تاثیر باورها و نگرشهای زیست محیطی مصرف کنندگان بر وضعیت صرفه جویی انرژی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|26249||2011||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 39, Issue 12, December 2011, Pages 7684–7694
With a heightened focus on the concept of sustainability in the past few decades, government, business and individuals have become increasingly aware of the need to reduce our environmental footprint. Consequently there has been much research on consumer environmental behaviour, and the beliefs, norms and attitudes that influence this behaviour. In this article we develop a conceptual framework of consumer environmental behaviour and its antecedents, and test hypotheses within the framework by means of a survey of green consumers. The results show that general environmental beliefs do influence norms on environmental actions and prices, but only norms on price are correlated with environmental attitudes; both intrinsic and extrinsic environmental drivers together with social norms and community influence are associated with environmental attitudes, but cost barriers may have a negative influence. It was also found that there was a strong association between environmental attitudes and energy saving behaviours but the latter was not in any way influenced by government policies or subsidies.
With a heightened focus on the concept of sustainability in the past few decades, government, business and individuals have become increasingly aware of the need to reduce our environmental footprint. To this end, governments have developed more comprehensive policies on environmental issues and climate change as evidenced by government initiatives in the UK, Europe, US and Australia (e.g. see http://www.decc.gov.uk; http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/clima/news; http://www.epa.gov/ climatechange/policy; http://www.climatechange.gov.au); many businesses and individuals have adopted a more socially responsible stance by moving beyond mere compliance and engaging in more environmental behaviour (e.g. see Williamson et al., 2006 and Reeves, 2011). However, the challenge is to encourage political leaders to realise the pledges that have been agreed as it has been suggested that change will be most successful where there is global cooperation involving visional leadership driven by a number of motives, the development of networks to influence individual and community behaviour, large numbers of people living low-carbon lifestyles and networks that reach beyond borders to ensure active global support for action (Hale, 2010). Not surprisingly, these issues have also spawned a dramatic increase in the number of publications concerning consumer environmental issues in general. Within this context, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether environmental beliefs and attitudes necessarily result in more environmental behaviours, particularly those concerning energy conservation (e.g. Abrahamse et al., 2005, Barr et al., 2005 and Ozaki and Sevastyanova, 2011). Much of the research on this behaviour has involved models derived from the fields of psychology, in terms of its focus on individual behaviour (e.g. Pickett-Baker and Ozaki, 2008, Caird et al., 2008 and Ozaki and Sevastyanova, 2011), and sociology, in terms of its focus on broader approaches that emphasise social and institutional change (e.g. Blake, 1999, Agyeman and Angus, 2003 and Shove, 2010). However, since the current research is concerned with more individual behaviour, the model we propose is more in keeping with those derived in the psychology field. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is to investigate from an individual behavioural viewpoint whether current environmental beliefs and attitudes are associated with a pattern of energy saving behaviours such as buying energy efficient appliances, recycling paper, glass and plastic and conserving electricity (Pickett-Baker and Ozaki, 2008 and Barr et al., 2005). It has been found that the literature on environmentalism and social responsibility has a focus on the following dimensions: environmental beliefs (Kilbourne and Pickett, 2008, Collins et al., 2007 and O'Connor et al., 1999); environmental norms (de Groot and Steg, 2007, Robinson, 2003, Stern et al., 1999 and Blamey, 1998); environmental attitudes (Gooch, 1995 and Becker et al., 1981); environmental drivers (Caird et al., 2008); environmental barriers, social influences and government policy (Ozaki, 2011, Niemeyer, 2010 and Caird et al., 2008); environmental behaviour (Kilbourne and Pickett, 2008, Cornelissen et al., 2008, Ohtomo and Hirose, 2007, Bamberg, 2003, Stern, 2000 and Blamey, 1998). Therefore, the paper starts with a review of the literature on these dimensions, which leads to the development of a conceptual framework for this study. This is followed by a section detailing the results of the study, in terms of both demographics and hypothesis testing. Finally, a discussion of the results is provided together with conclusions, limitations and implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The main purpose of this research was to investigate whether known antecedents of environmental behaviours were associated with those behaviours. It was found that general environmental beliefs do influence environmental norms on environmental actions and prices, but only environmental norms on price are correlated with environmental attitudes. The results also show that both intrinsic and extrinsic environmental drivers together with social norms and community influence are associated with environmental attitudes, but cost barriers may have a negative influence. Finally, it was found that there was a strong association between environmental attitudes and environmental behaviours but the latter was not in any way influenced by government policies or subsidies. However, it must be acknowledged that there are several limitations of the research as it is primarily based on a modified version of the theory of planned behaviour model, which as noted earlier presupposes that individuals behave rationally, whereas in reality this is not always the case (Blake, 1999, Agyeman and Angus, 2003 and Shove, 2010). Moreover, rational models such as the TPB assume that people make logical decisions that are in the best interest of the community. However, due to several other factors such as lack of time to analyse, limited information about issues and options, limited processing capacity or just lack of interest and laziness (Blake, 1999), consumers may not behave rationally all of the time and could look for options until they find the one, which looks satisfactory rather than making an optimal choice, i.e., they tend to use a satisficing approach (Bartol et al., 2011). Alternately, some consumers may use more negotiation in making a decision concerning environmental behaviour, which involves making compromises (Hill et al., 2007). While the theoretical model used in this study was based on prior research, the operationalisation of constructs may not fully reflect the true nature of those constructs. For example, the construct ‘environmental barriers’ included practicality items related to time, information and cost constraints, but due to the limited scope of the research, did not include other constraints such as lack of interest or shared responsibility for environmental behaviour (see Blake, 1999 and Shove, 2010). Most importantly though is the limitation that the theory of planned behaviour is only an individual behaviour model that does not purport to incorporate wider structural and institutional considerations that enable or restrict environmental action (Blake, 1999). This is especially pertinent to government environmental policy that may implicitly be based solely on the theory of planned behaviour, when in fact more participation is required at not only the consumer level but also at the institutional level (Shove, 2010). Nevertheless, the results of this study have both theoretical and policy implications. The main theoretical implications relate to the strong associations between environmental drivers and attitudes, and between environmental attitudes and environmental behaviour. Much of the prior environmental research on the theory of reasoned action and planned behaviour shows that there is a gap between environmental beliefs or attitudes and behaviour (eg Pickett-Baker and Ozaki, 2008 and Ozaki, 2011). That is, positive environmental beliefs or attitudes do not necessarily translate into environmental behaviours (Ozaki, 2011). In contrast, the results of this study show that certain environmental beliefs and attitudes would appear to directly influence environmental behaviour. Perhaps this may be attributable to the fact that the target respondents were already green consumers, but Ozaki (2011) found that even green consumers may be indecisive in adopting green energy alternatives. Another plausible explanation is that environmentally conscious consumers may now be more committed to environmental behaviours, and thus their strongly held environmental beliefs and attitudes do actually lead to positive environmental behaviours. However, it should still be acknowledged that cost is still a barrier to adoption of environmental behaviours. Nevertheless, the availability of appropriate technologies is also changing as is the price associated with them. With improved technologies and more efficient manufacturing processes, the price will go down thus making adoption more attractive in the future. Consequently, further research is called for in this area. Perhaps this could lead to useful longitudinal studies that can provide feedback to future policy makers. Thus, policy implications would include the need to assure consumers that in the long term the benefits will outweigh the costs from engaging in positive environmental behaviour. For example, in Great Britain energy suppliers are obliged to provide a 25 year guarantee for feed in tariffs for customers (Guardian, 2010) and this consists of regular payments directly to customers who generate green energy. Similar schemes exist in many other countries (notably Germany). Australia's scheme, however, is very inconsistent and without a uniform policy across states. Unlike Great Britain, there are no guarantees given that the scheme will last for any length of time and schemes in some states have been discontinued (Energy Matters, 2011). However, it was found that government policies and subsidies did not influence environmental behaviour. Whilst surprising, such a finding may indicate that green consumers do not trust governments to deliver on promises for better policies and subsidies that will offset their costs. Perhaps this reflects a growing disenchantment following government failure in Australia to secure consumer confidence after subsidies on home insulation led to poor workmanship and a number of safety concerns. In any case, there is certainly a need for improved government policies and subsidies that are perceived as benefitting those who are committed to better environmental solutions. This is particularly pertinent within the context of a more enlightened consumer awareness of environmental issues and their consequent willingness to pay higher prices to protect the environment and mitigate the impact of global warming. The fact that social and community influence was also associated with positive environmental attitudes would also suggest that well considered government involvement in environmental campaigns targeted at community and environmental groups could result in changing community and individual environmental attitudes for the better. In addition, it could very well be the case that consumers are concerned that their “green subsidies” may suddenly disappear with a change in government, and this may cause uncertainty that affects their environmental attitudes and behaviour. Thus, it is imperative that governments have some consistency in their arguments on climate change. Another important policy consideration is raising the environmental awareness of not only individual consumers, but also business organisations, educational institutions, local councils and local government authorities with a view to devolving more environmental responsibilities to these bodies. The usual caveats apply to the use of self-administered mail questionnaires for this survey: lack of in-depth information, social desirability bias and non-response bias, though efforts were made to reduce the possibility of non-response bias by comparing early with late respondents. These factors combined with a small sample size may limit the generalisability of the research findings to other settings. Nevertheless, the study has provided some further insights into the links between environmental attitudes, together with the beliefs, norms, barriers and social influences underlying these attitudes, and environmental behaviour.