How good products make you feel: The underlying emotions of ethical consumerism

  • Margit Hain Leiden University
Keywords: sustainability, positive affect, ethical consumerism, marketing


Ethical consumerism describes a more conscious way of consumption embracing products which are produced in a fair and/or environmentally positive manner. This paper investigates this growing market by explaining which emotions are evoked by these ethical products. It is argued that the psychological fundament for purchasing green products is “feeling good”, “feeling moral” and “feeling powerful”. First, “feeling good” embraces positive emotions and effects on one’s own health and well- being. Secondly, “feeling moral” describes evoked feelings of morality and altruistic concerns about human, animal, and environmental welfare. Thirdly, “feeling powerful” focuses on ethical consumerism as means to increase one’s own power and social status. Each of these emotions is analyzed by psychological theories and a practical example. At the end of the paper, the effect of the negative emotions such as fear and anger, and the possibility to combine various emotional strategies are discussed.

Author Biography

Margit Hain, Leiden University
Faculty of Psychology