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4.5 Concluding Thoughts

This chapter focused on factors influencing pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors, primarily among citizens rather than employees. Such background knowledge is useful for sustainability communicators, as is information on how to use communication to promote pro-environmental behaviors. Although some people come into their organizational roles self-identifying as environmentalists, many others do not.

In 2014, researchers gathered online survey data from more than 48,000 consumers in 20 countries. They found 64 % of their respondents in China selfidentified as environmentalists, more than twice as many as in Europe and the USA (Nicolaou 2014). That same year, the Pew Research Center surveyed 1,821 US adults finding that 32 % of the Millennials (ages 18–33), 42 % of Gen X (ages 34–49) and Boomers (ages 50–68), and 44 % of the Silent Generation (69–86) selfidentified as environmentalists. Organizational leaders seeking to promote sustainability initiatives cannot assume that their younger employees will automatically embrace pro-environmental initiatives just because the broader societal Discourses are increasingly addressing sustainability. Knowledge about sustainability must be integrated into existing organizational processes and organizational cultures and climates must be designed to support sustainability initiatives. Employees must be empowered and a sustainability-focused “buzz” created.


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