Going green is all about being friendly to nature and resources in the world that beneficial the society and the world. Green technology also known as clean technology is something new in the globe which refers to the application of knowledge for practical to be used in a way that conserves natural resources and the environment. The thing that usually being used, cars driven on the road, clothing and grocery bags being changed to environment friendly item is a way of going green. Going green can also mean changing the business papers to recycled papers in a firm or maybe alternative power sources used in home. Green economy is not only about the color. It is indeed beneficial for the economy and its society. “Technology and innovation are viewed as key drivers in the move towards a greener, low-carbon economy. Indeed, many governments see the application of green manufacturing technologies in the pursuit of eco-innovations as the cornerstone of their policies for economic growth more generally” (Dean Bartlett, 2009; Anna Trifilova, 2009).
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Without innovation, there are no improvements. Green technology encompasses a continuously innovation and evolving of materials and methods to generate energy to non-toxic cleaning products. It is the future to the society to find ways to produce technology that do not damage or deplete the Earth’s natural resources. One major area of green economy is how society allocates the resources and how to create a sustainable economy.
Malaysia is one of the first Asian countries to have a serious interest and effort towards mitigating the negative effect of human beings activities on the environment by releasing a law in 1974. There are several laws that regulate the environmental management of chemical substances in different area such as the Environmental Quality Act 1974. The Environmental Quality Act, 1974 is related to the control of chemical substances in air and hazardous wastes. (Razman, M.R., A. Azlan, J.M. Jahi, K. Arifin, K. Aiyub, A. Awang and Z.M. Lukman, 2010. Urban sustainability and Malaysian laws on environmental management of chemical substances. Res. J. Applied Sci., 5: 172-176.) The idea was continually active since the third Malaysian plan until the ninth plan. “We need to go green”. The citizen have to provide enough incentives for private and public sectors to invest in green technology. For a start, the government recently approved that the Prime Minister’s Office must be a green building. That would set as a benchmark. That has already been decided by the cabinet and is being implemented” says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his closing remarks at the 2011 Budget consultation meeting. (The Star, July 2010)
Background of study
The research is conducted to clear everyone’s doubt and to create awareness of the importance of green technology. Firms are chasing over the constantly changing world. Green technology has been a trend in order to gain competitive advantage and to perform social responsibility. The paradigm shift in the global arena towards a green economy and low carbon growth or known as “green techno economic paradigm” is developed by Freeman (1992), Kemp (1994), Speth (1989).
Green technology has been implemented in other countries since some time ago but it is not popular among society. Government and non-governmental organization (NGO) had taken much action to implement green technology into society and daily life. Study had been done by researcher to prove the benefits but the problem is the behavior of consumer. One behavior identified by Laroche et al. (2001) that affects consumer willingness to pay more for green products is the consideration of environmental issues when making purchase decisions. Individuals that have egoistic value orientation will only consider costs and benefits of the product to themselves and vice versa, individuals with a social-altruistic value orientation will view the ecosystem as a whole and base their green consumer decision on benefits for other people and environment. Mentality of the consumer is the major question to the manufacturer. Products must be cheap and within the budget of the consumer in order to pursue them to purchase. However, going green might add a little cost to the process, so the product will definitely be slightly higher than the normal products.
Besides that, the main reason to apply green technology in life is due to the capacity to endure the biological systems to remain diverse and productive over time. Sustainability is therefore not only the need to respect the bottom line of the three “Ps” planet, people and profit – (Kleindorfer et al., 2005) but to remain the long-lived and healthy wetlands and natural resources of Mother Nature. Enabling sustainability is allowing the Earth to continue supporting the human life. The 3R slogan – “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” has been implemented for some time but is not practiced by society.
Researcher has also proven that green technology not only helps to reduce environmental issues, it does bring a positive economic effect to a country too. “Many governments see the application of green manufacturing technologies in the pursuit of eco-innovations as the cornerstone of their policies for economic growth more generally” (Defra, 2008). Green investments have a dual positive economic effect on aggregate supply and demand. The recent Green Economic reported by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that a strategy of reallocating investments towards the green economy may lead to slower potential economic growth for a few years, as renewable natural resources are replenished, but will result in the long run in faster economic growth. Investments in the green economy will result in the long term and increased employment, as green investments are generally more employment intensive, and have direct benefits in terms of poverty reduction.
Next, Malaysia’s government had launched the RM1.5 billion Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) on 26th January 2010 (The Star, July 2010). This move is intended to attract the private sector to participate in Green Technology entrepreneurship. It is hoped that this fund will be able to facilitate and fast track efforts by companies that are now pursuing green technology businesses. Having provided the catalyst for green businesses to grow in the country, we envisage the initiatives that the government had implemented so far will generate impressive economic multiplier effects.
One of the most important aspects on the move towards a green economy and sustainable development is the usage of green energy or more commonly known as Renewable Energy (RE). Whilst conventional fuel such as oil, gas and coal are the dominant fuels in the world today, the use of these conventional fuels release huge amounts of green house gases which are the main contributors to climate change and global warming, an issue that has been debated around the world. Our non-renewable resources are finite and, eventually, will deplete if no new sources are discovered and developed. Therefore, apart from the global warming, the awareness on the importance of conserving and managing our natural resources in a judicious manner is very important. The importance of the renewable energy sector in Malaysia has been recognized since the Eighth Malaysia Plan, i.e., from year 2000 when the Five Fuel Policy was introduced. The indigenous RE sources that have been identified are biomass, biogas, and mini hydro and solar to generate electricity, apart from oil, coal and gas. Moving forward, the Government has approved the Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan which will be implemented by Malaysia Ministry in year 2011. This new policy is expected to enhance the utilization of RE resources in order to contribute towards supply security and sustainable development in the energy sector. In the building sector, green builders now have a competitive advantage over traditional builders.
Malaysia is currently in a critical period moving towards a developed nation. In order to achieve and get through this period, the Malaysian government is taking bold steps to manage the looming environmental challenges and issues which we face and will face if no action is taken. In fact, Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water is formed by the government in Malaysia. The ministry of green technology outlined 4 key factors to be addressed i.e. the energy, building, water and waste management and the transportation sector. The Malaysian Green Building Index (GBI), a rating tool that was launched in early 2009, provides an opportunity for developers and building owners to design and construct green, sustainable buildings that can provide energy and water saving whilst providing a healthier indoor environment.
However, government is still facing problem with the society and the thinking of Malaysian which are left out behind because of the mentality not to evolve and remain comfortable in the current position without noticing the danger. People who are already involved in the green building market are ahead of the masses. This advantage will continue to grow and energy-efficient building practices will soon become the norm. Sustainable and low-carbon provision of housing and office-space will play a key role in fighting climate change. The problem in Malaysia is the low level of awareness in consumer. They are not willing to take another step ahead to make the green technology happen. Without realizing the benefits and advantages in using green technology, consumers are indirectly polluting the world and environment every day.
What are the factors that affect the level of consumer awareness towards green technology in Malaysia?
This study is an attempt to gain further information towards consumer awareness towards green technology in Malaysia. Green technology is not popular in Malaysia compared to other countries. Listed below are the objectives of this research:
To determine the factors that affecting consumer awareness towards green technology
In curiosity to identify what are the main components or criteria that affect consumers’ awareness towards green technology in Malaysia, journals of the past researchers has been viewed. The background of the research and the effort put into implementing green technology has been identified and the major factors are known.
To identify the level of awareness among consumer towards green technology
Different people from different backgrounds may have different perceptions on a product. In addition to that, different demographic groups may have different perceptions to the green product and normal goods. The research can identify and find out the level of awareness of consumer towards green technology in Malaysia.
To identify the relationship between all the variables (technology innovation, ecological aspect, business strategy, and value, beliefs, norm) with consumer awareness towards green technology
It is difficult to predict the consumer minds and their preferences towards a product. Several researches had been conducted to understand consumer, the way they behave and what are the factor that causes them react towards a product. Leading factors such as price and quality are always the top concerns to the consumers. Partial of the consumers may focus on low prices goods while neglecting the quality and benefit of the product in long term. Thus, they will neglect the latest knowledge and technology advancement that are used in manufacturing or in operating the product. Besides that, the business strategy used in a firm does affects the consumer awareness level. The promotion and marketing skills in creating an impact in the consumer is very important. Lastly, the level of awareness about green technology in a consumer is affected by the trend, culture, belief or norms they lived in.
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To identify the barrier of implementing green technology
There are still some difficulties to persuade the society to use green technology in their daily life. This research can identify what are the factors that become the barrier in achieving a green world. Based on the result of the findings, the authority will know where to take action on to ensure consumers are aware and practice green habits.
Justifications of Research
There is always space to improve. Innovation is imperative for human and society to keep moving forward. Innovation is about knowledge and creating new possibilities through combining different knowledge sets. Knowledge could be based on our experienced, process of search into technologies, markets and competitor actions. Knowledge could exist in explicit form; be accessed, discussed, transferred or in tacit form; known about but not actually put into words or formulae. Consumers as one of factor that allows technology innovation should be aware of the advancement.
As a consumer, we must always think of mother Earth as we are only borrowing the land from the creator. Consumer should aware of technology that can help reduce pollution or harm to the world. The best way is to keep up with the latest news and catch up with the current issues. Consumers should practice high social responsibility when purchasing or using a product.
Some firms and organizations practice green technology due to the function as a business strategy. Since the government already set the mission and vision for the country, the only thing for the firms to do is implement a green way of doing business. Based on the SWOT analysis; strength, weakness, opportunities and threats, firms need to follow the trend and take and extra step to gain competitive advantage in the particular industry. For example, some shopping complexes practice “No Plastic Bag Day” on every Saturday. Besides going green, the firm can reduce the amount of cost.
Value, beliefs, norms
Several researchers have argued that green consumer behavior is determined by a multitude of factors depending on type of behavior and involvement with the product and behavior (Black et al., 1985; Cleveland et al., 2005; Roberts and Bacon, 1997). Consumer purchases the product they used in daily life due to the culture and environment they lived in. It is a long term thing; if a child is brought up to practice recycling, he will continue doing so until he is a grown man. Stern (2000) presents four categories of determinants of green consumer behaviors: contextual forces, attitudinal factors, habits or routines and personal capabilities. Besides that, green technology will be applied in daily life when consumer belief in the value of doing so. If only the consumer have the knowledge and understanding of green technology, they will definitely practice a green lifestyle and influence others to do so. The values most strongly related to activating pro-environmental personal norms and thus influencing green behaviors have been found to be social-altruistic, biospheric and egoistic values (de Groot and Steg, 2008; Hansla et al., 2008; Stern et al., 1999).
Significance of the Study
Consumers’ preferences and their behavior can bring a huge impact to the country economy. The demographic data in this research will provide us the study of personal data of consumers. The demographic characteristics which consist of race, age, gender, education level and income are crucial for the marketing department in a firm. Thus, the study on the demographic characteristics of consumers will help to discover which groups of consumers are aware of green technology in Malaysia.
Through this research, companies will notice about which aspects the consumer concern most. Firms are able to understand their valued consumers more to take the next action in help the government implement a green world.
Scope of the Study
Due to the advancement of technology and the changing lifestyle, green technology has been implemented to save the environment. Everyone is encouraged to use green products in their daily life. The problem here is the low level of awareness among consumer on how important green technology really brings to the world. For this research, Malaysian has been the target of research. Primary data is used to analysis the results. Data will be collected through questionnaires that are distributed to different group of people. Through this method, the data collected would have a wider range of people in Malaysia. The more data collected the higher reliability of the results. Closed questions are used in the questionnaire to avoid sensitive issue and quicker for respondents to answer. Besides that, answers are easier to code and statically analyze. Besides that, secondary data from journals and past researchers are used to help in this finding.
Organization of Report
Chapter 1 : Introduction
In the first chapter of the research, it would always be the main introduction and the background of this research. The topics included in this chapter would be the objectives of the research. These sections will briefly explain the factors that affect consumer awareness towards green technology in Malaysia. Finally, the justification of the research will help to justify the variables that are involved in this research.
Chapter 2 : Literature Review
A specific study will be conducted on the dependent variable and independent variables. The main purpose for this chapter is to weigh the pros and cons of the topic and to discuss in details on the ideas and knowledge concerned. In this chapter, every definition of the dependent variable and independent variables will be cited from the journals in order to strengthen every point mentioned. Several of arguments and various points of views from different authors in order to provide a stronger formation of each point can be found in this chapter.
Chapter 3 : Research Methodology
Research methodology is usually conducted after the study of literature review. In this chapter, a theoretical framework will be formed to illustrate the relationships between the dependent variable and the independent variables. Hypotheses or a proposed explanation which were made on the basis of limited evidences will explain the relationships between two or more variables. All the hypotheses stated will be tested together with empirical data. This chapter also includes the description of the sampling data, data collections and as well as the development of the questionnaire for this research.
Chapter 4 : Data Analysis
After questionnaires are collected from all the respondents, a few tests will be conducted to test on the reliability of the results. The responds of the questionnaires from the respondents are represented by a set of numbers that symbolize their own significant meanings. Whereas the tests that will be carry out are to analyze the responses from the respondents so that it will derive to a stronger conclusion at the end of this research.
Chapter 5 : Conclusion
This chapter will provide the final outcome of this research. Thus, the final results will be explained and we will be able to identify how the exact hypotheses that formed earlier are hold.
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