Cutting carbon emissions is a key priority for all public and private sector actors. Therefore in the drive towards a low carbon future, businesses and communities have an important role to play. In order to achieve carbon sustainability there needs to be a good understanding of environmental behaviour. The ongoing study presented here is investigating the antecedents of low carbon behaviour (barriers and motivations) in the context of the rural working environment. Aspects covered include, decision-making and action taken by business owners, managers and non management employees within the tourism sector relating to issues such as energy efficiency, consumption, transport and procurement.

Initial research suggested a number of antecedents to explain low carbon behaviour. Therefore an exploratory behaviour model was developed based on an expanded version of the ‘Theory of Planned Behaviour’ with additional constructs highlighted in the PhD’s pilot study and focus groups which took place earlier in the research. The constructs in the exploratory behavioural model include: business characteristics; individual characteristics; contextual issues, e.g. cost, building infrastructure, environmental management system; environmental attitudes; subjective and social norms; behavioural control and environmental identity. The constructs within the model were then operationalised in the design of a questionnaire survey which was disseminated throughout rural Scotland to tourism related businesses. The data from this questionnaire will be analysed through the use of cluster analysis and structural equation modelling (SEM).

This presentation will focus on the initial findings from the questionnaire study, highlighting those low carbon behaviours that tourism businesses are currently undertaking; whether differences occur between business sectors, organisational structures, work and home environments; the barriers individuals face in choosing low carbon practices, their motivations and willingness to uptake sustainable technologies, such as renewable energy. Conclusions will be drawn regarding the potential processes and initiatives which may facilitate greater adoption of low carbon behaviours in the workplace throughout rural Scotland. Theoretical reflections and methodological challenges will also be discussed.