Title: Voluntary environmental decision making in firms: green electricity purchases and the role of champions
Authors: Travis Gliedt, Tom Berkhout, Paul Parker, Joseph Doucet
Addresses: Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada. ' Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, The University of British Columbia, Aquatic Ecosystem Research Laboratory, 429-2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. ' Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada. ' School of Business, Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment (CABREE), University of Alberta, 3-20H Business Building, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6, Canada
Abstract: This study investigates the corporate decision to voluntarily purchase premium-priced Green Electricity (GE) by examining the internal and external factors which influence environmental decision making. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight paired firms in Alberta, Canada. Firms purchasing GE typically employed a top-down decision-making process, while firms characterised by a participative process did not. An internal driver (environmental champion) was more significant than external factors (regulations, stakeholder pressure) at influencing firms to voluntarily adopt GE purchasing, while organisational culture was found to moderate the effect of drivers. Cost is a common inhibitor to green purchase decisions, but customer (oil industry) perceptions and government regulations were also identified in some cases.
Keywords: environmental champions; green electricity; corporate decision making; environmental decision making; green organisational culture; Canada; green organisations; voluntary purchasing; costs; green purchasing; customer perceptions; government regulations.
International Journal of Business Environment, 2010 Vol.3 No.3, pp.308 - 328
Published online: 23 Aug 2010 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article