Determinants of pro-environmental behavior: A comparison of university students and staff from diverse faculties at a Swiss University

In the context of an initiative to become a carbon neutral campus, an online survey (N = 1864) of students, scientists, and administrative and technical staff of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) was conducted to measure pro-environmental behaviors and potentially influential factors. Female gender, age, and position (from bachelor's student, master's student, doctoral student, postdoc/senior scientist to professor) showed a significant positive correlation with positive behaviors as measured by a pro-environmental behavior scale developed for this study. Excluded from the academic position ranking were the members of technical and administrative staff, who displayed the highest level of pro-environmental behavior. Furthermore, the level of pro-environmental behavior was generally higher among members of strongly environmentally-oriented university subsections as compared to other sections. Based on previous research and theories on environmental behavior, such as the theory of planned behavior, a predictive model including psychological, structural, and demographic variables was developed and accounted for 44% of the variance of pro-environmental behavior scores. Among psychological variables, the strongest positive influence was observed for green self-identity. Willingness to sacrifice, perceived behavioral control, subjective norms, and perceived effects were also significantly positively related to positive behavior. Future behavioral decision-making models should consider these variables accordingly. The position of the participants was significantly positively correlated with green self-identity, suggesting positive education and socialization effects, but negatively correlated with perceived behavioral control, pointing to practical constraints coincident with professional seniority. (c) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Published in:
Journal Of Cleaner Production, 268, 121864
Sep 20 2020

 Record created 2020-09-03, last modified 2020-10-29

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