Who Cares More About the Environment, Those with an Intrinsic, an Extrinsic, a Quest, or an Atheistic Religious Orientation?: Investigating the Effect of Religious Ad Appeals on Attitudes Toward the Environment

Journal of Business Ethics 185 (2):427-448 (2023)
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Abstract

There is a consensus among scientists that climate change is an existing, growing, and human-made threat to our planet. The topic is a divisive issue worldwide, including among people of faith. Little research has focused on the relationship between (non)religious belief and climate change. Hence, in Studies 1 and 2, the authors explore the impact of religious/non-religious orientations: intrinsic (religion as an end in itself), extrinsic (religion as a means to an end), quest (a journey toward religious understanding), and non-religious orientation (i.e., atheistic) on consumer attitudes toward the environment, focusing on recycling advertisements with (non)religious cues. Further, in Study 3, we examine the underlying causal mechanism of environmental identity and the moderating effect of political views on consumers’ lack of belief in climate change. The results show that religious people are less committed to the environment and climate change and that atheism positively affects recycling and climate change identity. The findings offer practical implications in that advertising campaigns need to be endorsed by religious leaders and channeled within the confines of the religious institutions they represent.

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