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Flying in the face of environmental concern: why green consumers continue to fly.

McDonald, Seonaidh; Oates, Caroline J.; Thyne, Maree; Timmis, Andrew J.; Carlile, Claire


Seonaidh McDonald

Caroline J. Oates

Maree Thyne

Andrew J. Timmis

Claire Carlile


Some unsustainable consumer behaviours have proved extremely hard to change or even challenge. Despite the fact that flying can be more damaging than any other activity that an individual can undertake, many otherwise green consumers still choose to fly, offering an opportunity to elicit narratives about the differences between their attitudes and behaviours. Qualitative interview data were gathered from self-selected green consumers and set within a cognitive dissonance analytical framework. Four strategies were uncovered: not changing travel behaviour (but offering justifications related to travel product, travel context or personal identity); reducing or restricting flights; changing other behaviours to compensate for flying; and stopping flying. This analysis furthers research on green consumer rationales for (un)sustainable behaviours and suggests several avenues for sustainable marketing management.


MCDONALD, S., OATES, C.J., THYNE, M., TIMMIS, A.J. and CARLILE, C. 2015. Flying in the face of environmental concern: why green consumers continue to fly. Journal of marketing management [online], 31(13-14), pages 1503-1528. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 13, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 13, 2015
Publication Date Aug 31, 2015
Deposit Date Sep 9, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 9, 2015
Journal Journal of marketing management
Print ISSN 0267-257X
Electronic ISSN 1472-1376
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 13-14
Pages 1503-1528
Keywords Rationales; Attitude behaviour gap; Sustainability marketing; Cognitive dissonance; Sustainable consumption; Travel decisions
Public URL


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