Thursday, November 8, 2012

What is the motivation for green initiatives?

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-- Guest Article --

Today we have a special guest post on the motivation behind green development, green changes or initiatives. Author: Kim Winston writes for Green Living Savings and is very passionate about saving the planet for future generations.

Green Motivation

Sustainable development defined by The World Commission of Environment and Development (WCED) as “society’s ability to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (1987),” has become a growing concern for people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.  While many people find integrating sustainable practices into daily life challenging being sustainable or green has become a necessity for both industry and individuals alike.

Griskevicius, Tybur, and Van den Bergh (2010) conducted a study and found several factors that motivate people to go green.  According to the authors some people go green because they care about the planet and the people who inhabit it.  In this case people can be motivated to go green by being presented with information about the subject.  Others go green for monetary reasons.  People motivated to go green for financial reasons will introduce green practices or products to save money or receive a financial incentive, such as a tax rebate.  And still others are motivates to go green for status.  Traditionally, people purchase high-end luxury items to obtain status.  However, Griskevicius, Tybur, and Van den Bergh (2010) reported that there is a new breed of individuals who are willing to purchase more expensive green products to achieve social status.  Social recognition and the reputational aspects of going green also motivate people.
The authors wrote that switching to green products or practices involved some form of self-sacrifice, since green products are initially more expensive than other products or involve changing a familiar routine.  Therefore in order to change behavior or encourage green behavior in others it is necessary to understand what motivates a person or firm to go green.

A business may go green for financial reason, social recognition, or its owner may care about the environment and want to conduct business in a way that does no harm to the environment in which it operates or lessen its impact.  The food industry is one industry that has made significant inroads on improving its impact on the environment.  By changing the way food was packaged and the process by which it was packaged the food industry has managed to divert 1.5 billion pounds of waste between 2005 and 2010 from landfills.  It plans to increase that to 2.5 billion pounds of waste by the year 2020.

As individuals the steps we take to go green whether big or small make a significant difference to our environment.

Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., & Van den Bergh, B. (2010). Going green to be seen: Status, reputation, and conspicuous conservation. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 98(3), 392-404. doi:10.1037/a0017346

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