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A Network Approach to Understanding "Green Buying": A Literature Review


  • Susanna Xu

    (University of Galway - NUI Galway - National University of Ireland [Galway])

  • Helen Walker

    (University of Bath [Bath])

  • Agnès Nairn

    (emlyon business school)

  • Thomas Johnsen

    () (Audencia Recherche - Audencia Business School)


Consumers and organisations are increasingly considering longer term sustainability issues when they purchase or supply goods or services: "green buying" appears to be gaining momentum. However, progress is slow and the percentage of green purchases has remained static at 2% for the last two years. This paper suggests that a network approach to the drivers of green purchasing and supply may provide a fruitful way of gaining a deeper understanding of the issues and of moving towards a greener future for individuals and organisations alike. Currently two parallel bodies of literature exist: consumer behaviour research investigating the values and behavioural motivations of green (and non-green) individuals; and strategic business research analysing the differential responses of firms to a range of pressures to operate in a sustainable fashion. However, there has been little attempt so far to view consumers, businesses and other stakeholders as interdependent actors within a network. In this paper we analyse and synthesis both sets of literature and produce a network picture which shows the links and bond between actors. We suggest that governments and business may find this (literally) joined up view of the green debate particularly useful in understanding how to effect network change in such a way as to nurture more sustainable organisations and, ultimately, societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Susanna Xu & Helen Walker & Agnès Nairn & Thomas Johnsen, 2007. "A Network Approach to Understanding "Green Buying": A Literature Review," Post-Print hal-00858349, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00858349
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. O'Brien, Christopher, 1999. "Sustainable production - a new paradigm for a new millennium," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-7, April.
    2. McCarty, John A. & Shrum, L. J., 1994. "The recycling of solid wastes: Personal values, value orientations, and attitudes about recycling as antecedents of recycling behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 53-62, May.
    3. Gonzalez-Torre, Pilar L. & Adenso-Diaz, B. & Artiba, Hakim, 2004. "Environmental and reverse logistics policies in European bottling and packaging firms," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 95-104, March.
    4. Alba, Joseph W & Hutchinson, J Wesley, 1987. "Dimensions of Consumer Expertise," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 411-454, March.
    5. Thogersen, John & Olander, Folke, 2002. "Human values and the emergence of a sustainable consumption pattern: A panel study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 605-630, October.
    6. Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1993. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 108-108, April.
    7. Knox, Simon & Maklan, Stan, 2004. "Corporate Social Responsibility:: Moving Beyond Investment Towards Measuring Outcomes," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 508-516, October.
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    Green; Marketing; Supply; networks;


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