Most marketing campaigns aimed at fostering green-oriented behaviors for customers worldwide typically work on the assumption that people are more likely to choose an environmentally-friendly product when presented with financial incentives (i.e. self-interest takes center stage, whereas self-transcending reasons fall in the background).
More precisely, energy efficiency when it comes to household appliances and the like is mainly popularized by drawing attention to less costly electricity bills, and opting for a hybrid or an electric vehicle is argued to cut down on fuel expenses.
However, a study recently published in the journal 'Nature Climate Change
' maintains that bringing forth arguments having to do with environmental protection in itself when promoting a greener lifestyle can not only amount to better results in terms of changing shopping behaviors, but can also translate into what specialists conceptualize as 'spillover'.
Thus, taking part in one environmental campaign makes individuals more willing to adhere to similar projects in the future.
As the researcher who looked into this issue explains, emphasizing self-interest in the detriment of values having more to do with the wellbeing of the natural world and of human society in general is highly unlikely to improve on the way in which people relate to themselves and the environment.
Therefore, it does little – if anything – to change the behavioral patterns of those who find themselves stuck in a not-so-green rut.
“Activation of pro-environmental values increases various pro-environmental behaviours9, because these behaviors have in common the same values and concerns10, and such effects should translate to other, subsequent behavioral contexts,” argues the study.
Furthermore, “By contrast, encouraging an environmental behaviour by appealing to self-interested values should instead augment other self-interested behaviours, while inhibiting the self-transcending motivations that underlie pro-environmental action, thus limiting potential positive spillover.”
From where we stand, these new findings in the field of human psychology need be given due consideration, especially by those who are in the business of increasing the levels of environmental awareness worldwide and by those who wish to bring about long-term changes which are to eventually result in sustainable development.