Creating a climate for change: green behaviour important in changing green attitudes

University of Melbourne logoElectricity providers and governments need to do more to change how people think if more people are to take up green electricity, according to a new study.

Associate Professor Angela Paladino, from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Management and Marketing completed the Creating a Climate for Change study for the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group.  She found that consumer perception is king when it comes to alerting attitudes.  ”While these sentiments cannot be changed over the short term, companies and government need to make a concerted effort towards changing the way people think of green energy.”

“They also need to make it a viable alternative for a greater number of consumers.  It is only through the cooperation between industry participants and government and the understanding and participation of consumers that these changes come to fruition and make green products and importantly green power, a viable alternative to fossil fuel generated power in the future.”

The study looked at two unique groups: a ‘core sample’ involving residents in Castlemaine, Harcourt, Hepburn, Newstead, Maldon and surrounds, and a ‘peripheral sample’ involving residents in the Melbourne CBD as well as Ballarat.  Assoc Prof Paladino says while willingness to pay was an issue for both groups, there were some distinct differences in what influences attitudes.

“Subjective norms – as in conforming to the expectation of others – are particularly important for those residing in our core sample, influencing both attitudes and intentions for the core sample, but surprisingly did not play a significant role for the peripheral sample. It seems it’s very much a case of ‘what will the neighbours think!’.

“On the other hand, green participation was more important for our peripheral sample in changing consumer attitudes. Hence, the more consumers that participate in environmental programs or initiatives such as recycling, the more likely they will be to form positive attitudes towards the purchase of green energy.

“These programs also serve as mechanisms of information dissemination which impact numerous variables that have flow-on effects to intentions, such as green power awareness and objective knowledge.”

“While these sentiments cannot be changed over the short term, companies and government need to make a concerted effort towards changing the way people think of green energy. They also need to make it a viable alternative for a larger number of consumers.”

More information:
Associate Professor Angela Paladino
Faculty of Business & Economics
T: +613 8344 1916

David Scott
Media Unit
T: +613 83440561
M: 0409024230
E: dascott@unimelb.edu.au

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