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Sustainability Study 1: Perceptions of product quality

eye on commerce

In previous stories, you’ve read about the rise of triple bottom line (TBL) sustainability and the Spillover Effect Studies, which explored how significant its effect was across economic, environmental, and social news.

Here’s a look at the first study by the researchers to measure the effect of news on perceptions of product quality.

In this first study, researchers examined the impact of both positive and negative news related to TBL on consumer product quality perceptions.

Participants read a Facebook news post about the positive or negative TBL operations of a fictitious company. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. adults gather their news from a social media source and almost half get it from Facebook.

Participants were exposed to the headline, photo, and caption of a Facebook story.

Of the positive news stories, only favorable economic news (i.e., the firm increased returns on investment for stakeholders) raised consumer perceptions of product quality. Positive environmental and social news did not have a similar effect.

However, negative news about economic, environmental, and socially focused operations in the supply chain significantly decreased consumer perceptions of product quality and can influence purchasing decisions.

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.


Hannah Stolze, PhD, is associate professor of marketing and supply chain management at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. Dr. Stolze earned her PhD in business administration with a concentration in logistics and marketing from the University of Tennessee.