Preaching to the converted: the value of organisationally supported carbon reduction initiatives

Arzuaga, Susel and May, Claire and Matthews, Lee (2016) Preaching to the converted: the value of organisationally supported carbon reduction initiatives. In: The 5th International Conference on Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainable Business, 6 - 7 October 2016, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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Abstract

Organisation led carbon reduction initiatives are bridging the gap between purely individual
environmental action and higher level intervention and regulation. This research looks into one of
those initiatives aimed at engaging employees in carbon reduction. We adopt a single case study
approach following learning activities of volunteers within a UK organisation over four months.
Observations of their activities were conducted, in addition to interviews with participants and
organisers.

Our core findings are, firstly, that rather than engaging a wide range of employees, only a very
narrow group chose to participate. This group bears similarities with Barr and Gilg’s (2006)
classification of ‘committed’ environmentalists which suggests that those willing to participate in
these initiatives may be those for whom environmentalism is personally relevant. That there was
little evidence of the initiative engaging a broader network of employees raises questions on the
effectiveness of these activities in the wider population of employees. Secondly, we identified
attitude behaviour gaps to varying degrees among participants who still made carbon intensive choices especially in relation to air travel, for example.

We conclude by analysing the effectiveness of the intervention and the associated challenges.
Recommendations are made covering several dimensions such as the potential role of technology in
facilitating behaviour change, and organisational policy making with regards to employee
engagement to carbon reduction.

Keywords:multi-level carbon reduction initatives, technologically mediated behavioural change, organisational environmental strategy
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:30580
Deposited On:13 Mar 2018 08:51

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