IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Values, identity and pro-environmental behaviour


  • Birgitta Gatersleben
  • Niamh Murtagh
  • Wokje Abrahamse


The importance of understanding and promoting pro-environmental behaviour among individual consumers in modern Western Societies is generally accepted. Attitudes and attitude change are often examined to help reach this goal. But although attitudes are relatively good predictors of behaviour and are relatively easy to change they only help explain specific behaviours. More stable individual factors such as values and identities may affect a wider range of behaviours. In particular factors which are important to the self are likely to influence behaviour across contexts and situations. This paper examines the role of values and identities in explaining individual pro-environmental behaviours. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from three studies on UK residents, with a total of 2694 participants. Values and identities were good predictors of pro-environmental behaviour in each study and identities explain pro-environmental behaviours over and above specific attitudes. The link between values and behaviours was fully mediated by identities in two studies and partially mediated in one study supporting the idea that identities may be broader concepts which incorporate values. The findings lend support for the concept of identity campaigning to promote sustainable behaviour. Moreover, it suggests fruitful future research directions which should explore the development and maintenance of identities.

Suggested Citation

  • Birgitta Gatersleben & Niamh Murtagh & Wokje Abrahamse, 2014. "Values, identity and pro-environmental behaviour," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(4), pages 374-392, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocxx:v:9:y:2014:i:4:p:374-392
    DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2012.682086

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Guardiola, Jorge, 2020. "Does it have to be a sacrifice? Different notions of the good life, pro-environmental behavior and their heterogeneous impact on well-being," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    2. Steiner, B.E. & Peschel, A.O. & Grebitus, C., 2017. "Multi-Product Category Choices Labeled for Ecological Footprints: Exploring Psychographics and Evolved Psychological Biases for Characterizing Latent Consumer Classes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 251-264.
    3. Faccioli, Michela & Czajkowski, Mikołaj & Glenk, Klaus & Martin-Ortega, Julia, 2020. "Environmental attitudes and place identity as determinants of preferences for ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).
    4. Ariyawardana, Anoma & Lim-Camacho, Lilly & Crimp, Steven & Wellington, Michael & Somogyi, Simon, 2018. "Consumer Response to Climate Adaptation Strategies in the Food Sector: An Australian Scenario," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 383-393.
    5. Alzubaidi, Hawazin & Slade, Emma L. & Dwivedi, Yogesh K., 2021. "Examining antecedents of consumers’ pro-environmental behaviours: TPB extended with materialism and innovativeness," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 685-699.
    6. Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Alhusen, Harm, 2019. "On the determinants of pro-environmental behavior: A literature review and guide for the empirical economist," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 350, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Barbarossa, Camilla & De Pelsmacker, Patrick & Moons, Ingrid, 2017. "Personal Values, Green Self-identity and Electric Car Adoption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 190-200.
    8. Agovino, Massimiliano & Cerciello, Massimiliano & Musella, Gaetano, 2019. "The effects of neighbour influence and cultural consumption on separate waste collection. Theoretical framework and empirical investigation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 1-1.
    9. Prakash, Gyan & Choudhary, Sangita & Kumar, Anil & Garza-Reyes, Jose Arturo & Khan, Syed Abdul Rehman & Panda, Tapan Kumar, 2019. "Do altruistic and egoistic values influence consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions towards eco-friendly packaged products? An empirical investigation," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 163-169.
    10. Eva Kiefhaber & Kathryn Pavlovich & Katharina Spraul, 2020. "Sustainability-Related Identities and the Institutional Environment: The Case of New Zealand Owner–Managers of Small- and Medium-Sized Hospitality Businesses," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 37-51, April.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:rsocxx:v:9:y:2014:i:4:p:374-392. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.