Leeds Business School

The Phenomenon of Green Mothers

Heightened awareness and understanding of the impact of the sustainability agenda is impacting on society in many different ways.  In a recent article in Retail Review, Shannen Li identifes the emergence of ‘green mothers’ as an increasingly prominent segment of the consumer market that exert a significant influence on the values of the next generation.
The Rose Bowl

There has been growing interest in studying motherhood consumption patterns and the influences they have on households and communities as a whole.  The lifestyle choices and consumer behaviour associated with the relatively recent phenomenon of green mothers reflects the value that they place on the health and safety of their household, their inclination to minimize risk and to seek better control over their surroundings.  

Mothers have various concerns associated with the health and safety of the products they buy, how animals are treated as they are turned into meat and dairy based products, and also the authenticity of product labelling.  A consistent finding emerging from a body of research is that mothers are truly concerned about their families’ food consumption, especially regarding the types of food they put on the table for their offspring.

Studying green mothers helps marketers to reach out for this niche market with products and services that ease them to be more in control in looking after their children’s health.  For example, studies have shown the benefits of erasing chemical ingredients such as bisphenol A (BPA) from plastic water bottles and baby products, and also gearing towards more organic produce in baby and infant food, a market which is estimated by Allied Market  Research to be worth $11.6m by 2023. 

However, there are some on-going debates associated with the true motivations for green mothers in their go-to-green and environmentally friendly lifestyles.  The main talking points are whether they are truly concerned about environmental sustainability or merely interested in it as a status symbol for middle to upper class mothers to be seen buying eco friendly and organic products? There appear to be various shades of green where some ‘light green mothers’ adopt whatever green lifestyle practices that they can fit into their daily busy lives as modern mothers. Convenience is the key influencing factor for them in opting for their green consumerism choices.

It would appear that green mothers, whatever their shade are an emergent and growing segment of the consumer market.  Not only are they the “boss” of the family in terms of shopping for products and services, but they are also directly educating their families about green consumption choices. As consumers, they present a market opportunity for business whilst at the same time acting as role models to providing the next generation with the values and knowledge to live and contribute to a sustainable world. 

The full article is available in the latest edition of Retail Review.  The Review is a publication produced by the Retail Institute by and for its members. For more information on the Retail Institute, please contact Olga Munroe o.munroe@leedbeckett.ac.uk


More from the blog

All blogs