Sustainable Retail Spaces: Establishing the Profiles of a "Green Population"

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This article was originally published as:

Williams, A., Ostwald, M., Brewer, G., Le Goff, R. (2014). Sustainable retail spaces: Establishing the profile of a "green population". Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, 4(1), 77-90. Retrieved from http://ijf.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.203/prod.175

ISSN: 2154-8676



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This paper surfaces and describes the “green” population—those who, by their attitudes and/or personal behaviours, align with a sustainable social agenda. It reveals their expectations in relation to sustainable retail environments. The literature is used to identify dimensions that influence individual attitudes and consequent behaviours, in relation to environmental issues, particularly in relation to home and retail environments. These are then used to inform the conduct of eight focus groups of consumers in two tightly defined geographical areas, containing a mix of retail centre types, which are subsequently subjected to telephone surveys. Each investigation is analysed using appropriate qualitative or quantitative techniques and the results thereafter triangulated. It was found that the concept of the “green” shopper is an oversimplification, with various shades of green existing. These variations arise as a consequence of age, gender, household income, occupation, and level of education and are reflected in personal attitudes and beliefs, as well as behaviours at home and expectations of sustainable retail spaces. The designs for environmentally sustainable retail spaces are only economically sustainable if they are socially acceptable. Understanding the individual nature of the ‘green’ shopper, and the size of the ‘green’ shopper population, is central to decision-making in this regard. This research is believed to be the first critical analysis of what constitutes the ‘green’ population in terms of retail environments.


This article may be accessed from the publisher here.

At time of writing Anthony Williams is affiliated with Avondale College of Higher Education