The social attitude : behavior gap among swiss millennials : the fairtrade Max Havelaar case

  • Yannic Egli (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Public interest in sustainability has been steadily increasing and consumers mainly hold favorable attitudes toward this idea; however, these are not univocally reflected in purchase behaviors. There exists an attitude-behavior gap. While existing research mainly investigated this gap within the field of environmental sustainability, this research explores the concept from a different angle: the social dimension of sustainability. Fairtrade Max Havelaar, an established Swiss non-profit organization, is taken as a reference example to visualize the concept of social sustainability respectively social consumerism. Further, the sustainability conscious cohort Generation Y is the target segment of this research. In essence, the present thesis studies the social attitude-behavior gap among Swiss Millennials based on the example of Fairtrade Max Havelaar. The leading objective of this empirical research is to investigate the relationship between social attitude and social purchase behavior and how it is impacted by various influencing factors. The results prove the existence of a statistically significant gap between the two variables with the four factors perceived personal importance, habits, trust and awareness being significant mediators. Based on these insights, organizations operating in the field of social sustainability should be aware of a potential attitude-behavior gap. The findings imply that this gap may be decreased through raising the perceived personal importance, trust, awareness and the willingness to switch products (habits). That is assuming communication has already been adapted to today’s sustainability-shaped world and to the target segment. Suggestions on how to effectively communicate sustainability-related topics and reach Gen Y are provided.
Date of Award15 Oct 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorArianna Brioschi (Supervisor)


  • Attitude
  • Behavior
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Social consumerism
  • Gen Y


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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