Article

Good Intents, but Low Impacts: Diverging Importance of Motivational and Socioeconomic Determinants Explaining Pro-Environmental Behavior, Energy Use, and Carbon Footprint

Authors:
  • ECOLOG-Institute for social-ecological research and education, Germany, Hannover
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Earlier research has yielded contradictory results as to the main drivers of environmentally significant behavior. Intent-oriented research has stressed the importance of motivational aspects, while impact-oriented research has drawn attention to people’s socioeconomic status. In this study, we investigated the diverging role of a pro-environmental stance under these two research perspectives. Data from a German survey (N = 1,012) enabled assessment of per capita energy use, and individual carbon footprints (impact-related measures), pro-environmental behavior (an intent-related measure), and behavior indicators varying in environmental impact and intent. Regression analyses revealed people’s environmental self-identity to be the main predictor of pro-environmental behavior; however, environmental self-identity played an ambiguous role in predicting actual environmental impacts. Instead, environmental impacts were best predicted by people’s income level. Our results show that individuals with high pro-environmental self-identity intend to behave in an ecologically responsible way, but they typically emphasize actions that have relatively small ecological benefits.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... To make a substantive contribution to solving the socio-ecological crisis, psychology has to further develop its problem-solving potential. For this reason, the present paper focuses on discussing the following three, in this respect, promising research domains: (a) identifying the activities and the socio-psychological determinants that have the strongest impact on individuals' ecological footprints (e.g., Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018;Nielsen et al., 2021;Stern, 2000), (b) understanding how windows of opportunity arise for transforming the current, unsustainable, resistant socio-technical systems (e.g., mobility, energy production; Geels, 2002Geels, , 2012Geels, , 2018, and (c) how peopledespite being "locked-in" to unsustainable sociotechnical systemsinvent new social identities (Bamberg et al., 2018;Schulte et al., 2020) and sustainable lifestyles in order to create a solidarity-based quality of life that is not only aimed at protecting the natural environment but also stresses societal justice and cooperation (Isham et al., 2019;WBGU, 2016, p. 133). These suggestions are not extensive but demonstrate that psychological research can contribute to the mitigation of the socio-ecological crisis and give insights into how this can be fruitful for further developing psychology as a society-relevant discipline. ...
... The majority of psychological studies have focused on people's motivation and intent, for instance, in the form of asking people about the extent to which they see themselves as a person whose actions are environmentally friendly (the environmental self-identity; Van der Werff et al., 2013. Meta-analyses and review studies have shown that measures of intent predict self-reported proenvironmental behavior in daily life (e.g., Bamberg & Möser, 2007;Geiger et al., 2019;Klöckner, 2013) and are correlated with the ecological footprint (impact) of people to varying degrees (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). However, the predictive influence of intent (e.g., environmental self-identity) differs and is higher for behaviors with a lower impact, such as purchasing (more) organic foods, than for behaviors with a higher impact, such as predicting (lower) meat consumption or (fewer) car trips (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). ...
... Meta-analyses and review studies have shown that measures of intent predict self-reported proenvironmental behavior in daily life (e.g., Bamberg & Möser, 2007;Geiger et al., 2019;Klöckner, 2013) and are correlated with the ecological footprint (impact) of people to varying degrees (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). However, the predictive influence of intent (e.g., environmental self-identity) differs and is higher for behaviors with a lower impact, such as purchasing (more) organic foods, than for behaviors with a higher impact, such as predicting (lower) meat consumption or (fewer) car trips (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). This shows that investigations of intentions to act pro-environmentally cannot be put on the same level by assuming that these people also have the scope of action for substantially influencing and reducing their CO 2 emissions. ...
Article
Full-text available
The ongoing intensification of the socio-ecological crisis requires a "Great Transformation"(WBGU, 2011) of central societal systems involving aspects such as mobility, energy production, and nutrition. Thus, from a scientific point of view, the Great Transformation is a highly normative topic with a strong focus on societal and political processes of change. We are convinced that psychology can play a fruitful role in creating the social science for sustainability transformation that is needed for this purpose. However, for this to happen, psychology needs a shift toward a more impact-oriented research perspective, focusing on how people can effectively influence their ecological footprint and/or foster societal change as consumers, producers, or active citizens and community members. As starting points for developing such transformation-oriented psychological research perspectives, the present paper shows how a multilevel perspective on societal transfor-mation processes can be combined with the vision of a solidarity-based lifestyle. Against this theoretical backdrop, we see an important role for psychology in studying how people cope with an ecological crisis by inventing new environmental lifestyles and identities, despite being locked into the currently unsustainable socio-technical systems.
... One challenge is that often at the base of many initiatives aimed at changing someone or something-IT-driven or not-lies a rationalism and a belief in the power of information and knowledge, even if it has been demonstrated that knowledge does not always lead to action or to change, especially not when it comes to changing "business as usual" consumption or lifestyles, e.g., [51,52]. One could easily think of people not quitting cigarettes as an example. ...
... The information has to be delivered in the right way, at the right time and supported by the right infrastructures and opportunities for changing behavior. Secondly, behavioral research has shown that when people do try to pursue proenvironmental behavior they often overemphasize the low hanging fruit and then feel that they have accomplished enough [52]. Good intents but low impacts. ...
... Good intents but low impacts. The real predictor of climate impact in [52] was people's income. High income equalled high climate impact. ...
Article
Full-text available
How can an anthropology of digital technology contribute to our understanding of climate mitigating initiatives? Governments and private sector industries argue that climate mitigation must focus on “decoupling” economic growth from carbon emissions if we are to reduce climate impact while still maintaining a healthy economy. Most proponents of decoupling envisage that digitalization will play a central role in this operation. Critics, however, argue that IT has a large and often unacknowledged climate impact, while IT solutions also frequently bring new and unforeseen problems, particular or systemic. The challenge of decoupling is thus broader than the management of the relationship between the economy and the climate. As much as decoupling is about how we imagine that the climate crisis can be solved with technologies, trusting that they can create the changes we need, it is also about the cultural value of lifestyles that we do not want to change. Seeing the climate crisis from this perspective opens the door for an anthropology of digital technology, which allows us to approach decoupling as a matter of how sociocultural change is imagined in the spaces between IT, climate change and society. The article thus contributes to the qualitative social scientific literature on perceptions of change by focusing on some of the ways that implicit ideas of change are embedded in the promotion of digital technologies as solutions to climate change. In addition, it presents to a wider scientific audience the perspectives that an anthropologically inspired analytic may provide on this topic.
... Other studies show that factors such as user motivation and values (Nilsson et al., 2018), personal beliefs (Girod et al., 2017) and intentions (Ahn et al., 2016) influence the use of appliances and their effects on residential energy consumption. However, regarding individuals' environmental impact, Moser and Kleinhückelkotten (2018) show that income plays a greater role than environmentally friendly intentions. Changes in energy demand related to the way the SHS is used is also examined from the perspective of user adoption of new technologies. ...
... information on lifestyle or user motivation to further characterise LCA results (see e.g. Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018;Wiedmann et al., 2020). ...
... Future research should build on this and further explore the links between environmental assessment and user characteristics, user behaviour, or user expectations from the perspective of environmental psychology, science and technology studies or social practice theory. In addition to the sociodemographics and user motives considered here, these can also include user characteristics such as pro-environmental behaviour (Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018), user adoption of technological innovations (Hargreaves et al., 2018), the social situation or the basic value orientation of users (Gröger et al., 2011). The quantitative measurement of pro-environmental behaviour is especially promising for an appliance in more realistic LCA scenarios (Polizzi di Sorrentino et al., 2016). ...
Article
Reducing overall household energy consumption through the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) can play an important role in the transformation towards sustainable consumption patterns, e.g. through the optimisation of energy-consuming processes. The challenge in the environmental assessment of ICT applications is to also consider their use-specific environmental effects, as these can be decisive for overall results. Using the example of smart heating, we therefore analyse the environmental performance of a sample of 375 smart home systems (SHS) in Germany and show how the life cycle assessment (LCA) can be extended to include various use-specific effects such as choice of products and individuals' behaviour when using the product. In an interdisciplinary study design, we combine life cycle modelling and behavioural science to systematically include use-specific parameters into the modelling, and to interweave these results with user characteristics such as sociodemographics and user motivation. Our results are heterogenous: For the impact category Climate Change (GWP) we find that having smart heating can lead to large savings in particular cases. On average, however, smart heating does not lead to significant benefits for GWP, but neither does it represent an additional burden. For Metal Depletion Potential (MDP), we find that smart heating is always an additional burden, as heating optimisation has almost no reduction potential for MDP. Our results have a wide range due to large differences in use patterns in the sample. Depending on the impact category, both number of devices of the SHS as well as heating temperature are decisive. Regression analysis of our assessment results with user characteristics shows that differences in MDP and GWP of SHS size can be explained by income, and, in addition, differences in GWP of net heating energy savings can be explained by user motivation. Our results thus underline that the standard scenarios for user behaviour assumed in LCA modelling should be well justified. Future interdisciplinary research should further explore the links between use-specific approaches in LCA and users' environmental behaviour and motivation.
... Due to the breadth of topics, we could not devote attention to each field extensively enough, so the accuracy and reliability of the questionnaire was measured particularly by a group of four questions-no. 9, 10, 11 and 12-adopted from a similar foreign survey [45]. These issues also confirmed the validity of the survey. ...
... In our research, the area for determining the respondents' environmental orientation was more closely represented by the questions, which was also the subject of the assessment of validity and reliability, and for which we singled out four questions taken from similarly focused foreign research [45]. Our questionnaire was based on the objectives of a large project covering a wide area and mapping the issues of municipal waste management from the perspective of citizens and municipalities (see Section 2.3). ...
... Graphically, this is the variance that is associated with each factor shown by a scree plot in Figure 4. Typically, the plot shows a distinct break between the steep slope of the large factors and the gradual trailing of the rest (the scree). As can be seen, the variables from questions no. 9, 10, 11 and 12, representing the environmental self-perception of respondents included in the questionnaire based on other similar research to verify the validity and reliability of our questionnaire, as well as for comparison with the relevant research, [45] are bound by a high number indicating a high proportion of variability in the observed variable, which is explained by the extracted factor. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Slovak Republic does not meet the targets of the waste economy in the long run. In order to meet these objectives, it is necessary to make changes to the current system of municipal waste management. Building on an empirical analysis, this paper focuses on the evaluation of the production of municipal waste and the factors that influence the level of municipal waste sorting as a prerequisite for the maximal re-use, recovery, or recycling of municipal waste. The type of fee for municipal waste was confirmed as the most significant factor for the higher rate of municipal waste sorting, and pertinent recommendations were suggested according to the needs of Slovak municipalities.
... With the rapid development of life cycle assessment and greater cooperation across disciplinary boundaries, there has been an ongoing development in psychological research to focus on the factors that drive individual's actual energy consumption and their concrete carbon footprints (Bruderer Enzler, Diekmann, & Liebe, 2019; Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). Against this background, the role of income-as a possible driver of consumption and emissions but also as a factor that enables people to invest in more efficient technologies and renewables-has come into focus . ...
... Overall, these studies found that a sufficient amount of variance in behavioural intentions was explained by antecedent motivational variables, such as problem awareness, attitudes, and norms. But studies that used objective measures of pro-environmental impact as criteria often found no or only a very low relevance of pro-environmental motivation for outcome variables, such as actual energy use (e.g., Bruderer Enzler et al., 2019;Gatersleben et al., 2002;Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018) or actual greenhouse gas emissions . ...
... The assumption that income is a relevant positive predictor of pro-environmental behaviour was also confirmed in several early studies on recycling behaviour (Berger, 1997), in newer studies in China (Chen et al., 2011), in studies on the purchasing of organic food (Gracia & Magistris, 2007;Yin, Wu, Du, & Chen, 2010), and in a study on the purchasing of energy-efficient appliances (Ramos, Labandeira, & Löschel, 2016). On the other hand, income has been shown to be positively correlated with energy consumption and with larger carbon footprints in several newer studies Gatersleben et al., 2002;Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). In particular, for actual energy consumption (electricity consumption and heating), it was shown that income is an important driver; for example, Ivanova and Wood (2020) showed that, in Europe, about 11% of CO2 emissions from housing come from the top 1% of emitters. ...
Article
Private households play a relevant role in reducing CO2 emissions, but it remains unclear whether and which psychological factors are related to emissions. Given the relevance of income as a general driver of consumption and CO2 emissions, it seems particularly important to investigate how income and psychological variables interact. In two studies (a convenience sample from a city in Saxony Anhalt with N = 642 participants and a representative sample from Saxony Anhalt with N = 300 participants), we investigated the moderating role of household income in correlations between motivational variables (biospheric value orientation, personal norm to protect the climate, and sufficiency orientation) and intentions to engage in three types of environmentally relevant behaviours (curtailment behaviours, efficiency behaviours, and political behaviours). Results showed that motivational factors were correlated with all three behavioural domains. High- and low-income households differed significantly in correlations between motivational factors and efficiency intentions. As expected, correlations between motivational factors and intentions to engage in political behaviours did not seem to be affected by income.
... For example, in Germany most people report environmentally friendly attitudes and intentions (BMU & UBA, 2019) but simultaneously ignore climate change in everyday life. Their attitudes are often inconsistent with appropriate environmentally friendly decisions (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). Although individual behavior is strongly influenced by structural factors (e.g., infrastructure, Steg & Vlek, 2009), this paradox may also be an indicator of inner conflicts, for example between opposing values or short-and long-term goals, or indicate lack of psychological resources to cope with threat proactively. ...
... Besides practical reasons for selection of the samples, the German population is particularly informative. Germans tend to have strong environmental awareness (BMU & UBA, 2019), which rarely translates into impactful PEB (see Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). In global comparison, Germans are highly privileged, for example regarding education level (OECD, 2018) and GDP per capita (World Bank, 2018), and have large CO 2 -impact per capita (11t consumption-based carbon emissions in 2016, Le Quéré et al., 2018). ...
Article
Despite urgent need for climate action, denial of climate change and resulting absence of appropriate pro-environmental behavior are widespread. Interpretive (recognition of climate change as a problem but re-interpretation of its severity) and implicatory denial of climate change (recognition of climate change as a problem but denial of psychological, political, and moral implications) can be interpreted as self-protective strategies people use to protect the self in the face of threat. However, research has not integrated individual self-protective strategies into one comprehensive measure. The present research aimed at reviewing the existing literature and constructing the Climate Self-Protection Scale (CSPS) to make climate-relevant defensive, self-protection measurable. In Study 1, N = 354 Germans responded to a pool of items. Using exploratory main axis analysis, we identified five factors, corresponding to the self-protective strategies rationalization of own involvement, avoidance, denial of personal outcome severity, denial of global outcome severity, and denial of guilt. Study 2 (N = 453 Germans) used confirmatory factor analysis to verify the five-factorial structure of the CSPS. Self-protective strategies were positively related with each other (except for avoidance and denial of guilt) and fit into a framework of interpretive (denial of global and personal outcome severity) and implicatory denial (rationalization, avoidance, denial of guilt). They related positively to male gender and right-wing political orientation, and negatively to various indicators of pro-environmentalism. This provides evidence of criterion and construct validity of the CSPS. In future research, the scale could be used as a tool to examine climate-relevant self-protective strategies further.
... However, as occurs in other environmental problems, CC concern and action are not always linked, not even public CC activism and personal change mitigation behaviour [18]. Inconsistent responses and limited actions have been observed in several studies [19]; others have shown relationships between motivations and actions, but these, in many cases, have only a marginal impact on personal emissions [20]. For this reason, a better understanding of the drivers affecting personal CF could greatly benefit CC mitigation policies. ...
... Explanation variables had generally low correlations between them. The exceptions were income and level of education; this was also observed by other authors analysing CF [10,23] In terms of single relations between CF values and explanatory factors, the Kruskal-Wallis test highlighted the higher importance of external over internal factors, as was also observed in other studies [20]. Total CF was mainly related to age, income and work, with higher emissions for intermediate ages (30-65 years), greater incomes (>3000 €), and agricultural and catering employments, while lower emissions were observed for younger (16-17 years) and older ages (>65 years), lower income (<1500 €), and students and domestic workers. ...
Article
Full-text available
The current understanding of determinants of climate action and mitigation behaviour is largely based on measures of climate change including concerns, attitudes and beliefs. However, few studies have shown the actual effects of external and internal drivers on citizens’ lifestyles related to climate change, particularly in terms of their carbon footprint (CF). A questionnaire (N = 845) assessing the impact of potential explanation factors for personal CF was carried out in Spain. The study showed the importance of better understanding the factors affecting citizen’s consumption and climate change mitigation policies. Internal factors were not very explicative. Knowledge was linked to clothing and perceived commitment to food, with both sectors being more directly linked to personal choices than other CF sections. Both accounted for 40% of personal emissions. Frequency of action was not shown to be significantly related to any CF section. External factors, such as income, level of studies, age and type of work, were found to be more important than internal drivers in explaining personal CF, particularly type of work, age and income, which were linked to all CF sectors but household energy. Sex was highly associated to clothing, but also significant for transport. Political orientation was not found to be linked to any section of personal CF.
... Thus, if the risk of climate change is perceived as high, then an intention to act is formed (Tobler, Visschers, and Siegrist 2012;Xie et al. 2019). Research regarding environmental behaviour has primarily focused on individuals' motivations and intentions to protect the environment (Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018). Yuriev et al. (2020) found that one-third of reviewed publications focused only on intention with no attempt to explain behaviour. ...
... Yuriev et al. (2020) found that one-third of reviewed publications focused only on intention with no attempt to explain behaviour. This approach has, in recent years, been criticised for overlooking people's actual pro-environmental behaviour (Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018). ...
Article
Climate change is a global issue affecting individuals, industries, and economies around the world. Many individuals know the risks of climate change and are willing to change their behaviour, but still contribute to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. This discrepancy between willingness and action has been described as the attitude-behaviour gap. The current study used the theory of planned behaviour to explore the relationships between risk perception, behavioural willingness, constructive hope, and pro-environmental behaviour. An anonymous online questionnaire was completed by 300 participants (74.0% female) aged 18 years and over (M = 41.5 years). Self-report scales measured levels of risk perception, behavioural willingness, constructive hope, and pro-environmental behaviour. As predicted, risk perception was positively associated with behavioural willingness, risk perception and behavioural willingness were positively associated with pro-environmental behaviour, and constructive hope was positively associated with pro-environmental behaviour. Additionally, the positive relationship between behavioural willingness and pro-environmental behaviour was moderated by constructive hope. This finding may be particularly useful for environmental educators, policy makers, and communicators.
... The link between individual and household income and impact-oriented GHG-behaviour is largely agreed upon at this point. Income has been repeatedly found to predict individual-and household-level GHG emissions resulting from mobility, housing, and general consumption of goods and services (Bleys et al., 2018;Bruderer Enzler & Diekmann, 2019;Huddart Kennedy et al., 2015;Ivanova et al., 2018;Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018;Wiedenhofer et al., 2018). Accordingly, studies simulating the potential effects of WTR policies estimate that a reduction in working hours of 1% could produce an income-induced reduction in GHG emissions between 0.3% and 0.82% (Buhl & Acosta, 2016;Fremstad et al., 2019;Nässén & Larsson, 2015). ...
... Accordingly, studies simulating the potential effects of WTR policies estimate that a reduction in working hours of 1% could produce an income-induced reduction in GHG emissions between 0.3% and 0.82% (Buhl & Acosta, 2016;Fremstad et al., 2019;Nässén & Larsson, 2015). As for predicting PEB, income appears to play a less important role; PEB is mainly influenced by motivational variables, like environmental self-identity and environmental concern (Bruderer Enzler & Diekmann, 2019; Huddart Kennedy et al., 2015;Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Working time reductions (WTR) are a promising strategy to foster both environmental behaviour and individual well-being. It is unclear, however, whether these possible effects are more likely due to reduced income or to more discretionary time. Moreover, prior studies have only tested the environmental effects of WTR cross-sectionally, and have only tested the well-being effects of WTR including wage compensations. We conducted a longitudinal three-wave study with Swiss employees, including one group who voluntarily reduced their working hours following the first questionnaire. Between-subject analysis suggested that decreased working time is associated with decreased GHG-related behaviours, and increased individual well-being. While the improved GHG-related behaviour is mainly due to reduced income, the well-being effects arise despite lower income. Analyses over time revealed that after reducing their working hours, participants reported increased well-being, more intent-related pro-environmental behaviour, less car commuting, and decreased clothing expenditures. However, no improvement was found regarding other GHG-related behaviours, which are strongly linked to income levels. Thus, reducing standard working time, and simultaneously reducing income, may be a promising strategy. However, voluntarily working a day less per week will probably not reach the full ecological potential of a societal-level WTR.
... From the literature, we know that people's CO 2 emission levels have rarely been researched, and when they have been studied, they have been found to be only ambiguously related to various traditional commitment measures (see Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). Some studies found the anticipated small negative connection to environmental concern (see Bruderer Enzler & Diekmann, 2019), whereas others found only erratic such links between people's carbon footprints and private-sphere pro-environmental behavior (see Kennedy et al., 2015). ...
... As we have argued, measures of environmental attitudes are especially meaningful when they mirror not only people's opinions (i.e., what people say) but also what people do. In contrast to some less distinct findings in prior research with traditional measures of commitment to protecting the environment (see, e.g., Kennedy et al., 2015;Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018), we found that our measure reliably negatively corresponded with people's carbon footprints (r = -.13), even over and above any effects of age, gender, education, or income (see Table 2). Unsurprisingly, people's CO 2 emissions decreased as their environmental attitudes increased. ...
Article
Can opinion polls be used to measure people's personal commitment to protecting the environment over the years, even with data that were not originally compiled from a longitudinal perspective? In a secondary analysis of 12 data sets collected over the course of 22 years and containing more than 28,000 person records, we demonstrate that opinions and reports of behavior can be aggregated into valid depictions of people's personal commitment to protecting the environment (i.e., their environmental attitudes). In contrast to traditional scaling approaches that define such measures by the item sets used for measurement, we grounded our measure in a psychological measurement theory of the response process—the Campbell paradigm. We found that the average level of environmental attitude in Germany has increased slightly since 1996. With a new sample of 1689 respondents, we validated our estimates of people's environmental attitudes with estimates of the same people's annual CO2 emissions.
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
As part of Agenda 2030, SDG 12 aims to offer a long-term vision for transforming existing unsustainable consumption and production patterns. These changes are bound to affect lifestyles and livelihoods of billions of people and raise a multitude of morally relevant questions and trade-offs concerning matters of intra- and intergenerational (re)distribution. Among these moral dilemmas there is a problem of setting consumption limits, especially upper tail of distribution. This position piece argues that failure to translate scientific consensus on biophysical limits of Earth into upper consumption limits, and absence of references to consumption limits from Agenda 2030 and SDGs, can be explained in terms of moral corruption, which leads to passing difficult moral choices onto future generations.
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... 5 Thus, every policy and intervention related to changing the users' energy consumption-related behaviour would reduce the demand pressure on the expansion of electricity capacity. 6 Particularly, the Brazilian economy scenario and its sequence of crisis in the energy sector 7 reinforce the urgency to deal with the environmental issues by taking actions to encourage consumers to change their choice and behaviour to promote the sustainable development goals in the country. ...
Article
The Brazilian economic scenario promotes sustainable development by, among other actions, reducing the pressure on the expansion of electricity capacity. Furthermore, efficiency and reliability may be achieved through regulations and standardised production. From this perspective, there is a steadfast need for continuous improvement in the process of certification of products in the country. This shall apply to the energy sector, in which certifications of LED (light-emitting diode) lamps are part of the Brazilian Labelling Program (PBE), coordinated by Inmetro (Brazilian accreditation body). PBE seeks to provide technical information about the products to support consumers’ choices, stimulating industry competitiveness and improve equipment reliability. From this standpoint, this article seeks to present an analysis of the certification process of LED lamps to propose reviewing requirements into the current label which might help to change the consumers’ energy consumption-related decision-making using the multi-criteria decision-making method (MCDM), TOPSIS. To this end, not only energy efficiency was observed but also other aspects of generated light quality and power quality currently considered as requirements for compulsory LED lighting certification.
... In contrast, impact-oriented research investigates behaviors that are related to people's environmental impact, often measured in CO2equivalents (Stern, 2000). The intent-oriented perspective alone is often criticized because the ecological impact remains uninvestigated and therefore, the inclusion of both perspectives is important (Hunecke et al., 2007;Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). In the present study, we aimed to take both, intent and impact-perspective, into account on a daily level. ...
Preprint
Pro-environmental behavior (PEB) as well as psychological predictors of PEB can vary from day to day. The present study investigated daily mindfulness as a predictor of daily PEB, connectedness to nature, daily personal ecological norm activation (PENA) and daily well-being. In a daily diary study (N = 183, days = 1197), multilevel regression analysis showed (i) positive same-day within-person relationships between mindfulness and PENA, connectedness to nature and well-being, (ii) a significant effect of mindfulness on next-days PEB, (iii) a relationship of mind-body practice and daily PEB. Path analysis showed, (iv) a path from mindfulness to PEB mediated by connectedness to nature and PENA. The study confirms the significance of mindfulness in every-day life for connectedness to nature, PENA and well-being. Furthermore, the study points out to the relevance of investigating daily variations of PEB and its predictors.
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... Dismissing sustainability as a luxury problem, however, carries the risk of ignoring the disproportionate causes and effects of environmental degradation across social strata. People with more wealth disproportionately contribute to climate change; indeed, a person's environmental impact is more accurately predicted by their income level than by their self-assessed identity as "pro-environmental" (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2017;Otto et al., 2016). In the United States, affluence is strongly associated with increased per capita carbon footprints: wealthier individuals' footprints are around 25% higher than those of lower income individuals, and some wealthier neighborhoods have emissions levels that are 15 times higher than less wealthy surrounding areas (Goldstein et al., 2020). ...
Article
As climate change increasingly wreaks havoc, sustainability is becoming a moral imperative. Yet, the strength of individuals' moral obligations to engage in sustainable actions may vary in accordance with their societal positions. In three studies (total N = 614), we investigated how moral obligations vary as a function of socioeconomic status (SES). Participants evaluated their own and others' obligations to engage in sustainable behaviors through vignettes that varied the cost of these behaviors and the SES of the characters who were engaged in these behaviors. Results showed that perceived moral responsibility was diminished in cases when sustainability required monetary sacrifice, particularly when the people being evaluated were individuals of low SES. The increase in moral obligation associated with elevated SES of the characters in the vignettes was fully mediated by perceptions of greater affordability and by perceptions of greater culpability for contributing to climate change. However, we did not find strong evidence that participants’ own SES had an effect on their judgments. Overall, rather than sustainability being considered a blanket obligation that is applicable across people and contexts, people typically ascribe more moral responsibility when sustainability is not financially burdensome.
... From the results it can be deduced that strategies to reduce resource consumption should start in the social milieus of the well-educated middle and upper classes, as the reduction potentials are particularly high there. However the data show that to reduce resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, it is not enough to appeal to responsibility towards the environment (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). Obviously, it does not seem to be primarily attitudes, awareness or perceptions that influence our environmental behaviour. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Research from various disciplines indicates that the human endeavour has shifted the earth into a new geologic epoch: the Anthropocene, in which we are stressing several planetary boundaries. Many political papers see education as key to making the Anthropocene a sustainable epoch. This paper evaluates evidence on the effects of education for sustainability. It asks which role education must play in our endeavour to shape a sustainable future. Purpose of this study is to evaluate existing approaches within education for sustainable development and position them relative to political and scientific demands. Setting: The paper sets a three-step approach by (1) evaluating the global challenges of the 2020s based on evidence on the great acceleration of resource use, the approaching of the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch and the planetary boundaries. Central concepts of education to cope with these challenges like sustainability competences are analysed (2) and (3) programs aiming to implement these competences are evaluated. Results: The paper shows that sustainability competences often are too abstract and that programs on education for sustainability often have a very limited impact on learners' consciousness and behaviour. Based on data on sustainability policies and recent data on the Covid-19-lockdown the paper shows the limited effect of current strategies on education for sustainability. Conclusions: Based on the empirical findings the paper concludes that when education for sustainability focuses on leaners' competences to participate politically, it has a higher chance of success and a higher chance of having a positive effect on the sustainability challenges of the 21 st century than a focus on learners consciousness or environmental behaviour.
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... Social tipping points will likely not be reached as long as strong countervailing forces exist. To pinpoint a few barriers, unsustainable modes of collective behavior are entrenched in social norms and habits 14,17 , ecologically harmful behaviors are reinforced by existing infrastructures, technological path-dependencies, institutional lock-ins, and incentive systems 14,18,19 , and good intentions are impeded by structural, political, and economic factors 18,20 . Despite much recent work around social tipping points in sustainable behaviors [14][15][16] , there is still a considerable gap in our understanding of how these barriers may be overcome and how social tipping points may be hastened through practical interventions. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Radical collective behavior change is required to develop sustainable forms of urban life. This demands redesign of everyday environments. However, the ways in which our material world shape our behaviors are still understudied and underappreciated. Not much is known about how collective behaviors are facilitated through infrastructural or material interventions. Here, we draw upon 15 years of experience at RAAAF, an Amsterdam-based collective for visual art and architecture, to introduce ten practical lessons for developing strategic design interventions for affordance-based behavior change in urban environments. Affordances are the possibilities for action provided by the environment. Strategic design interventions aim to set collective social change in motion by developing sustainable affordances and dismantling unsustainable behavioral constraints. Strategic design interventions seek to inspire policies and public imagination. Whereas scientific studies aim to describe reality as it is, RAAAF’s material interventions help imagine how the shared urban environment could be in the future.
... It is not placed within political, social, or economic boundaries [6,7]. It has an international, national, and local dimension in the context of political declarations and decisions, legal regulations, economic policies (including climate, energy, and environmental policies) [8][9][10][11][12][13], business, technical, technological and social activities, educational standards, and the social awareness of sustainability and climate change, consumer lifestyles, households, and consumption related to demand for energy and the potential, sources, and structure of its supply [14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]. These issues are undertaken in research studies representing various areas and disciplines of social sciences, and widely discussed in the media including social media ( Figure 1). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims to identify a bibliometric profile, presenting the results of research and debates in social media on renewable energy sources (RES). It analyses current scientific publications (2019–2021) and tweets posted in July 2021 by international Twitter users. The subject of the study is an analysis of key words in articles, the results of research, and the content of tweets (hashtags #renewables) related to renewable energy (RE) as well as an assessment of the morphology of content and the degree of its differentiation in the analysed data resources. The conducted analysis facilitates an assessment of similarities of key words in scientific papers and the content of debates in social media—on Twitter, a global platform. In its methodological dimension, the work is based on a bibliometric analysis (articles in both bases) and the analysis of Twitter data. This methodological approach allows for identifying the main trend, profile, and bibliometric characteristics of scientific papers representing two streams of information: articles in bases and the content (hashtags) of authentic and unguided international debates on Twitter. The focus on this platform results from a great popularity of social media as a platform for social debate, expressing comments and opinions and providing an opportunity to gain understanding of social, cultural, and environmental issues related to renewable energy sources from the perspective of social media participants. The objective of the paper and the proposed methodological approach relates to a knowledge gap in the area of renewable energy, and, more specifically, climate change and sustainable development.
... Social tipping points will likely not be reached as long as strong countervailing forces exist. To pinpoint a few barriers, unsustainable modes of collective behavior are entrenched in social norms and habits 14,17 , ecologically harmful behaviors are reinforced by existing infrastructures, technological path-dependencies, institutional lock-ins, and incentive systems 14,18,19 , and good intentions are impeded by structural, political, and economic factors 18,20 . Despite much recent work around social tipping points in sustainable behaviors [14][15][16] , there is still a considerable gap in our understanding of how these barriers may be overcome and how social tipping points may be hastened through practical interventions. ...
Article
Full-text available
Radical collective behavior change is required to develop sustainable forms of urban life. This demands redesign of everyday environments. However, the ways in which our material world shape our behaviors are still understudied and underappreciated. Not much is known about how collective behaviors are facilitated through infrastructural or material interventions. Here, we draw upon 15 years of experience at RAAAF, an Amsterdam-based collective for visual art and architecture, to introduce ten practical lessons for developing strategic design interventions for affordance-based behavior change in urban environments. Affordances are the possibilities for action provided by the environment. Strategic design interventions aim to set collective social change in motion by developing sustainable affordances and dismantling unsustainable behavioral constraints. Strategic design interventions seek to inspire policies and public imagination. Whereas scientific studies aim to describe reality as it is, RAAAF's material interventions help imagine how the shared urban environment could be in the future.
... It is higher for women, decreases with age, and increases steeply with income. These results confirm the findings of other studies that income is a strong driver for clothing consumption (e.g., Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Wahnbaeck et al. 2015). The social differences in the wearing time of clothes, also depicted in Figure 6, are comparatively small. ...
... impact-oriented research (cf. Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018): Intent-oriented research in environmental psychology focuses on peoples' pro-environmental motivation and moral norms, mainly in the sphere of habitualized household behaviors. Studies show that such factors can indeed predict the readiness to act pro-environmentally, however, the environmental impact of performing such behaviors was found to be relatively low. ...
Article
Full-text available
In order to foster pro-environmental behavior in the midst of a global ecological crisis, current research in environmental psychology is often limited to individual-related factors and theories about conscious processing. However, in recent years, we observe a certain discontentment with the limitations of this approach within the community as well as increasing efforts toward broadening the scope (e.g., promotions of collective and social identity processes). In our work, we aim for a closer investigation of the relations between individuals, societal factors, and pro-environmental actions while considering the role of the unconscious. We hereby draw on the work of critical social psychology (CSP). From a life course perspective, we emphasize the important role of socialization, institutional and cultural contexts for mindsets and related perceptions, decisions and actions. This link between the individual and the society enables us to understand biographical trajectories and related ideologies dominant within a society. We seek to show that the approach of CSP is helpful for understanding why efforts of establishing pro-environmental actions on a large scale are still failing. In this article, we discuss the theoretical links between environmental psychology and CSP as well as possible implications, paving the way for a comprehensive future research agenda.
... When consumption patterns are included in greenhouse gas emissions accounting, affluent citizens contribute most to the climate crisis (Kartha et al. 2020). In Germany, for example, household income is a better predictor of carbon footprint than environmental awareness and behaviour (Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2017). In wealthy urban communities, the many sustainability and climate change benefits derived from higher densities can be undermined by high levels of consumption (Meirelles et al. 2021;Paravantis et al. 2021). ...
Book
Full-text available
Prólogo (extracto) Cities can be dynamic engines of economic and social development but come with a huge environmental footprint. Our cities are also weathering the impacts of climate change, sometimes almost daily. The sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) identified urbanization as one of five main drivers of environmental change. The report also looked at the impact on cities and city residents of related challenges such as biodiversity loss and pollution. The GEO for Cities looks at these issues, but also presents the types of solutions that can lead to environmentally sustainable and just cities. https://www.unep.org/resources/report/geo-cities-towards-green-and-just-cities
... Ala-Mantila et al., 2014). Additionally, income levelalso when controlling for environmental identity or consciousnessis particularly predictive of a larger environmental impact (Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). However, it should be mentioned that local context and living environment might erect certain barriers toward engaging in environmental behaviours, barriers related to, e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change views have their socioeconomic foundations but also specific geographies. In merging these perspectives, this analysis uses ESS Round 8 data from 23 European countries to examine whether climate change scepticism and concern, pro-environmental personal norm and a willingness to engage in energy-saving behaviour exhibit, first, urban-rural and/or regional differences, and second, if these attitudes can be explained at individual level by socioeconomic position and wellbeing resources. We find that climate change scepticism and concern do exhibit urban-rural differences, where living in a country village is associated with greater climate scepticism and lower concern compared to living in a big city. Also, higher climate change concern and pro-environmental norms are associated with living in a region with constant population growth. These geographical differences are independent of individual-level socioeconomic attributes as well as one's political orientation. Additionally, the results show that both climate change attitudes and reporting energy-saving behaviour are strongly stratified by level of education and reveal that those in lower income deciles feel less pro-environmental norm but nonetheless report greater engagement with energy-saving behaviour. In sum, the results highlight that climate change mitigation is not a uniform project either spatially or within certain socioeconomic strata. Hence, our results suggest that socioeconomic disadvantage (belonging to the lowest education and income levels) and spatial marginalisation (living in more rural surroundings and declining regions) should be better acknowledged when reworking climate change and environmental policies in the EU.
... However, if individual sufficiency practices are implemented in isolation, there is an increased risk of sufficiency rebound effects (Alcott, 2010;Sorrell et al., 2020). This is because, for example, income is in many cases a more influential parameter for consumption than individual values (Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018;Kleinhueckelkotten and Neitzke, 2019;Korphaibool et al., 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
Sufficiency is an indispensable strategy for sustainable development that is gaining growing attention in both the scientific and the political sphere. Nevertheless, the question of how sufficiency-oriented social change can be shaped by different actors remains unclear. There are many different concepts of sufficiency and all of them entail certain notions of social change. However, these notions of social change remain mostly implicit. By conducting a semi-systematic literature review on sufficiency and transformation, this article makes explicit notions of social change in various concepts of sufficiency. Additionally, these notions are structured and discussed concerning their possible contribution to a broader socio-ecological transformation to advance the debate about sufficiency-oriented strategies. The literature was sampled by a systematic search in the databases of Web of Science and the ENOUGH-Network, a European network of sufficiency researchers, and complemented by texts known to the author. In total 133 articles, books and book chapters were reviewed. The sufficiency concepts were analyzed regarding two dimensions: the goal of and the approach toward social change. Various ecological and sometimes social goals that different concepts of sufficiency pursue were identified. Some scholars operationalize the social and ecological goals in a sufficiency-specific way as consumption corridors or a pathway toward a post-growth economy. Furthermore, three different approaches to sufficiency-oriented social change were identified: a bottom-up-approach, a policy-making-approach and a social-movement-approach. Specific contributions and limitations of these approaches were identified. The three approaches differ regarding the role of conflicts and the conceptualization of behavior and social practices. By interpreting the results utilizing the Multi-Level-Perspective of Sustainability Transition Research and Erik O. Wright's transformation theory, synergies for sufficiency-oriented social change were identified. The review founds a theoretical basis for further empirical and theoretical research on shaping sufficiency-oriented social change.
... Using marketing to change unsustainable (outdoor clothing) consumption requires overcoming the gap between proenvironmental values and actual behavior, which does not always reflect those values ( Blake, 1999 ). Actual pro-environmental behavior is difficult to predict by solely investigating cognitive factors, and that behavior generally leads to relatively small positive environmental impacts, if any ( Gatersleben et al., 2002 ;Kleinhückelkotten and Neitzke, 2019 ;Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018 ). Theories such as the Theory of Planned Behavior explain situations of intentional and reflected behavior ( Spangenberg and Lorek, 2019 ). ...
Article
Full-text available
The outdoor industry is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change and resource scarcity since its business models generally rely on an intact ecosystem. Companies in the outdoor apparel and gear industry actively implement sustainability strategies based on efficiency, consistency, and more recently also sufficiency. Sufficiency aims at an absolute reduction of consumption levels and entails strategies such as decreasing purchases, modal shifts, product longevity, and sharing practices. Outdoor companies increasingly use marketing to advocate sufficiency-oriented consumption. This exploratory study investigates outdoor companies’ sufficiency-promoting marketing strategies and activities. The study includes primary and secondary data of six outdoor companies. The analysis focuses on the companies’ sustainability visions, their marketing objectives and channels, and their marketing mixes. Following a social practice theory approach, we found evidence that our case companies supported all forms of sufficiency-oriented consumption practices with a strong focus on product longevity. Another central finding of our study is the emphasis placed on product and promotion policies to foster sufficiency-oriented consumption practices. Solely relying on these strategies will not suffice, however, to change unsustainable consumption practices. Achieving that change requires at least two further steps. First, companies will have to find an answer to the conflict between promoting sufficiency-oriented practices and economic growth. Second, the companies should start understanding consumption as a social practice, which would open new opportunities to create and steer their communities of practices. By changing elements or links of practices and attracting new members to their communities, companies in the outdoor industry can be drivers towards more sufficiency-oriented consumption practices. Further research should assess the impact of sufficiency-promoting marketing on consumer practices to estimate its potential for sustainable change.
... Critically, if PEB scales are weakly linked or even unrelated to impact, evidence regarding the psychological predictors of PEB scales cannot inform the understanding of what predicts individuals' actual environmental impact. In addition, given that the typical way of measuring PEB probably inflates its relationship with psychological factors, the relationship between psychological factors and environmental impact might be weaker than commonly suggested by PEB research [13][14][15] . We tested this idea by combining a typical PEB scale with robust, self-report-based measures of environmental impact to compare the psychological and demographic predictors of behaviours with moderate environmental impact 16 . ...
Preprint
Accurate models of pro-environmental behavior can support environmental sustainability. Previous studies identifying the psychological predictors of pro-environmental behavior rarely accounted for environmental impact. We studied the greenhouse gas emissions of clothing purchasing across four countries and found that psychological factors like attitudes and personal norms strongly predicted a common self-reported behavior scale of clothing purchasing, but only weakly predicted clothing-related greenhouse gas emissions. This result challenges widespread inferences using pro-environmental behavior scales and suggests that psychological factors may be a poor predictor of clothing-related environmental impact.
... Third, sufficiency orientation was a relevant predictor of plastic-free purchasing and donation behaviour. These findings indicate that increasing people's beliefs in consuming less as a way to counter environmental degradation has the power to close the gap between good intentions to protect nature and a lack of actual concrete behaviour (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2017;Verfuerth et al., 2019). Future studies should better incorporate interdisciplinary approaches and address the interrelations between the topics of sufficiencyoriented production and consumption (Bengtsson et al., 2018;Milad et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the last few years, plastic has become an issue of current interest as tremendous ecological effects from plastic littering have become visible. Taking the role of consumers into account, activities comprising purchasing decisions and political engagement are expected to help prevent plastic pollution. The goal of this study was to examine antecedents of three potential plastic reduction activities: purchasing, activism, and policy support. Based on well-established psychological models of pro-environmental behaviour (i.e. theory of planned behaviour, norm activation model), an online survey (N = 648) was administered and analysed via structural equation modelling. Results revealed that personal norms were a relevant predictor of all three intentions. Whereas sufficiency orientation and collective efficacy predicted only activism intention and policy support intention, perceived behavioural control was the strongest predictor of purchasing intentions. Regarding behaviour, people with high activism intentions and sufficiency orientation were more likely to choose a plastic-free incentive instead of the conventional shopping voucher. This study highlights psychological antecedents of plastic reduction. An integrated model showed that rational cost–benefit considerations as well as morality serve as drivers of reducing plastic consumption. Implications for the promotion of plastic-free consumption are discussed.
... One of the most critical lifestyle characteristics is a family's income which typically leads to increased energy consumption and carbon emissions with higher family income (Baltruszewicz et al., 2021;Salo et al., 2021;Jack and Ivanova, 2021;Christis et al., 2019;Sköld et al., 2018). Higher income also provides more options of more comfort, consumption of more carbon intensive goods and services, using cars and recreational activities (Levay et al., 2021;Christis et al., 2019;Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018;Grunewald et al., 2012). Higher energy consumption by higher-income households increase direct and indirect carbon emission than low-income households (Levay et al., 2021;Liu et al., 2020;Feng et al., 2011;Liu et al., 2013). ...
Article
Understanding the complex links between socioeconomic variables and carbon emissions can reveal household spending and lifestyle patterns. This study oversees those issues and examines consumption patterns and their related variables such as climate change understanding, attitudes, and knowledge, in order to better comprehend the complicated linkages. This study revealed that eight socioeconomic elements influence a household's carbon footprint: (i) household income (β = 0.476, p < 0.05), (ii) green attitudes (β = −0.196, p < 0.05), (iii) residential space (β = 0.157, p < 0.05), (iv), education levels (β = 0.131, p < 0.05), (v) household's tenure status by ownership (β = 0.130, p < 0.05), (vi) household's age (β = 0.112, p < 0.05), (vii) size of household (β = 0.101, p < 0.05), and, (viii) female-headed household (β = −0.077, p < 0.05). Approximately 83.6% of respondents are mindful of climate change, but only 2.6% correctly define it as a long-term shift in weather patterns. The study found that 82% of households are willing to change their consumption habits and lifestyle to reduce their household's carbon footprint. In order to achieve a low carbon society, our research advocate a multipronged approach and policy action is crucial based on the results. Further, robust climate change educational and awareness programmes is decisive at the multilevel and scale in Malaysia to achieve its carbon emissions reduction target by 2050.
... Therefore, we focus our research specifically on understanding the relationships between religious affiliation, external and internal antecedents of behaviour, and personal carbon footprint (CF), as an indicator of consumption-related emissions. Using this observed measure instead of self-reports should provide a more rigorous assessment of the personal impact on CC mitigation, as previous research has shown that self-assessments are not necessarily linked to actual behaviour (Kormos and Gifford 2014;Moser and Kleinhückelkotten 2018;Steg and de Groot 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Different studies have shown that daily consumption is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Since consumption is closely linked to individuals’ preferences, motivations, and beliefs, the personal carbon footprint should be a good indicator of actual consumers’ commitments towards climate change mitigation. Previous research has shown the importance of considering individual-level religion as an antecedent of mitigation outcomes, although the evidence is inconclusive in this regard. This study examines the relationship between religious affiliation and personal carbon footprint, following socio-psychological models that consider behaviour to depend on external or situational factors, and internal or intrinsic ones. A questionnaire was carried out on a random sample of the Spanish population (N = 845) to determine the main drivers of carbon footprint for different religious groups. External factors (i.e., socioeconomic) and internal ones related to climate change knowledge, commitment, and intractability, on the one hand, and value orientation, nature-relatedness, and the main motivation to conserve nature on the other hand, were analysed. Intergroup differences in the personal carbon footprint were found, especially based on sex, age group, and type of work among external factors and value orientation, the main motivation for conserving nature and climate change perceived commitment within the internals. Intragroup differences for food carbon footprint were also observed, as follows: the main motivation to conserve nature and the level of commitment implied differences among Catholic believers, whereas value orientation and the level of commitment implied differences among non-believers. Our conclusions suggest, on the one hand, the importance of examining the religion-mitigation link in a socio-psychological framework and, on the other, the need for further study within groups to promote better behavioural responses to climate change.
... From the results it can be deduced that strategies to reduce resource consumption should start in the well-educated middle and upper classes, as the reduction potentials are particularly high there. However, the data also show that to reduce resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, appealing to responsibility towards the environment is not an effective strategy [58]. There is little to no evidence that pro-environmental attitudes, awareness, or perceptions lead to climate-friendly behaviors. ...
Article
Full-text available
Mitigating and adapting to climate change requires foundational changes in societies, politics, and economies. Greater effectiveness has been attributed to actions in the public sphere than to the actions of individuals. However, little is known about how climate literacy programs address the political aspects of mitigation and adaptation. The aim of this systematic literature review is to fill this gap and analyze how public-sphere actions on mitigation and adaptation are discussed in climate literacy programs in schools. Based on database searches following PRISMA guidelines we identified 75 empirical studies that met our inclusion criteria. We found that central aspects of climate policy such as the 1.5-degree limit, the IPCC reports, or climate justice are rarely addressed. Whilst responsibility for emissions is attributed to the public sphere, the debate about mitigation usually focuses on the private sphere. Climate change education does not, therefore, correspond to the climate research discourse. We show that effective mitigation and adaptation are based on public-sphere actions and thus conclude that effective climate education should discuss those public actions if it is to be effective. Hence, we propose that climate education should incorporate political literacy to educate climate-literate citizens.
... Yet despite the urgent need to reduce GHGs emissions, current governmental and individual actions are not sufficient to reach agreed targets (IPCC, 2021). Dietary choices and meat consumption are strongly linked to individual and cultural identity (Moser & Kleinhückelkotten, 2018) and, therefore, may be difficult to shift despite the availability of plant-based alternatives. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
We developed and tested a Virtual Reality (VR) intervention that allowed users (1) to visualize the consequences of food behavior and (2) to revise their food choices and see how this would alter future climate scenarios. In this pre-registered study, using a 2x2 design, participants experienced intervention with or without normative feedback and via desktop PC or head-mounted display. The intervention advertised online was self-administered by 122 VR users residing in the USA. We observed a moderate-large decline in dietary carbon footprint one week after the intervention regardless of experimental condition (d = -0.63). This change was mediated by increased intentions, self-efficacy, risk perception, and emotional reactions. In addition, normative feedback increased self-efficacy, and changes in response efficacy separately predicted pro-environmental donations. Preliminary findings indicate that psychologically informed VR interventions might promote pro-environmental behavior in VR users and therefore the Metaverse could be a suitable platform for environmental communication.
Article
With projected water scarcity, educating the public on household water-saving is essential for water sustainability. This study investigates how experiences of water scarcity, perceived severity of water shortages, and perception of water sustainability affect residential water conservation behavior in Oklahoma, and aims to strengthen the residential water conservation studies in the United States—an understudied topic—and provide evidence-based suggestions to enhance residential water sustainability education. Based on two Zero-Inflated Poisson regressions, the results reveal that those who have experienced drought and are worried about the sustainability of water resources in their community take more no-cost steps to reduce their household water waste. Only experiences of drought have a positive impact on the number of cost-incurring steps taken by households. Based on the result, state and local government’s water-saving initiatives can be more effective if they utilize the drought experiences to attract the public’s attention.
Article
Full-text available
Political and cultural polarisation are leading explanations for climate change denial and inactions as seen in the Cultural Cognition Thesis (CCT). In this view, individuals hold positions on contested issues to conform to their ideological groups: people ascribe to certain beliefs, not to express what they know but to show their group identity. We present a conceptual test of the CCT using high-quality cross-national data from 21 European countries, Russia, and Israel (total N = 44,378). Climate change concern was correlated with identification with the political left (rs = 0.04–.13), egalitarianism (rs = 0.04–.13) and communitarianism (rs = 0.01–.07), but in a broad definition cultural cognition was a weak predictor of climate change beliefs (R² = 3.82%), policy preferences (R² = 2.09%), and actions (R² = 0.62%). Moreover, climate change polarisation was not greatest among the highly educated as predicted by the CCT. Education was positively associated with climate beliefs (rs = 0.07–.17), irrespective of political affiliation. Non-linear regressions indicated little evidence that the CCT's predictions held better for more extreme ideological groups. These results suggest cultural cognition may not be central to thoughts about climate change in Europe.
Article
Suffizienz wurde im öffentlichen und politischen Nachhaltigkeitsdiskurs lange Zeit marginalisiert. Da Versuche, CO2-Emissionen langfristig zu senken, bisher hinter den Erwartungen zurückblieben, rückt die Suffizienz jüngst stärker in den Vordergrund wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Auseinandersetzungen um ein »gutes Leben«. Die Suffizienzstrategie verspricht neben einem strikten Reduktionsziel auch psychologisches Wohlbefinden und globale, sozial-ökologische Gerechtigkeit. Ziel dieses Textes ist es, Suffizienz und Suffizienzorientierung als Konzepte einzuführen und praktische Implikationen für die Förderung einer sozial-ökologischen Transformation im Sinne der Suffizienz aufzuzeigen. Zu Beginn skizzieren wir, wie der Suffizienzbegriff in der Nachhaltigkeitsdiskussion einzuordnen ist und welche psychologischen Anknüpfungspunkte sich daraus ergeben können. Anschließend schildern wir in Form eines Exkurses, inwiefern der Minimalismus als populäres Pendant zur Suffizienz gelten kann, welche Grenzen Minimalismus hinsichtlich ökologischer Fragen aktuell aufzeigt und inwiefern sich beide Konzepte durch ihre Bezüge zu subjektivem Wohlbefinden und als Strömungen gegen Überkonsum gegenseitig befruchten könnten. Danach werden aktuelle Forschungsbeiträge zu Materialismus, Wohlbefinden, Zeitwohlstand und psychologischen Grundbedürfnissen vorgestellt, die offensichtliche Querverbindungen zur Suffizienz schlagen. Abschließend stellen wir konkrete Ansätze zur Förderung von Suffizienz und Suffizienzorientierung dar, die über Interaktionen mit strukturellen, gesellschaftlichen Ebenen eine sozial-ökologische Transformation anvisieren.
Article
Full-text available
Accurate models of pro-environmental behaviour can support environmental sustainability. Previous studies identifying the psychological predictors of pro-environmental behav- iour rarely accounted for environmental impact. We studied the greenhouse gas emissions of clothing purchasing across four countries. Clothing purchasing is responsible for 2–3% of global emissions and severe, local environmental degrada- tion. We found, using multiple regression analyses, that psy- chological factors like attitudes and personal norms strongly predicted a common self-reported behaviour scale of cloth- ing purchasing but only weakly predicted clothing-related greenhouse gas emissions. This result challenges widespread inferences using pro-environmental behaviour scales and suggests that psychological factors may be a poor predictor of clothing-related environmental impact.
Chapter
This volume addresses current concerns about the climate and environmental sustainability by exploring one of the key drivers of contemporary environmental problems: the role of status competition in generating what we consume, and what we throw away, to the detriment of the planet. Across time and space, humans have pursued social status in many different ways - through ritual purity, singing or dancing, child-bearing, bodily deformation, even headhunting. In many of the world's most consumptive societies, however, consumption has become closely tied to how individuals build and communicate status. Given this tight link, people will be reluctant to reduce consumption levels – and environmental impact -- and forego their ability to communicate or improve their social standing. Drawing on cross-cultural and archaeological evidence, this book asks how a stronger understanding of the links between status and consumption across time, space, and culture might bend the curve towards a more sustainable future.
Chapter
Full-text available
This volume addresses current concerns about the climate and environmental sustainability by exploring one of the key drivers of contemporary environmental problems: the role of status competition in generating what we consume, and what we throw away, to the detriment of the planet. Across time and space, humans have pursued social status in many different ways - through ritual purity, singing or dancing, child-bearing, bodily deformation, even headhunting. In many of the world's most consumptive societies, however, consumption has become closely tied to how individuals build and communicate status. Given this tight link, people will be reluctant to reduce consumption levels – and environmental impact -- and forego their ability to communicate or improve their social standing. Drawing on cross-cultural and archaeological evidence, this book asks how a stronger understanding of the links between status and consumption across time, space, and culture might bend the curve towards a more sustainable future.
Article
Full-text available
Rapid and comprehensive social change is required to mitigate pressing environmental issues such as climate change. Social tipping interventions have been proposed as a policy tool for creating this kind of change. Social tipping means that a small minority committed to a target behaviour can create a self-reinforcing dynamic, which establishes the target behaviour as a social norm. The possibility of achieving the large-scale diffusion of pro-environmental norms and related behaviours with an intervention delimited in size and time is tempting. Yet the canonical model of tipping, the coordination game, may evoke overly optimistic expectations regarding the potential of tipping, due to the underlying assumption of homogenous preferences. Relaxing this assumption, we devise a threshold model of tipping pro-environmental norm diffusion. The model suggests that depending on the distribution of social preferences in a population, and the individual cost of adopting a given pro-environmental behaviour, the same intervention can activate tipping, have little effect, or produce a backlash. Favourable to tip pro-environmental norms are widespread advantageous inequity aversion and low adoption costs. Adverse are widespread self-regarding preferences or disadvantageous inequity aversion, and high costs. We discuss the policy implications of these findings and suggest suitable intervention strategies for different contexts.
Article
In the European Union (EU) the household sector is directly responsible for one quarter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and this share is increasing. People's concern about climate change and climate-friendly behaviour could significantly mitigate emission levels. However, there is a lack of studies related to how changes in climate change concern, personal responsibility and climate-friendly behaviour contribute to household GHG emissions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyse whether the changes in concern, personal responsibility and climate-friendly behaviour affected the EU household sector total (HGHG), heating/cooling and transport activities GHG emissions from the Paris Agreement until the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the EU in 2019. Results showed that household changes in choice of green energy supplier significantly reduced, and changes in insulation of home to reduce energy consumption and heating degree days significantly increased the GHG emissions in household sector. Considering the heating/cooling sector, changes in choice of green energy supplier significantly influenced the reduction of GHG emissions. Meanwhile only changes in climate change concern significantly influenced the reduction of transport activities GHG emissions. Therefore, this study provides a new insight for policymakers how to reduce GHG emissions in the household sector.
Article
Full-text available
While nudging has garnered plenty of interdisciplinary attention, the ethics of applying it to climate policy has been little discussed. However, not all ethical considerations surrounding nudging are straightforward to apply to climate nudges. In this article, we overview the state of the debate on the ethics of nudging and highlight themes that are either specific to or particularly important for climate nudges. These include: the justification of nudges that are not self-regarding; how to account for climate change denialists; transparency; knowing the right or best behaviours; justice concerns; and whether the efficacy of nudges is sufficient for nudges to be justified as a response to the climate crisis. We conclude that climate nudges raise distinct ethical questions that ought to be considered in developing climate nudges.
Book
Full-text available
The Environmental Awareness Survey 2018 is the twelfth environmental awareness study since 1996. It was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt - UBA) to investigate the environmental awareness and environmental behaviour of the German people. After more than 20 years of environmental awareness research in the Environment Ministry, the Study also served to reflect on previous research work and to explore methodological and conceptual possibilities for improvement. At the same time, a critical analysis of the way in which the Study was received by different target groups was to be carried out. The purpose of this report is to present the methodological approach and the most important contents as well as to document hitherto unpublished results. Firstly, the results of a recipients’ workshop are presented and the resulting indications for the design of future studies are described. Secondly, the results of the enhanced indicators for measuring environmental awareness are discussed and some results on the systematic reconstruction of existing time series on environmental awareness are presented. In addition, the report goes into detail about the results of an interim survey from 2019 and places them in the context of the emergence of the Fridays for Future movement. The results are also considered and interpreted according to different socio-demographic characteristics. Moreover, it presents findings from downstream focus groups conducted in October 2019 that provide a deeper understanding of the representative surveys’ results. Furthermore, the data from the qualitative and quantitative approaches are considered and interpreted collectively in terms of the attribution of responsibility to different stakeholders (such as policy-makers, business leaders and citizens). The report concludes with some methodological suggestions for future environmental awareness studies and their integration in the Federal Government's environmental policy.
Article
In den letzten Jahren hat der gesellschaftliche, politische und wissenschaftliche Diskurs zum Thema Klimawandel und entsprechenden Klimaschutzmaßnahmen verstärkt an Bedeutung gewonnen. Der vorliegende Aufsatz beschäftigt sich mit der Frage, welche soziodemografischen Merkmale der Münchner*innen Klimabewusstsein und Klimahandeln beeinflussen. Datengrundlage ist die Bevölkerungsbefragung zur Stadtentwicklung 2016. Im Ergebnis zeigt sich, dass das Klimabewusstsein nur zum Teil von soziodemografischen Merkmalen abhängt und sich keine Gruppe in allen untersuchten Dimensionen des Klimabewusstseins als besonders klimafreundlich zeigt. Ältere Befragte verhalten sich meist klimafreundlicher als jüngere Altersgruppen, verfügen jedoch im Mittel über eine deutlich größere Pro-Kopf-Wohnfläche. Frauen schonen mit ihrem Verhalten das Klima mehr als Männer. Eine höhere Bildung wirkt sich auf klimafreundlicheres Verhalten in den Bereichen Verkehr und Ernährung aus, geht aber auch mit einer höheren Wohnfläche einher. Ein höheres Einkommen wirkt sich v.a. mit Blick auf die Nutzung von motorisiertem Individualverkehr (MIV) und Wohnflächennutzung klimaschädlich aus. Generell zeigt sich, dass Befragte mit einem höheren Klimabewusstsein sich signifikant klimafreundlicher verhalten.
Chapter
Full-text available
Nachhaltigkeit ist eines der gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprojekte unserer Zeit. Dennoch sind soziologische Analysen im Diskurs der damit verknüpften Grundfragen bislang wenig präsent. Die »Soziologie der Nachhaltigkeit« betrachtet daher konkrete Themen nachhaltiger Gesellschaftsentwicklung – Arbeit, Mobilität, Politik(en), Diskurse, Praktiken, Ungleichheit, Macht – aus spezifisch soziologischen Blickwinkeln. Hierbei sind drei Leitmotive zentral: Nachhaltigkeit und Normativität, sozialer Wandel und Gestaltung sowie Reflexivität zweiter Ordnung. Die Beiträger*innen des Bandes geben zentrale Einsichten und Orientierungshilfen für das Verstehen, Erklären und Gestalten von Nachhaltigkeit.
Article
Excessive consumption of meat challenges global food security and environmental sustainability. In the mounting literature on identity as a motivator of behaviour, meat consumption has been associated with a handful of identities. Identity theory suggests that people hold multiple identities on different levels of abstraction, but how identities at different levels of abstraction interact and possibly co-determine intentions and behaviour remains largely unanswered. Inspired by research on attitudes and goal hierarchies, this study investigates a hierarchical model of meat-related identities and their relation to intentions to consume red meat. By means of a survey of Danish consumers (n = 1001), we identified identities related to the consumption of red meat (e.g., flexitarian identity), using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. We also controlled for the most important additional antecedents identified in prior research. Evidence was found that more abstract identities (e.g., national identity, environmental identity) mostly influence intentions to eat meat indirectly, meditated through more behaviour-specific identities (e.g., flexitarian identity). However, some higher-order identities also appear to have a direct impact on intentions to eat meat after controlling for more behaviour-specific identities, which suggests a less hierarchical structure manifesting itself, possibly due to the behaviour being instrumental at reaching different, functionally unrelated goals that are related to different identities. Policy recommendations towards reducing meat consumption are proposed.
Article
Full-text available
Studies on environmental behavior commonly assume single respondents to represent their entire household or employ proxy-reporting, where participants answer for other household members. It is contested whether these practices yield valid results. Therefore, we interviewed 84 couples, wherein both household members provided self- and proxy-reports for their partner. For use of electrical household appliances, consumption of hot water, space heating, everyday mobility, and environmental values, many variables fail to achieve criteria for validity. Consistency (agreement between self-reports of household members) is higher if behaviors are undertaken jointly or negotiated between partners. Accuracy (agreement of proxy-reports with corresponding self-reports) is higher for routine behaviors and for behaviors easily observable by the partner. Overall, indices perform better than items on single behaviors. We caution against employing individual responses in place of the entire household. Interventions for energy conservation should approach the specific person undertaking the target behavior.
Technical Report
Full-text available
http://www.ls4.soziologie.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/arbeitspapiere_lsbr/arbpap131.html
Article
Full-text available
PurposePeople believe that they know who they are and that who they are matters for what they do. These core beliefs seem so inherent to conceptualizations of what it means to have a self as to require no empirical support. After all, what is the point of a concept of self if there is no stable thing to have a concept about and who would care if that concept was stable if it was not useful in making it through the day? Yet the evidence for action-relevance and stability are surprisingly sparse. Design/methodology/approachThis paper outlines the identity-based motivation theory, a theoretical approach that takes a new look at these assumptions and makes three core predictions as to when an accessible self-concept influences behavior. These are termed “dynamic construction”, “action-readiness”, and “interpretation of difficulty”. That is, rather than being stable, which identities come to mind and what they mean are dynamically constructed in context. FindingsPeople interpret situations and difficulties in ways that are congruent with the currently active identities and prefer identity-congruent to identity-incongruent actions. When action feels identity-congruent, experienced difficulty highlights that the behavior is important and meaningful. When action feels identity-incongruent, the same difficulty suggests that the behavior is pointless and “not for people like me.”
Article
Full-text available
This article presents survey data from households in Alberta, Canada, examining the relationship between income and carbon footprint. Using multivariate statistics to scrutinize the role of income, the data demonstrate substantial disproportionality in the composition and size of household carbon footprints. Results show that household energy consumption (heating, cooking, cooling) comprises half of the average footprint, with automobile transportation contributing 30% and air travel another 15%. In a linear multiple regression model, the size of household carbon footprints is positively associated with income, in addition to other variables. The highest income quintile has household carbon footprints 2.2 times greater than the lowest income quintile.
Article
Full-text available
Three parallel lines of inquiry regarding individuals' support for the environment have developed within the environmental social sciences. These include individuals' concern for the environment, research on private sphere pro-environmental behaviour (PEB), i.e. household actions seeking to improve the environment (e.g. buying better light bulbs), and more recently, ecological and carbon footprints. Researchers have noted that the correlates of this third form of support for the environment are not necessarily the same as the predictors of the first two forms. Using Canadian survey data, this study examines the relationships among, and predictors of, all three forms. Evidence that there is not a link between private sphere PEB and household carbon footprints, and that measures of socio-economic status (education and income) have different effects on different types of support for the environment, invites a discussion of whether environmental social scientists are really counting what counts.
Article
Full-text available
The importance of understanding and promoting pro-environmental behaviour among individual consumers in modern Western Societies is generally accepted. Attitudes and attitude change are often examined to help reach this goal. But although attitudes are relatively good predictors of behaviour and are relatively easy to change they only help explain specific behaviours. More stable individual factors such as values and identities may affect a wider range of behaviours. In particular factors which are important to the self are likely to influence behaviour across contexts and situations. This paper examines the role of values and identities in explaining individual pro-environmental behaviours. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from three studies on UK residents, with a total of 2694 participants. Values and identities were good predictors of pro-environmental behaviour in each study and identities explain pro-environmental behaviours over and above specific attitudes. The link between values and behaviours was fully mediated by identities in two studies and partially mediated in one study supporting the idea that identities may be broader concepts which incorporate values. The findings lend support for the concept of identity campaigning to promote sustainable behaviour. Moreover, it suggests fruitful future research directions which should explore the development and maintenance of identities.
Article
Full-text available
Measures of proenvironmental behavior in psychological studies do not always reflect the actual environmental impact of a person or household. Therefore, the results of these studies provide little insight into variables that could be helpful in reducing household environmental impact. In this article, an environmentally significant measure of household consumer behavior (i.e., combined direct and indirect energy use) is presented and compared with a common social science measure of proenvironmental behavior (based on popular notions of environmentally significant behavior). Two large-scale field studies were conducted among representative samples of Dutch households. The results showed respondents who indicate they behave more proenvironmentally do not necessarily use less energy. Also, proenvironmental behavior is more strongly related to attitudinal variables, whereas household energy use is primarily related to variables such as income and household size. More multidisciplinary research seems necessary to identify variables that influence the actual environmental impact of household consumer behavior.
Article
Full-text available
In this study, the role of values in the field of household energy use is investigated by using the concept of quality of life (QOL). Importance judgments on 22 QOL aspects could be summarized into seven clearly interpretable value dimensions. The seven value dimensions and general and specific environmental concern contributed significantly to the explanation of policy support for government regulation and for market strategies aimed at managing environmental problems as well as to the explanation of the acceptability of specific home and transport energy-saving measures. In line with earlier research, home and transport energy use were especially related to sociodemographic variables like income and household size. These results show that it is relevant to distinguish between different measures of environmental impact and different types of environmental intent. Moreover, the results suggest that using only attitudinal variables, such as values, may be too limited to explain all types of environmental behavior.
Article
Full-text available
Policy-makers are interested in cost-effective and socially acceptable ways of encouraging the public to adopt more environmentally-friendly lifestyles. One area which UK policy-makers are focussing on is ‘catalyst behaviour’, the notion that taking-up a new behaviour (such as recycling) may cause people to adopt other pro-environmental behaviours. Yet, evidence for such ‘spill-over’ effects is so far limited, and it is unclear when and how cross-situational motivations (e.g., pro-environmental identity) may predict behaviour and when contextual factors are more important. We report on a postal survey (N = 551) of pro-environmental behaviours amongst the UK public. We assess the influence of pro-environmental self-identify on consistency across a range of behaviours. Pro-environmental values, perceived behavioural control, subjective norm, attitudes, and demographic factors were also measured. Findings show self-identity to be a significant behavioural determinant over and above theory of planned behaviour variables for carbon offsetting behaviour. However, pro-environmental self-identity was only a significant predictor for certain other pro-environmental behaviours; background variables were also important predictors. Limitations of the study, and implications for theory and policy, are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
The term 'carbon footprint' has become tremendously popular over the last few years and is now in widespread use across the media – at least in the United Kingdom. With climate change high up on the political and corporate agenda, carbon footprint calculations are in demand. Numerous approaches have been proposed to provide estimates, ranging from basic online calculators to sophisticated life-cycle-analysis or input-output based methods and tools. Despite its ubiquitous use however, there is an apparent lack of academic definitions of what exactly a 'carbon footprint' is meant to be. The scientific literature is surprisingly void of clarifications, despite the fact that countless studies in energy and ecological economics that could have claimed to measure a 'carbon footprint' have been published over decades. This commentary explores the apparent discrepancy between public and academic use of the term 'carbon footprint' and suggests a scientific definition based on commonly accepted accounting principles and modelling approaches. It addresses methodological questions such as system boundaries, completeness, comprehensiveness, units, and robustness of the indicator.
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses the relationship between meat eating and climate change focusing on motivational explanations of environmentally-relevant consumer behavior. Based on a sample of 1,083 Dutch consumers, it examines their responses to the idea that they can make a big difference to nature and climate protection by choosing one or more meals without meat every week. This idea can be seen as a new opportunity to help mitigation, but also as a counterproductive message that might trigger negative responses among consumers who are skeptical about climate change. As hypothesized, the meat-free meal idea was received more positively by consumers who valued care for nature and more negatively by those who did not value it. Also as hypothesized, the meat-free meal idea was received more negatively by consumers who were skeptical about the seriousness of climate change. The idea was not received more positively by those who did take it seriously. The results support the notion that the meat-free meal idea may serve as a counterproductive message. From the perspective of motivation, it is preferable not to isolate the meat-climate issue but to develop an approach that combines multiple values regarding food choices, including health and nature-related values.
Article
Full-text available
With ever-increasing concerns about the consequences of climate change, households are an important focus for change. There is increasing pressure on households to change lifestyles and adopt behaviours that require less energy and natural resources. At the same time, retailers and producers of consumer goods aim to persuade people to consume more through commercial advertisements. Social science research examining sustainable behaviours often fails to examine the relative influence of both environmental concern and materialism simultaneously. Moreover, most of this research focuses on explaining or promoting behaviours with pro-environmental intent, thereby ignoring many consumer behaviours that may have a significant environmental impact. This article aims to address some of these shortcomings by examining the relationships between materialistic and environmental values and different consumer behaviours. Survey data from 194 individuals from 99 households were analysed. The findings show that quite a number of people express both relatively high levels of environmental concern and relatively high levels of materialism simultaneously. Moreover, materialism and environmental concern appear to be related to different types of behaviours. This raises important questions for the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, which may need to address not only environmental concerns but also materialistic concerns.
Article
Full-text available
Choices are often identity-based but the linkage to identity is not necessarily explicit or obvious for a number of reasons. First, identities feel stable but are highly sensitive to situational cues. Second, identities include not only content but also readiness to act and to use procedures congruent with the identity. Third, identities can be subtly cued without conscious awareness. Fourth, what an accessible identity means is dynamically constructed in the particular context in which it is cued. Because identities carry action- and procedural-readiness, the outcome of an identity-based motivation process may be similar to or different from the choices an individual would have made in another setting. Moreover, once an identity is formed, action and procedural-readiness can be cued without conscious awareness or systematic processing, resulting in beneficial or iatrogenic outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
Environmental effects of economic activities are ultimately driven by consumption, via impacts of the production, use, and waste management phases of products and services ultimately consumed. Integrated product policy (IPP) addressing the life-cycle impacts of products forms an innovative new generation of environmental policy. Yet this policy requires insight into the final consumption expenditures and related products that have the greatest life-cycle environmental impacts. This review article brings together the conclusions of 11 studies that analyze the life-cycle impacts of total societal consumption and the relative importance of different final consumption categories. This review addresses in general studies that were included in the project Environmental Impacts of Products (EIPRO) of the European Union (EU), which form the basis of this special issue. Unlike most studies done in the past 25 years on similar topics, the studies reviewed here covered a broad set of environmental impacts beyond just energy use or carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The studies differed greatly in basic approach (extrapolating LCA data to impacts of consumption categories versus approaches based on environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) tables), geographical region, disaggregation of final demand, data inventory used, and method of impact assessment. Nevertheless, across all studies a limited number of priorities emerged. The three main priorities, housing, transport, and food, are responsible for 70% of the environmental impacts in most categories, although covering only 55% of the final expenditure in the 25 countries that currently make up the EU. At a more detailed level, priorities are car and most probably air travel within transport, meat and dairy within food, and building structures, heating, and (electrical) energy-using products within housing. Expenditures on clothing, communication, health care, and education are considerably less important. Given the very different approaches followed in each of the sources reviewed, this result hence must be regarded as extremely robust. Recommendations are given to harmonize and improve the methodological approaches of such analyses, for instance, with regard to modeling of imports, inclusion of capital goods, and making an explicit distinction between household and government expenditure.
Article
Full-text available
Environmental quality strongly depends on human behaviour patterns. We review the contribution and the potential of environmental psychology for understanding and promoting pro-environmental behaviour. A general framework is proposed, comprising: (1) identification of the behaviour to be changed, (2) examination of the main factors underlying this behaviour, (3) design and application of interventions to change behaviour to reduce environmental impact, and (4) evaluation of the effects of interventions. We discuss how environmental psychologists empirically studied these four topics, identify apparent shortcomings so far, and indicate major issues for future research.
Article
Full-text available
Researchers often hypothesize moderated effects, in which the effect of an independent variable on an outcome variable depends on the value of a moderator variable. Such an effect reveals itself statistically as an interaction between the independent and moderator variables in a model of the outcome variable. When an interaction is found, it is important to probe the interaction, for theories and hypotheses often predict not just interaction but a specific pattern of effects of the focal independent variable as a function of the moderator. This article describes the familiar pick-a-point approach and the much less familiar Johnson-Neyman technique for probing interactions in linear models and introduces macros for SPSS and SAS to simplify the computations and facilitate the probing of interactions in ordinary least squares and logistic regression. A script version of the SPSS macro is also available for users who prefer a point-and-click user interface rather than command syntax.
Article
Full-text available
In an effort to contribute to greater understanding of norms and identity in the theory of planned behaviour, an extended model was used to predict residential kerbside recycling, with self-identity, personal norms, neighbourhood identification, and injunctive and descriptive social norms as additional predictors. Data from a field study (N=527) using questionnaire measures of predictor variables and an observational measure of recycling behaviour supported the theory. Intentions predicted behaviour, while attitudes, perceived control, and the personal norm predicted intention to recycle. The interaction between neighbourhood identification and injunctive social norms in turn predicted personal norms. Self-identity and the descriptive social norm significantly added to the original theory in predicting intentions as well as behaviour directly. A replication survey on the self-reported recycling behaviours of a random residential sample (N=264) supported the model obtained previously. These findings offer a useful extension of the theory of planned behaviour and some practicable suggestions for pro-recycling interventions. It may be productive to appeal to self-identity by making people feel like recyclers, and to stimulate both injunctive and descriptive norms in the neighbourhood.
Article
This paper explores how the transition to a low-carbon society to mitigate climate change can be better supported by a diet change. As climate mitigation is not the focal goal of consumers who are buying or consuming food, the study highlighted the role of motivational and cognitive background factors, including possible spillover effects. Consumer samples in the Netherlands (n = 527) and the United States (n = 556) were asked to evaluate food-related and energy-related mitigation options in a design that included three food-related options with very different mitigation potentials (i.e. eating less meat, buying local and seasonal food, and buying organic food). They rated each option’s effectiveness and their willingness to adopt it. The outstanding effectiveness of the less meat option (as established by climate experts) was recognized by merely 12% of the Dutch and 6% of the American sample. Many more participants gave fairly positive effectiveness ratings and this was correlated with belief in human causation of climate change, personal importance of climate change, and being a moderate meat eater. Willingness to adopt the less meat option increased with its perceived effectiveness and, controlling for that, it was significantly related to various motivationally relevant factors. The local food option appealed to consumer segments with overlapping but partly different motivational orientations. It was concluded that a transition to a low carbon society can significantly benefit from a special focus on the food-related options to involve more consumers and to improve mitigation.
Article
Measures designed to foster individual sustainable consumption should target high-impact behaviors (impact perspective) and include strategies that promote people’s general motivation to contribute to sustainable development (intent perspective). In doing so, long-term behavioral changes and positive spillover effects may be achieved and negative spillover may be alleviated. Taking into account this twofold perspective on sustainable consump tion, we designed an intervention program for the promotion of sustainable consumption in terms of energy efficiency at the workplace. The program evaluation covered impact-related indica tors in terms of metered energy consumption data, and intent-related indicators in terms of a scale referring to the general motivation to save energy at the workplace. The intervention program showed positive outcomes for both kinds of indicators while the relationships between the indicators were moderate only.
Article
It is important to understand better how people evaluate the environmental impacts of different food aspects. A longitudinal panel study design (. N=. 2600) was used to examine whether the perceptions of various environment-related, food consumption patterns changed between 2010 and 2014 and what factors influenced such changes. The results indicated that participants evaluated the eating less meat (maximum of once or twice per week) behavior as substantially more beneficial for the environment in 2014 compared with 2010. The study design allowed us to examine which factors influenced the changes in the perception of the environmental benefits of eating less meat. Participants who perceived the arguments that reducing meat consumption is better for the environment, better for the health, and prevents animal suffering as more convincing in 2014 compared with 2010 also perceived eating less meat as more beneficial for the environment in the 2014 survey compared with the 2010 survey. An increase in participants' health consciousness and the change scores in their convictions that seasonal fruits and vegetables taste better and are cheaper strengthened their belief that such behaviors would be beneficial for the environment. Therefore, the results suggest that the halo effect may have influenced participants' evaluations. Consumers lack general factual knowledge about product-specific environmental footprints. Highlighting the direct benefits for consumers will likely increase their willingness to reduce environment-unfriendly consumption patterns.
Article
Whether or not different environmentally beneficial choices have common motivational causes are discussed in the framework of partial correlation analysis with structural equation modeling. Correlations between recycling, buying organic food products, and using public transport or bicycle are analyzed based on telephone interviews with a random sample of about 1,100 Danish residents and two replication samples of about 300 from the same population. The study finds that theoretically meaningful correlations are suppressed by background characteristics. Common motivational causes, that is, environmental values and environmental concern, can account for the significant partial correlations between behaviors after controlling for background characteristics.
Article
The primary focus of this research is to explore the effect of pro-environmental behaviour on CO2 emissions in relation to heating, electricity and transport activities in the residential sector. Changing such behaviour has considerable potential for conserving energy and is an important target of environmental policies which are designed to decrease energy consumption. It is hypothesized that people who consciously act in a pro-environmental way do not necessarily have lower CO2 emissions more than those who do not undertake environmental activities. Data about residential energy use is based on a survey carried out in Hungary in 2010 with a sample of 1012 people. Latent cluster analysis (LCA) was conducted based on data about the reported pro-environmental behavior in the survey and four clusters were identified. Relevant sociostructural and structural factors were also inverstigated. Results of the data analysis show that no significant difference is found between the impacts of environmentally aware and environmentally unaware consumers, i.e. both 'Brown' and 'Supergreen' consumers consume approximately the same amount of energy and produce approximately the same amount of carbon emissions because the motivation-driven activities of 'Supergreens' are offset by structural factors.
Article
Sustainable consumption becomes increasingly important for solving sustainability problems: it can empower people to a conscious lifestyle and can pave the way for a sustainability-orientated policy making. But it is not sufficient to consume ecologically friendly products while neglecting those measures with a high environmental impact. To concentrate on so-called key points could therefore be a promising strategy for sustainability communication – but it cannot replace fundamental changes in our political frameworks.
Article
journal published by Elsevier. The attached copy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the authors institution and sharing with colleagues. Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third party websites are prohibited. In most cases authors are permitted to post their version of the article (e.g. in Word or Tex form) to their personal website or institutional repository. Authors requiring further information regarding Elsevier's archiving and manuscript policies are encouraged to visit: a b s t r a c t Many environmental behaviours involve a conflict between hedonic and gain goals versus normative goals; people often need to incur some costs to benefit the environment. Based on this assumption, we propose an integrated theoretical framework for understanding behaviour change that identifies two routes to encourage pro-environmental behaviour. First, the conflict between goals can be reduced by decreasing the (hedonic and gain) costs of pro-environmental choices. Although this route is important when pro-environmental choices are very costly, it may not result in sustained pro-environmental ac-tions. Second, normative goals can be strengthened. This strategy may encourage pro-environmental actions, even when it is somewhat costly. We propose that the strength of normative goals depends on values and situational factors that influence the accessibility of these values. We discuss theoretical implications of our reasoning, and indicate how the integrated framework adopted in this paper may advance theory development and environmental policy making.
Article
In this study, the relevance of psychological variables as predictors of the ecological impact of mobility behavior was investigated in relation to infrastructural and sociodemographic variables. The database consisted of a survey of 1991 inhabitants of three large German cities. In standardized interviews attitudinal factors based on the theory of planned behavior, further mobility-related attitude dimensions, sociodemographic and infrastructural characteristics as well as mobility behavior were measured. Based on the behavior measurement the ecological impact of mobility behavior was individually assessed for all participants of the study. In a regression analysis with ecological impact as dependent variable, sociodemographic and psychological variables were the strongest predictors, whereas infrastructural variables were of minor relevance. This result puts findings of other environmental studies into question which indicate that psychological variables only influence intent-oriented behavior, whereas impact-oriented behavior is mainly determined by sociodemographic and household variables. The design of effective intervention programs to reduce the ecological impact of mobility behavior requires knowledge about the determinants of mobility-related ecological impact, which are primarily the use of private motorized modes and the traveled distances. Separate regression analyses for these two variables provided detailed information about starting points to reduce the ecological impact of mobility behavior.
Article
This article develops a conceptual framework for advancing theories of environ- mentally significant individual behavior and reports on the attempts of the author's research group and others to develop such a theory. It discusses defini- tions of environmentally significant behavior; classifies the behaviors and their causes; assesses theories of environmentalism, focusing especially on value-belief-norm theory; evaluates the relationship between environmental concern and behavior; and summarizes evidence on the factors that determine environmentally significant behaviors and that can effectively alter them. The article concludes by presenting some major propositions supported by available research and some principles for guiding future research and informing the design of behavioral programs for environmental protection. Recent developments in theory and research give hope for building the under- standing needed to effectively alter human behaviors that contribute to environ- mental problems. This article develops a conceptual framework for the theory of environmentally significant individual behavior, reports on developments toward such a theory, and addresses five issues critical to building a theory that can inform efforts to promote proenvironmental behavior.
Article
Since Fukushima, few people still consider nuclear power as a safe technology. The explosion of Deepwater Horizon was yet another incident revealing the dangers involved in the hunt for fossil fuels. Despite the public attention and outrage at these events, neither the concept of environmental citizenship, nor the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has prevailed in the struggle against environmental degradation. Economic growth offsets efficiency gains, while strategies for energy sufficiency are usually not seriously considered. Action towards a more sustainable society, e.g. a 2000 Watt- and 1 ton CO2-society, must be taken by individuals but further incentives must be set. In order to provide individuals with detailed information about their mitigation options, we took the results from a survey of environmental behavior of 3369 Swiss Citizens, and combined them with life cycle assessment. Our results from this bottom-up approach show a huge bandwidth of the ecological footprints among the individuals interviewed. We conclude that a continuous consumption of not more than 2000 Watts per person seems possible for the major part of the population in this society. However, it will be far more difficult not to exceed 1 ton CO2 per capita.
Article
This study analyzes the usefulness of an attitude-based target group approach in predicting the ecological impact of mobility behavior. Based on a survey of 1,991 inhabitants of three large German cities, constructs derived from an expanded version of the Theory of Planned Behavior were used to identify distinct attitude-based target groups. Five groups were identified, each representing a unique combination of attitudes, norms, and values. The groups differed significantly from each other with regard to travel-mode choice, distances traveled, and ecological impact. In comparison with segmentations based on sociodemographic and geographic factors, the predictive power of the attitude-based approach was higher, especially with regard to the use of private motorized modes of transportation. The opportunities and limits of reducing the ecological impact of mobility behavior on the basis of an attitude-based target group approach are discussed.
Article
Recent reports of a relationship between self-identity and behavioral intentions independent of the role of attitudes were examined skeptically in a study of attitudes towards the consumption of organically produced vegetables. We hypothesized that an adequate operationalization of the components of the theory of planned behavior would result in no independent relationship between a measure of self-identity and a measure of behavioral intentions. Two hundred and sixty-one randomly sampled members of the general public returned postal questionnaires relating to this theme. Contrary to expectations, regression analyses showed a substantial independent effect for self-identity; this effect persisted when a measure of past consumption was included in the regression equation. The findings are discussed in relation to the expected-utility origins of the theory of planned behavior and to the range of considerations taken into account when people express their attitudes via the standard questionnaire measures employed research of this kind.
Article
This article reviews recent developments and trends in the qualitative study of social identities. Recent scholarship emphasizes multidimensionality and challenges notions of identity singularity and coherence. These challenges include critiques of the implicit identity monism of approaches that give master status primacy to a single marked identity attribute along race, class, gender, or sexuality axes or that portray static notions of a coherent single unified self-identity. After analyzing the social bases of collective identities and self-identities, this article examines identity strategies, claims to identity authenticity, identity shifts and transitions, and the contextual situatedness and multidimensionality of self-identities. Recent developments in the sociology of identity focus on the multidimensionality and mobility of contemporary identities. These developments can be understood by separating identity research into its analysis of markedness and unmarkedness, authenticity claims, and the role of mobility and flexibility, in contributing to the multidimensional character of social identities
Article
In recent years, attempts have been made to develop an integrated Footprint approach for the assessment of the environmental impacts of production and consumption. In this paper, we provide for the first time a definition of the “Footprint Family” as a suite of indicators to track human pressure on the planet and under different angles. This work has been developed under the 7th Framework Programme in the European Commission (EC) funded One Planet Economy Network: Europe (OPEN:EU) project. It builds on the premise that no single indicator per se is able to comprehensively monitor human impact on the environment, but indicators rather need to be used and interpreted jointly. A description of the research question, rationale and methodology of the Ecological, Carbon and Water Footprint is first provided. Similarities and differences among the three indicators are then highlighted to show how these indicators overlap, interact, and complement each other. The paper concludes by defining the “Footprint Family” of indicators and outlining its appropriate policy use for the European Union (EU). We believe this paper can be of high interest for both policy makers and researchers in the field of ecological indicators, as it brings clarity on most of the misconceptions and misunderstanding around Footprint indicators, their accounting frameworks, messages, and range of application.