We’re Going Green!
By: Rebekah Mathes
Have you noticed that little white card sitting on your hotel desk with a leaf, globe or general environmental image on the front? If you’ve read them, you’d likely find a message talking about the hotels’ initiative to go green with instructions on how to not require brand new towels or sheets during your stay (to save water and washing energy). Turns out, these new measures are not only designed to help save the hotel’s resources, but also actually help influence the conservation and greenness of its guests.
A study by Wenbo Wang, Aradhna Krishna, and Brent McFerran recently showed that a hotel guests’ willingness to conserve is affected by how they perceive the firms’ concern for the environment. If the business isn’t being seen as “green”, then guests won’t feel driven to be either. Researchers observed that the hotel guests needed to see clear proof dedication to conserving resources before feeling willing to conserve; in one example, giving a hotel guest eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes rather than plastic actually caused them to use less electricity.
Another cause of resistance towards going eco-friendly has been related to gender stereotyping. A series of studies done by Aaron R. Brough, James E.B. Wilkie, Jingjing Ma, Mathew S. Isaac, and David Gal recently discovered that men are less likely to embrace environmentally friendly behaviors and products because “greenness” has been mentally linked with “femininity”. Men reported less willingness to go green as they felt it threatened their sense of masculinity; additional studies found that just changing the name of the product or charity to a more masculine term directly increased interest and favor.
What we learn from these studies is that while people themselves may want to be green, when they are in environments that are not their own, sometimes businesses have more control over their guests’ and consumers’ actions than they thought.