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The Influence of Environmental Identities on Sustainable Market Behaviors

English title The Influence of Environmental Identities on Sustainable Market Behaviors
Applicant Czellar Sandor
Number 172358
Funding scheme NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
Research institution Département de Marketing HEC Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Science of management
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021
Approved amount 561'327.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Science of management
Psychology

Keywords (6)

Behaviour; identity-based motivation; sustainability; environmental identity; market behavior; measurement

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Wer sind wir und wie sehen wir uns? Diese Fragen leiten hin zu unserer persönlichen Identität und können unser tägliches Verhalten beeinflussen. Unsere Identität beeinflusst auch unsere Entscheidungen als Konsumentinnen und Konsumenten. Wir untersuchen, wie identitätsbezogenen Anreize zu nachhaltigem Konsumverhalten beitragen können.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Was ist die Natur und warum fühlen wir uns ihr nah? Glauben wir, dass die die Natur Teil unseres Ichs ist? Sind wir Teil der Natur? Fühlen wir uns von der Natur beherrscht oder werden wir tatsächlich von ihr beherrscht? In welchen Fällen können wir uns auf das Vorhandensein unserer Umweltidentität konzentrieren? Wie können wir die Rolle der Umweltidentität in unserem Konsumverhalten stärken? Es scheint, dass wir mehr über den Begriff der Umweltidentität in Bezug auf nachhaltiges Verhalten wissen müssen.

Ziel
Zunächst werden wir die eigentliche Bedeutung der Natur in den Augen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger sowie die Abweichungen in der Umweltidentifikation nach Wohnorten, soziodemografischen und psychologischen Faktoren untersuchen. Anschliessend stellen wir die Frage: Wie lässt sich mithilfe von Kommunikationsinstrumenten die Umweltidentität der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in unterschiedlichen Situationen, in denen nachhaltige Entscheidungen getroffen werden, aktivieren? Schliesslich geht es darum zu erfahren, wie die Relevanz von nachhaltigem Verhalten in den Augen der Konsumentinnen und Konsumenten erhöhen lässt.

Bedeutung
Die Forschung zur Umweltidentität hat Fragebögen und andere Instrumente hervorgebracht, um die Intensität der Umweltidentität der Bürgerinnen und Bürger zu bewerten. Darauf bauend bietet unser Projekt eine umfassendere Sicht des Begriffs der persönlichen Identität. Die Ergebnisse unserer Forschung werden für Behörden und private Unternehmen, die an der Entwicklung von Kommunikations- und Bildungsprogrammen interessiert sind, von Nutzen sein. Unsere Empfehlungen zielen darauf ab, nachhaltige Verhaltensweisen durch die Hervorhebung von Identitätsmechanismen zu stärken.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Qui sommes-nous et comment nous voyons-nous? Ces questions renvoient à notre identité personnelle et peuvent influencer nos comportements quotidiens. Notre identité influence aussi nos décisions en tant que consommateurs et consommatrices. Nous étudions comment les motivations identitaires peuvent contribuer à des comportements de consommation durables.
Lay summary

Contexte
Qu’est-ce que la nature et pourquoi nous sentons-nous proches d‘elle? Pensons-nous que la nature fait partie de notre ego? Faisons-nous partie de la nature? Sentons-nous dominés par la nature ou sommes-nous dominés par elle? Dans quels cas pouvons-nous nous focaliser sur la présence de notre identité environnementale? Comment renforcer le rôle de l’identité environnementale dans nos actes de consommation? Il apparaît que nous avons besoin d’en savoir plus sur la notion d’identité environnementale ainsi que sur ses tenants et aboutissants en matière de comportements durables.

Objectifs
D‘abord, nous étudierons le sens-même de la nature aux yeux des citoyens et citoyennes ainsi que les variations dans l’identification environnementale en fonction des lieux d’habitation, de facteurs socio-démographiques et de facteurs psychologiques. Ensuite, nous poserons la question: comment activer, à l’aide d’outils de communication, l’identité environnementale des citoyens et citoyennes dans différentes situations qui impliquent des choix durables? Enfin, il sera question de savoir comment augmenter la pertinence identitaire des comportements durables aux yeux des consommateurs et consommatrices.

Importance
Les travaux sur l’identité environnementale ont développé des questionnaires et autres outils permettant d’évaluer l’intensité de l’identité environnementale des citoyens et citoyennes. Sur ces bases, notre projet propose une vue plus élargie sur la notion d’identité personnelle. Les résultats de nos recherches seront utiles aux autorités publiques et aux sociétés privées, soucieuses de développer des programmes de communication et d’éducation. Nos recommandations viseront à renforcer les comportements durables en mettant en valeur des mécanismes identitaires.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Who are we and how do we see ourselves? These questions relate to our personal identity and can influence our daily behaviour. Our identity also influences our decisions as consumers. We are examining how identity-based incentives can contribute towards sustainable consumer behaviour.
Lay summary
Background
What is nature and why do we feel close to it? Do we think that nature is part of our ego? Are we part of nature? Do we feel controlled by nature or are we indeed controlled by it? In which situations can we focus on the presence of our environmental identity? How can we strengthen the role of environmental identity in our consumer behaviour? It seems that we need to know more about the concept of environmental identity and all the aspects of sustainable behaviour.

 Aims
Firstly, we will study the very meaning of nature, as perceived by citizens, along with variations in environmental identification according to places of residence as well as socio-demographic and psychological factors. We will then raise the question: How can communication tools be used to activate citizens’ environmental identities in different situations in which sustainable decisions are made? Finally, we will explore how to increase the identity-related relevance of sustainable behaviour from consumers’ standpoints.

Importance
Research on environmental identity has produced questionnaires and other tools to assess the intensity of citizens’ environmental identity. Based on this, our project will provide a broader view of the notion of personal identity. The results of our research will prove useful to public authorities and private companies keen to develop communication and education programmes. Our recommendations will aim to consolidate sustainable behaviour by emphasising identity mechanisms.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Department of Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Business, Ghent University Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
School of Business, Maynooth College Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
137974 Investigating the Validity of the Implicit Association Test in Consumer Domains 01.02.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Identity-based motivations affect our decisions in a broad spectrum of market behaviors (Oyserman, 2009; Reed, Forehand, Puntoni, & Warlop, 2012). With respect to sustainable behavior, we frequently make decisions in domains such as consumption of durables and non-durables, choice of residence, transportation, and waste disposal (Schultz & Kaiser, 2012). Many of these important decisions are influenced by motivations related to our environmental identity (Schultz, 2002). Environmental identity is the “belief that the environment is important to us and an important part of who we are” (Clayton, 2003, page 46). Despite extant research efforts, we need further insights about this key concept, how it forms in our minds and how it affects our sustainable market decisions (Clayton, 2012; Kotler, 2011). With the help of a previous SNSF grant (100018_137974, 2012-2015), we made conceptual and methodological contributions to the measurement of environmental identity (Martin & Czellar, 2016) and started to investigate its behavioral consequences (Martin & Czellar, 2017). The current proposal suggests that in order to foster sustainable market behaviors, we need a better understanding of:(1)how individuals view and construe their own environmental identity; (2)through which situational and communication means this identity can be activated;(3)what types of sustainable behaviors are relevant for an individual’s active identity.We take a multi-disciplinary approach combining the social/psychological study of environmental identity with the investigation of suitable economic/communication strategies to increase sustainable behaviors in Swiss citizens, with applications for Swiss public authorities and employers. The proposal caters to Modules 2, 3 and 4. Beyond its theoretical significance, it bears substantial applications for public policy and corporate interventions. It will identify how people form their environmental identity and which personal/situational factors influence it. These insights will help to design effective product information and communication/education programs for encouraging these identities in Swiss consumers (Module 2). Our research relates also to Module 3, by highlighting how positive, identity-related, incentives can complement economic/legal incentives for encouraging sustainable market behaviors (Akerlof & Kranton, 2010; Bolderdijk & Steg, 2015). Based on our insights, we plan to develop case studies of implementation strategies at a Swiss regional level to investigate the effectiveness of extant as well as future sustainable messages/incentives targeting the inhabitants (Module 4). Results will provide policy makers with prototypes that can easily be adjusted to specific situations and interventions.
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