Can we shop ourselves to a clean sea? An experimental panel approach to assess the persuasiveness of private labels as a private governance approach to microplastic pollution

Mar Pollut Bull. 2020 Apr;153:110927. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.110927. Epub 2020 Feb 19.


In this study, we conducted an experimental panel survey in Norway, Germany and Portugal to explore consumers' willingness to pay more for products that are certified microplastic free. This is placed within the context of private certification schemes and private governance as mechanisms to increase consumer conscientiousness, establish a higher environmental standard in terms of microplastic and reduce marine pollution. We find that consumers in general are very conscious about the issue, would generally prefer products that are microplastics free, but would seldom choose these when there is a price premium on the label. This had a geographical offset though, with the results aligning with that of political trust in the nation, with Norwegians being less likely to purchase items with price premiums for private governance labels, and Portugal being most likely to - even with a price premium.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Experimental Internet panel survey; Microplastics.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Policy*
  • Germany
  • Microplastics*
  • Norway
  • Plastics
  • Portugal
  • Water Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Water Pollution / prevention & control*


  • Microplastics
  • Plastics