The effects of eco-labels and eco-claims on consumers’ purchase intention : the moderating role of regulatory focus
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- Master Thesis 
As consumers increasingly realize the impacts of their consumption patterns on the environment, many try to pursue a more sustainable purchase behavior by dedicating particular attention to environmentally friendly product attributes. In response to the growing interest in sustainable products, brands adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. To persuade consumers to purchase a certain product, companies voluntarily display eco-labels and eco-claims designating environmental friendliness on their packaging. However, due to different foci in how people regulate their behavior, these types of nudges may not be equally effective for all types of customers. Since little research sheds light on that combination of topics, this study aims to fill the gap by investigating the effects of eco-labels and eco-claims as well as the potential moderating impacts of regulatory focus on purchase intentions. It further examines how the suspicion of greenwashing influences the effectiveness of eco-labels and eco-claims. By collecting quantitative data, the researchers took an explanatory approach to scrutinize the effects of eco-labels and eco-claims on consumers’ purchase intentions. Data was obtained from 306 participants in a 2 (no eco-label, eco-label) × 2 (no eco-claim, eco-claim) between-subjects factorial design. Afterwards, the participants were classified and analyzed according to their regulatory focus. The research scope is narrowed down to the MSC eco-label for seafood and German residents. The key findings reveal that eco-labels and eco-claims have the potential to differently affect consumers’ purchase intention. On the one hand, the expected moderating effect between regulatory focus and eco-labels could not be identified in this study. On the other hand, the results show a significant mediation effect of the suspicion of greenwashing on the effectiveness of eco-labels for prevention-focused consumers. The suspicion of greenwashing tends to increase for prevention-focused consumers if exposed to eco-labels alone. Yet, supporting the eco-label with an eco-claim seems to reduce prevention-focused consumers’ suspicion of greenwashing.