The green mate appeal: Men's pro‐environmental consumption is an honest signal of commitment to their partner

Sylvie Borau, Leila Elgaaied-Gambier, and Camilla Barbarossa


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 green‐feminine 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 men can increase their value as long‐term mates by engaging in green consumption. We also investigate whether men involved in a long‐term mating relationship are indeed eco‐friendlier, testing the novel hypothesis that green consumption is an honest signal of commitment. Finally, we specify the type of commitment that is associated with men's green consumption. 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. We discuss how companies and governments can use these findings to increase green consumption among men.

Published in

Psychology and Marketing, vol. 38, n. 2, February 2021, pp. 266–285