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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

The Green Mate Appeal: Men’s Pro-Environmental Consumption is an Honest Signal of Commitment to Their Partner

Published: May 27, 2020


Sylvie Borau, Toulouse Business School; Leila Elgaaied-Gambier, TBS Business School; Camilla Barbarossa, Toulouse Business School


Pro-environmental consumption; Sexual selection; Signaling


Green consumption is associated with femininity. This green-feminine stereotype has been accused of deterring men from buying green products to protect their gender identity. Here, we investigate whether men can benefit from this stereotype, beyond the status effect of green conspicuous consumption. We propose that green consumption can act as a signal of altruism and high commitment both as a partner and as a father. Based on evidence showing that these traits are sought in a long-term partner, we predict that male consumers can increase their long-term mating value by engaging in green consumption. We also investigate whether men involved in a long-term mating relationship are eco-friendlier, testing the novel hypothesis that green consumption is an honest signal of commitment. Across six studies, our findings suggest that green consumption is an honest signal of men’s long-term mating value and that it is a more reliable sign of partner commitment than of father commitment.