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December 01, 2021

Environmentalists more inclined to act dishonest: study

If you’re in, say, an SUV at the gas pump these days, you almost have to hang your head.

It’s not because you can’t afford to fill its tank, it’s because of that snooty look people give your choice of vehicle. The car itself may be comfortable and awesome, but where public perception is concerned, some can make it feel like you’ve painted swastikas across your own windshield or something.

But for that condescending group – the hoity-toity environmentalists who take themselves a little too  seriously – eat this!

A new study from the University of Toronto has found a link between green consumers and dishonesty.

According to The Star, which published the findings, eco-minded people prove to be more likely to “lie, cheat (and) steal” – presumably justifying it because their consumer behaviour, seen as morally good, gives them a licence to act deceitful.

The study, Do Green Products Make Us Better People?, used U of T students as guinea pigs and is based on results from three separate experiments.

Read here for a much better summary of the study than I could give (starting seven paragraphs down), but the most telling of the exercises involved participants “stealing” money after completing pro-green consumer behaviour.

After “shopping” in either a conventional or green-themed store, those from the latter group “lied and cheated” much more than those from the former, according to The Star.

Nina Mazar, one of study’s lead researchers, said the findings were “nothing bad … it’s just how it is,” yet there might be an underlying importance here no one’s talking about.

Thinking of the planet is great, but if we can finally pin something against the kind of uppity environmentalist who turns their nose at the rest of us, that might be this study’s crowning achievement after all.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...