First Advisor

Jacob Suher

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business Administration: Marketing and University Honors


Business Administration


Consumers' preferences, Sustainable design, Consumer behavior, Athletics -- Equipment and supplies -- Technological innovations, Outdoor recreation -- Equipment and supplies -- Technological innovations




In an age of increasing consumer awareness and connectedness, demand for company level innovation that reduces harmful environmental effects has morphed into a baseline expectation. However, an attitude behavior gap is present between consumers’ stated preferences for sustainable innovation in the products they purchase and their follow through purchase behavior. Research presents conflicting evidence concerning the primary motivation for purchasing with the environment in mind, is it concern for the planet, are consumers just following the way of the crowd, or do they not even care at all? Companies often fail to address the sustainable attributes of products due, in part, to the liability that accompanies mentioning attributes focused on sustainability innovations. While eco-innovations have become far more common in all industries, the athletic and outdoor industry has consumers whom are particularly connected to the environment and companies still struggle to tell sustainability stories. This research contributes findings to consumers’ preferences for specific attributes of sustainability, between material, supply chain, and ethical innovations. A qualitative industry survey established baselines for these innovations which were tested in two iterations of consumer facing surveys (n=23, 103). Emergent findings presented consumer preference for ethical innovation over innovation in material or supply chain and conflicting preference for material durability and material environmental friendliness and conflicting preference between material and supply chain environmental friendliness which may be moderated by product function or measured by physical proximity. These emergent findings are being tested in a national sample (n=200) with intent to contribute to academic and industry knowledge about consumer preferences of different aspects of sustainability innovations.


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