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Egoistic, altruistic and biospheric concerns and environmental behaviour of young adults.

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Over the past decade environmental conditions of the earth have begun to deteriorate and this has led to an increase in environmental concern as well as the promotion of green products, campaigns and conservation behaviours. However it is still unclear as to which specific concerns have the greatest effect on the actual green behaviour of individuals in South Africa. This study investigates which particular ecological concerns have the most impact on a variety of environmental behaviours. In order to fully understand this, ecological concerns were analysed by measuring the egoistic, altruistic and biospheric values of individuals, as well as their environmental beliefs. By utilizing data obtained from a sample of 386 students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, statistical analyses that include descriptive statistics, factor analyses, correlation tests and multiple regression analyses were employed to determine the frequencies and relationships between environmental values, beliefs and behaviours. It was found that egoistic values were the most common of all the values, followed by altruistic values, with biospheric values possessing the least importance to the respondents. Environmental beliefs were found to be marginally pro-environmental. Possible reasons for the low levels of biospheric values and environmental beliefs include low levels of ecological awareness and a disconnection between the lives of well-being of individuals and nature. However it was determined that in fact biospheric values and environmental beliefs had the strongest positive relationship with the green behaviours tested and were also found to be the only individual significant predictors of green behaviour. Based on these conclusions recommendations for governments, businesses and marketers were made that should focus on emphasizing the protection of the elements of the earth as well as creating a connection between biospheric elements and egoistic needs of individuals. Marketing strategies should also increase the environmental awareness of consumers and concentrate on promoting products and services that are in line with environmental beliefs. Limitations of the research are stated and recommendations for future research are outlined.


Master of Commerce. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2016.


Theses - Management Studies.