus towards higher level of the hierarchy.

Secondly, Ottman(1993) have quoted that “Those actively seek and support those products satisfy their needs that are having less impact on environment” and also define seven factors that motivate consumers towards green products which are the historical, price, performance, convenience, recommendation of friends, family and trusted third parties information(2011).

Thirdly, Foxall and Goldsmith (1994) suggested on the multidimensional approach in consumer motivation which are the physiological, social, symbolic, hedonic, cognitive and experiential needs. In this theory it’s giving the attention on the needs that define the consumer demands based on the changes in values and the spending power.

Based on the review of the literature, in this research there will be seven factors have been identified in Malaysia which will be a motivation factors for consumer to purchase green products.

Environmental concern

Environmental education

Demographic characteristic

Psychographic characteristic

Product perspective

Consumer responsiveness

Green credentials

Green marketing merely involves the developing and promoting products and services which satisfying the customer who demand for quality performance with affordable prices with convenience which is not impacting the environment. Since, its covered broad part of activities and therefore the terminology have been defined in various manners which consist of “Green Marketing, Ecological Marketing and Environmental Marketing” but commonly refer as green marketing. The role of green marketing is to practice product advertisement or services which refer to the environmental products and services. Moreover its support the manufactures and advertising agencies to develop the consumer awareness and build the relationship towards supporting environmental issues by offering right products and services. Therefore in this paper we will research on the key characteristic of green marketing that influence Malaysian consumer to purchase the products or services.

Ottman(1994) “Green Marketing: Challenge and Opportunities for the New marketing Age” book which covers the marketing strategies for green products and its was ideally referring to the product trust, consumer empowerment, being transparent, right information and price.

Polonsky, M. J has highlighted the key potentials in green marketing through the book of “An Introduction to Green Marketing. In this book the core value of green marketing has been addressed which are the social responsibility, opportunities, cost or profit issues, competitive pressure and governmental pressure.

In the book of Kotler (2006,) has defined marketing as “a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and freely exchanging products and services value with others”. At the same time 4 P’S has been categories to facilitate the detail of marketing mix.

For Malaysia market in this paper it will identically focus on the 4 P’s conventional marketing mix.





Value of the Research

There are a lot of factors that need to be done to get the green revolution process able to be a practice in the country. Based on “Porter Diamond of National Competitive Advantage” the theories were highlighted on the customer demands which could increase the product development with good distribution level by having highly innovative products in the markets.

Eventually the market could be able to interconnect with the buyers and sellers by shaping the regulation and incentive which could increase the innovation in the clear R&D Technology, manufacturing sectors, staff deployment and country infrastructure which could make a depression in the global warning. (Thomas Freidman, 2009).

Since the consumer are the people in the market who could make the decision during their purchase of the product or service, ultimately will determine the success of the company. By doing so the market also is able to see the demand of the green products and what exactly drives them towards purchasing the green products or services.

To determine the attitude of Malaysian consumers towards green products or services the marketing of the products plays a crucial role to educate the consumer for obtaining the products or services. Product advertisement plays an important role to attract consumer at any newly launched products. Which eventually will be able to persuade them to buy instead of going for value for money products?

T o make the consumer convince with the product or service in the green factor and develop awareness on the environmental friendly products which require a positive attitude towards green purchases by emphasising the product through advertisement.

There could be many factors resulting the consumers to decide before their purchases such as scepticism, income, quality and level of education but this research would inspect how does the green credentials is a major factor to attract the consumers to purchase the green product or services.

Research Methodology

In this part the methods used to gather data and to conclude the respond of hypotheses and research questions. The research will be done through research design, data collection methods, sampling data, (Target population, Sampling location, Sampling size, Questionnaire), data analysis and the conclusion.

Research design

This will be done to know the relationship on the independent variables and what could be the dependent variable. In which the quantitative survey will be done to know the relationship between variable using effective statistic such as relative frequencies and correlations. The research design will be divided into three types which are descriptive, experimental and casual research. Descriptive research is mainly to understand the consumer characteristic by defining the research problem by looking into specific methods.

Data collection methods

There will be two methods to be used in collecting the data which are primary and secondary. For the primary data will be collected through standard questionnaire. Whereby for the secondary data will be able to obtain from online journals, internets, books and previous studies.

Sampling data

This method is done to a specific number of populations to conclude the research.

Target population

In this research the main consumer to take part is working group and household group which required the respondent to be in the range of age of 26 to 55years old.

Sampling location

Since the awareness of green marketing or environmental friendly frequently speak at the city centre areas. Therefore the location of sampling questionnaires to be distributed at Carrefour Midvalley Tesco Mutiara Damansara, Jaya Jusco Klang and Parkson Subang.These entire location are at the centre of Kuala Lumpur which has high level of environmental friendly awareness.

Sampling size

An average of 250 to 300 consumers will be targeted for responding the questionnaires.

Questionnaire design

In this questionnaire is divided into two parts which is in part 1 will be consist of age, gender, race, level of education and occupation.

In the part 2 which will be mainly the environmental consciousness, motivational factor, environmental consumption and marketing characteristics which could be the influence factor to attract consumer to purchase green product based on green credentials in the advertising.

Data analysis

The analysis will be done based on the data collection from the SPSS software analysis system. Descriptive analysis will be tabled to make easier understanding on the result that received from the SPSS analysis report.

Pearson Correlation analysis will be presented according to the inferential analysis. In this analysis the variables among the questionnaire could be identified.

Thesis Retro-planning


Action Items



Chapter 1 –


1000 words

Write up chapter 1

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose of research

1.2 Research objective and question

1.3 Quantitative Research

1.4 The approach of the research

1.5 Structure of Dissertation

May 7

May 30

Chapter 2 –

Literature Review

4000 words

To have research on the theories that applied in green marketing.

To identified the green consumption.

To categories the green consumer motivation factors towards buying the green products.

To evaluate the key green marketing characteristics.

Analyze and critique the relevant materials

To summarize the findings and to state the perspective.

June 1

June 30

Chapter 3 –

Green credentials in Malaysia market

1500 words

Chapter 3

3.0 Research Question

3.1 Green Credential

To gather materials to describe on the green credentials involvement in green marketing in Malaysia.

June 15

June 30

Chapter 4 –



1500 words

a) Design questionnaire and test

Refine and finalize questionnaire

1 May

May 30

Conduct surveys

Conduct surveys at;

Mid valley Carrefour

Tesco Mutiara Damansara

Jaya Jusco Klang

Parkson Subang Jaya

Those locations are the prime area in Kuala Lumpur city centre with the highest number of consumer in the respective malls.

1 June

1 July

e) Collect back completed surveys

1 July

15 July

f) Survey compilation

1 July

31 July

g) Analysis of survey

1 August

15 August

Chapter 5 – Results

3500 words

Analyze the results according to the question and put into the relevant subjects

15 August

31st August

Chapter 6 – Conclusion

1000 words

Conclusion of the research and suggestion or recommendation will be highlighted.

1st September

15 September

Final Draft

Write up final draft by 15 October

15 September

15 October

Thesis Submission

28 October 2011

Provisional Chapter Details

Below is the outline of the chapter proposal for this dissertation paper;

Chapter 1

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose of research

1.2 Green Issue in Malaysia (ok or not)

1.2 Research objective and question

1.3 Quantitative Research

1.4 The approach of the research

1.5 Structure of Dissertation

Chapter 2

2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Green Consumption

2.1.1 Eco friendly products

2.1.2 Energy saving and cost saving management

2.1.3 Waste management

2.1.4 Environmental friendly campaign

2.1.5 Safety aspects

2.2 Green motivation factors for green products

2.2.1 Environmental concern

2.2.2 Environmental education


Business Community

Education Institutions

2.2.3 Demographic characteristic





2.2.4 Psychographic characteristic

Government Role

Non Government Organization


2.2.5 Product perspective

2.2.6 Consumer responsiveness

2.2 Green Marketing Characteristic

2.3.1 Product

2.3.2 Place

2.3.3 Price

2.3.4 Promotion

Chapter 3

3.0 Research Question

3.1 Green Credential

Chapter 4

4.0 Research Methodology

Chapter 5

5.0 Research Result

5.1 Green Consumption

5.2 Green motivation factors for green products

5.3 Green Marketing Characteristic

Chapter 6

6.0 Research Conclusion


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