B. Unal; A.M. Ruepert (chair); J. Tonner; A. Spence; C. Leygue. Location: A900

Acceptability of recycling policies: Do top-down interventions work at organizational settings?

A. B. Unal, E. van der Werff, F. Nizamic, & T. A. Nguyen

In the current study, we aimed at testing whether a top-down intervention regarding  an organizational policy change on recycling would lead to higher acceptance of that policy among employees who experienced the top-down intervention  compared to the employees who were not subjected to an intervention (control condition).  The recycling policy change involved removing  all trash bins in the offices overnight, and  asking employees to use new (recycling) bins which were placed at convenient locations on each floor in a building. Two weeks after following the intervention, an online study was carried out asking the participants about the  extent to which they find the new recycling policy acceptable (Participants in the control condition responded based on a hypothetical policy description). Participants also indicated the extent to which they recycle at work, and whether they try to reduce waste at work (i.e., positive spillover). Results revealed that both the acceptability of the new recycling policy and self-reported recycling behaviour were higher among the intervention group than the control group. Interestingly, the control group participants reported to reduce their waste at work to a higher extent than the in the intervention group participants, indicating that participating in the intervention led to negative spillover. The findings indicate that top-down interventions increase the acceptability of (recycling) policies, supporting previous literature (Schuitema, Steg & Forward, 2010). However, such top-down interventions seems to be preventing positive spillover, and might even lead to negative spillover (Thøgersen, 1999). We will discuss the theoretical and practical implications further.

Strengthening the motivation to combat ego-depletion

A. M. Ruepert, K. E. Keizer, & L. Steg

Prolonged claims on self-control, which are often necessary in everyday life, can result in ego-depletion. Ego-depletion reduces the likelihood that people resist immediate gratification to gain societal benefits in the long term. This may have important implications for pro-environmental behaviour, which often requires that people resist immediate gratification to benefit the environment. Yet, little is known about effects of ego-depletion on pro-environmental behaviour; we aim to address this gap in the literature. Whereas it was originally theorized that ego-depletion implies that a limited self-regulatory recourse gets depleted, recently it has been argued that ego-depletion results from a reduced motivation to self-control. We argue that if ego-depletion is indeed a matter of a reduced motivation to self-control, the negative effects of previous acts of self-control on pro-environmental behaviour should be less likely among individuals who have a strong motivation or goal to do the right thing, that is, to act pro-environmentally, even after prolonged claims of self-control. In this presentation we will examine the motivational account, by looking at which factors can secure the motivation to self-control and to engage in pro-environmental actions in depleting contexts. The results of our studies suggest that strong biospheric values and cues that prevent that activate normative goals counter the presumed negative effects of ego-depletion on pro-environmental behaviour.

Why do we behave sustainably?

J. Tonner & R. Greifeneder

Implementing sustainability often proves difficult, because societal benefits in the future come with costs on the individual level now—including, for instance, higher prices, diminished consumption, or less comfort. Offering a new perspective, we do not ask why individuals do not behave sustainably, but why they do, and surprisingly reveal motivations other than idealistic altruism. We review existing conceptual approaches and integrate them into a coherent framework. The existing approaches can all be classified on the two dimensions of Regulatory Focus and Self-Determination: acting sustainably can be guided buy obligations or ideals and can be motivated externally or internally. The framework results in a 2x2-matrix of motivations for sustainable behaviour. Put simply, you can act sustainably to avoid criticism, to gain recognition, to avoid bad feelings or because it makes you happy. This framework allows predictions about which motivation can lead to which type of sustainable behaviour: low-cost or high-cost behaviour that is shown either in public or also privately. To empirically test these predictions, we developed a scale that allows assessing the four different behaviour types and matching individuals to one of the framework’s four quadrants.

Review of Behaviour change Interventions for Energy Saving in the Workplace

A. Spence & S. Staddon

Non-domestic buildings currently account for around 18% of UK carbon emissions, and similar proportions in other countries, and this is expected to increase in the future. Research focusing energy saving interventions in the workplace is notably sparse and dispersed across different disciplines and fields of research. Here we undertake a systematic literature review focused on intervening in a workplace environment in order to reduce energy use. We characterize and assess papers utilizing the behavioural change framework developed by Michie et al (2011) in order to identify trends and gaps in the literature. Notably, most previous interventions utilize a raft of approaches making it difficult to attribute success definitely to key factors. The majority of previous studies have focused on education and persuasion approaches however we observe that successful interventions also often utilize modeling, e.g. examples set by behavior of senior staff, and enablement, e.g., individual support for energy management. Trends in the data also indicate that interventions that involve social influences, e.g. peer education, and public or social incentives, tend to be more successful than other tactics. Our review integrates research across fields, providing insight into successful tactics for encouraging energy saving in the workplace and directions for future research.

Saving energy in the workplace: why, and for whom?

C. Leygue, E. Ferguson, & A. Spence

Reducing energy use in the workplace has enormous potential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Determining motivations to save energy in the workplace is a necessary step in predicting how employees will respond to campaigns and incentives to reduce their energy use in the workplace. The aim of the present study was to develop a scale to measure motivations to save energy at work, and they were measured among 293 employees in two locations. Results reveal altruism towards the organisation (costs and image motivations) and the planet (environmental motivations) are complemented by motivations of warm-glow (feeling good) and, to a lesser extent, self-image promotion at work. Furthermore, energy saving intentions and more broadly, environmental behaviour intentions in the workplace were predicted by environmental concern and wanting to help one’s organisation’s image. However, self-image promotion motivation was associated with less intention to save energy in the workplace. We also demonstrate that motivations to save energy in the workplace, particularly warm-glow, affect how people react to different forms of campaigns to save energy. Results indicate that promoting benevolent motivations, particularly benefits to the organisation, might be an effective addition to the environmental motivations typically used in campaigns