Is an Appeal Enough? The Limited Impact of Financial, Environmental, and Communal Appeals in Promoting Involvement in Community Environmental Initiatives

Daniel Sloot*, Lise Jans, Linda Steg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Community environmental initiatives are set up by community members to promote pro-environmental behaviours in their community. Community members involved in these initiatives are likely to behave more pro-environmentally. Yet, the question remains how to get community members involved. Previous findings suggest stronger environmental and communal, but not financial, motives promote people’s involvement in community environmental initiatives. The present paper examines whether appeals to such environmental or communal motives can promote involvement more than appeals to financial motives or no appeals. Three experimental studies revealed that environmental and communal appeals did not promote initiative involvement more than financial appeals or no appeals. Moreover, a combined environmental and communal appeal was not more effective than single appeals. Furthermore, in a field study examining 167 existing community energy initiatives, we found no relationship between the emphasis in flyers on financial, environmental, and communal benefits of initiative involvement and the proportion of community members involved in these initiatives. These findings suggest appeals may not be enough to promote initiative involvement. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1085
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21-Jan-2021

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