National Post

Green buyers may feel entitled to steal: study
National Post

Purchasing green products may license people to engage in self-interested and unethical behaviours, such as cheating, stealing and lying, according to a newly published study.

The study, in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science and conducted by University of Toronto professors Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, set out to determine how green consumption fits into people’s sense of social responsibility and how if affects their behaviour.

« While mere exposure can activate concepts related to social responsibility and ethical conduct and induce corresponding behaviours, purchasing green products may produce the counterintuitive effect of licensing asocial and unethical behaviours by establishing moral credentials, » the researchers write.

In other words, the moral halo people feel after purchasing green products might lead them to develop a holier-than-thou attitude, whether conscious or not, that could ulimately manifest in immoral acts.