Neutralisation and Mental Accounting in Ethical Consumption: The Case of Sustainable Holidays
AbstractThe present research aimed to investigate the decision-making process for sustainable holidays, as a type of ethical consumption related to environmental welfare. Using semi-structured in-depth interviews with 20 German holidaymakers of different ages, it was found that individuals use cognitive processes such as neutralisation and mental accounting to justify their unethical/unsustainable choices and to manage negative emotions. The findings also indicated a lack of spillovers between sustainable behaviours at home and holiday-related behaviours. This could be explained by the identification of â€œethicalâ€ and â€œunethicalâ€ mental accounts, which the interviewees have disclosed. When the compensation between the two types of mental accounts takes place, neutralisation is not used. It was also found that positive and negative emotions could motivate the choice of sustainable holidays. These findings have implications in relation to marketing communications aimed at creating awareness and encouraging the purchase of sustainable holidays.
sustainable holidays; ethical consumption; neutralisation; mental accounting; emotions