Pro-environmental messages have more effect when they come from less familiar brands

Vera Herédia-Colaço*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This research aims to compare consumer responses to pro-environmental communication and appeals to recycle packaging when these messages come from a high-familiarity versus a low-familiarity brand. Design/methodology/approach: Two online between-subjects experimental studies evaluate consumer perceptions and the willingness to comply with recycling appeals in response to pro-environmental communications from a high-familiarity versus a low-familiarity brand. To test the hypotheses, the studies examine the moderating role of sustainability habits and the mediating role of shared environmental responsibility. Findings: Findings show that communicating a brand’s adoption of sustainable packaging is more salient to consumers when the appeal comes from a low-familiarity rather than a high-familiarity brand, especially when sustainability habits are weaker. The mediating role of shared environmental responsibility partly explains consumers’ commitment to act pro-environmentally. Research limitations/implications: Sustainability officials and policymakers should consider the impact of pro-environmental interventions that encourage collective recycling between brands and consumers. Practitioners are encouraged to examine revised waste management schemes such as extended producer responsibility programs to elicit the collaboration of consumers in initiatives that boost recycling and stimulate pro-environmental behaviors. Originality/value: Using the diagnosticity–accessibility framework and habit theory, to the best of the author’s knowledge, this research is among the first to empirically examine the role of sustainability habits in consumer responses to pro-environmental brand communications. It also highlights consumers’ willingness to comply with brands’ take-back programs in a shared effort to reduce plastic waste and encourage a circular economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-453
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Brand familiarity
  • Commitment
  • Consumer perceptions
  • Pro-environmental brand communication
  • Shared environmental responsibility
  • Sustainability habits
  • Sustainable packaging


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