The emergence of a corporate culture of investments in sustainability has presented many opportunities and challenges in understanding consumer behavior. In a world of choices, the reasons consumers purchase one product over another can be driven by a multitude of factors. One central tenet affecting the environmentally conscious consumers’ Purchase Intent (PI) towards a company that may or may not demonstrate the same environmental ideas as them lies in the company’s Brand Equity. The assumption is that strong relationships between consumers and the brand equity they place on companies help create stronger, more favorable brand associations, improving brand preference and consequently influencing levels of consumer acceptance. So even though, there is a growing evidence that consumers’ PI are highly correlated with companies that demonstrate a sustainability component, by integrating the literature on Brand Equity and Brand Preferences, this paper hopes to investigate how then does Brand Equity affect consumers’ PI towards companies with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability?
In this project, I’m motivated by a desire to understand how to create impactful change through the adoption of sustainable consumption practices and lifestyles. As the negative effects of climate change continue to grow, I seek to better understand how I and my peers can make changes in our own lives to move away from unsustainable consumption practices. In this project, I explore the unique community of Colorado College (CC) and ask questions about this community’s culture, values, and practices in an attempt to better understand how messages of sustainability infused into popular culture can translate into meaningful action. I use focus groups to build a dialogue around CC’s culture and shed light on some of the sustainability successes and challenges faced by this community. I found that many individuals within the Colorado College community perceive the school’s unique culture as supportive of a narrative of sustainability. When thought of through a sociological perspective, this finding can have implications for the ways individuals act and consume within their social realm. Additionally, I found that in some ways, the dominant culture at Colorado College depends on classed expressions of taste and positionality, thus pointing to the exclusionary potential of this culture. This research holds implications for the ways messages of sustainability can be infused into and supported by popular culture and sheds light on some of the challenges and successes faced by communities with a perceived strong emphasis on sustainable lifestyles. In the future, this research can lead to a discussion of how sustainable consumption practices and lifestyles can be promoted through the process of shifting cultural norms and the implementation of institutional initiatives.