How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-environmental Change Among Supporters?

HOW CAN FOOTBALL CLUBS INSTIGATE A PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOUR
CHANGE AMONG THEIR SUPPORTERS?
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Table of Contents Abstract… Chapter 1 ………. Introduction…………….. Background of Study ………… Statement of Problem ……….. Theoretical Framework…. Significance of study ……………… Hypothesis……. Chapter 2 ……. Literature Review …. A) Arsenal……. b) Chelsea… C) Liverpool…….. Beyond the Premier League (Forest Green Rovers)…………. Clean Energy….. Interpretative Geography ……….. Veganism Plus ………….. Methodology ……………………….. Procedure and Participants ………. Stimuli… ………. Credibility ………….. Attractiveness …………. Internalization.. ……………
………………. Team Identification………….. Intention to Support the Sports Club Initiative… Intention to Take part in Daily Pro-Environmental Behavior… Analysis …….. Manipulation Check ……………..
Analysis of Measurement Model ………… Analysis of Structural Model.. Assessment of Moderating Effects… Results ………… Manipulation Check ………..
Testing of Measurement Model …. Testing of Structural Model… Descriptive Statistics……………… Testing of Global Treatment Effects Structural Model (Testing ).. Robustness Check ………. …………… Testing of Moderating Effects………. Discussion….
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How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 3
Limitations and Directions for Future Research …….
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 4
HOW CAN FOOTBALL CLUBS INSTIGATE A PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOUR
CHANGE AMONG THEIR SUPPORTERS?
Abstract Sports could be a vehicle to nurture environmental sustainability consciousness or environmental protection. This is possible because first, sports clubs have an established institutional eminence in the community; hence they can highly influence behaviour change in consumers. Secondly, sports, especially UK football, which the most followed sport in the world, drives a high level of passion and identity. That means that the activities of a sports club could highly influence the values and attitudes of the consumers to make them adopt pro-environmental behaviour. The study uses the internalization perspective originally coiled by Herbert C. Kelman and the ideology of team identification to explain how a sports team could induce consumers to take part in pro-environmental behaviour. Internationalization is a cognitive process whereby an individual thinks of what is said and fits the idea or belief into their existing schema, values, and beliefs. One hundred ninety-seven students from North Eastern University were subjected to a web-based survey that offered their opinion about pro-environmental incentives. Findings from the research indicate that there is a positive correlation between efficient environmental practices of a football club and an increase in internalization among the supporters. Further, this increased internationalization mediates the connection between environmental practices and pro environmental behaviour measured by two objectives. The first objective is to bolster the team’s environmental initiative, and the second is to take part in pro-environmental behaviour. This
study contributes to academic literature as it highlights the significance of the role of internalization. The research also offers insight into the social impact that sports organizations
contribute.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Pro-environmental behaviour, Internalization,
Identification
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 5
Chapter 1
Introduction
One of the major global concerns is on the adverse effects that sports can bring to the
environment. For instance, mega sports events could harm the environment as people consume
resources that generate food and drink waste. Given the adverse effects that sports events could
bring to the environment, various sports organisations have incorporated major environmental
sustainability practices in their operations. The implementation of environmental practices by
sports teams also fosters awareness of environmental concerns (Jenkins & James, 2012). Most
Premier League clubs have resorted to implementing measures to curb various aspects of
environmental degradation. These issues point to what ecological impacts needs to address,
measures to put in place to do so, and potential challenges that may be encountered (Lockwood
& Skelton, 2020). Some of the notable examples include clean energy, energy efficiency,
communication and engagements, water efficiency, plant-based, sustainable transport, waste
management, and single-use plastic reduction or removal (Arora, 2018). Premier League teams
aim to achieve the above-mentioned objectives to boost their sustainability. Other clubs have
seemingly joined the efforts; a notable example is the Forest Green Rovers, a League Two club
(Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). Despite the prevailing notions that the sports teams can assume a
major role in protecting the environment, there is a lack of empirical research explaining ‘how’
football clubs prompt a pro-environmental behavior adjustment among their stalwarts. Previous
researches have mainly discussed the subject on conceptual framework hence the need to have
empirical scrutiny of the subject. There is also no framework that explains this procedure using
the extensive literature of Corporate Social responsibility(CSR). Previous researchers mainly
explain the business return and benefits of incorporating CSR. The major focus of this study will
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 6
be on football in the UK with particular emphasis on premier league football teams as well as
Forest Green Rovers.
Background of the Study
Various academic literature agrees that sports evoke passion and interest in people. Activities
by sports organisations could impact consumer’s values to adopt pro-environmental behavior. An
individual may adopt a particular behavior that is in congruence with his values as a way to
supplement their own values and beliefs. Studies by Baldwin (2010) and Matsui (2015) explain
that consumers adopt pro-environmental behavior from sports organisations because their
environmental efforts make the individual perceive a high-value congruence with the sports
organisation. This reinforces their pre-existing values and beliefs. Individuals may also adopt
such behaviors to fill up what is missing in their value framworks. That means that a consumer
might not necessarily be concerned about environmental protection issues but still may adopt the
behavior to be in congruence with the organisational behavior since such adoption permits them
to satisfy their emotional needs (Carmichael, 2019). Therefore, to fully comprehend the whole
idea behind sustainability involving UK footballing clubs, this study investigates how sports
clubs can instigate pro-environmental changes among their supporters.
This research adopts two perspectives to explain the potential of sports teams to be effective
in promoting pro-environmental behavior. First is that the sports clubs and their team players
enjoy celebrity statuses, which makes them the best and trusted communicators of persuasive
messages. The second perspective is that sports teams have the ability to evoke passion and
interest and high identity among the consumers led by staunch supporters who are
psychologically attached to their clubs. Consumers often engage in activities that align with the
practices of their favorite teams. These two perspectives form the theoretical foundation of this
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 7
research. The first perspective uses Kelman’s theory of internationalization to explains how
messages persuade people to adopt the intended behavior. The second perspective will be
described through the ideology of team identification, whereby consumer identification to a
particular team affects their behavior related to such clubs.
Statement of the Problem
Since the early Palaeolithic period, the issue of environmental sustainability has become one
of the most popular conversations among sports management literature. Billions of people across
the globe perceive sports as a unifying force in the global culture. The sports market is worth $
600-700 billion, which is increasing faster than the global GDP. Sports are seen as a panacea, a
force to bring public good, improve self-esteem, promote wellbeing, improve living standards,
reinforce collective identities, and contributing to self-inclusion. As sports are increasingly
prominent, a considerable number of employees, teams, leagues, and sports originations are
becoming more socially and environmentally responsible. Sports teams, therefore, recognize that
they are an essential part of the community and thus owe a special responsibility to the
community, either to the local authority, business, or the environment in general. The problem
underlying this research is the lack of a comprehensive model that explains how football clubs
can prompt pro-environmental behavior among its stalwarts. This study, therefore, aims to
explain how sports teams can induce consumers to take part in pro-environmental behaviors.
Specific qualities of a sports team’s environmental practices might raise consumer internalization
of the club’s values. Such attributes would further persuade consumers to adopt
proenevironmental behaviour through the mediation of internalization. This study is significant
contributes to sports literature as it provides evidence that sport’s club has the power to bring
positive change to society by successfully encouraging socially beneficial behavior.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 8
Theoretical Framework
Internationalization and Identification terms will form the foundation of this study. Even
though they are closely related, the terms differ in the subsequent condition of acceptance of the
induced behavior, attitudes, and values. With identification, an individual may associate
themselves with a particular organisation without the necessary accepting the values of that
organisation. However, with internationalization, it requires acceptance of the values that the
organisation holds. A study by (De Bosscher, Du Bois & Heyndels, 2012) defines identification
as a ‘mental state of self-categorization, which differs from accepting organisational values and
attributes. Another difference is the degree of attachment to a particular organisation. With
internalization, an individual may share the same values with the sports club and not have a
sense of connection. However, with identification, the concern is on attachment with that specific
organisation. The two terms also differ in the sequent situations where encouraged behavior will
take place. For instance, one takes on induced behavior through internalization. One is likely to
take part in the induced behavior any time pertinent issues take place. That means that than an
induced behavior mixes with individuals existing value system to solve an existing situation. On
the other hand, under-identification, an individual only performs the behavior when an individual
faces a situation whereby the action of the behavior will prompt a salient connection with the
organisation. That means that with identification, individuals adopt behavior to reinforce their
connection with the organisation that they are affiliated with.
This study develops its theoretical framework from the position that the sports club induces
consumers to take part om proenvironmental behavior through the internalization process. The
two factors used under this element is positive environmental sustainability practices and the
involvement of athletes. The two elements are expected to improve consumer
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 9
internationalization of the club’s values. Internationalization behavior is, in return, expected to
stimulate proenvironmental behavior. This study will focus on two intentions, that is, supporting
the club’s environmental initiatives and the intention to take part in proenvironmental behaviors
on a daily routine. The research proposes that team identification impacts the process of adopting
proenevironmental behavior as moderation.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 10
Fig 1: Theoretical Model
Team Identification
Intention to support
the initiative
Environmental sustainability
behavior
Internalization
Athlete’s involvement
Intention to engage
in proenvironmental behavior daily
Observed Variable
Latent Variable
Significance of the study
The study aims to understand how football clubs can prompt their suppoters to take part in a
pro-environmental behavior. The research uses the process of Kelman’s perspective
internationalization theory, which emphasises that for an individual to adopt a particular
behavior, perceived value congruence must occur (Trail, Anderson & Fink, 2005). This study
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters ? 11
attempts to unveil whether attributes that sports teams adopt in their initiative to protect the
environment increase consumer’s internationalization of team values. The idea is to investigate
whether these attributes would influence consumer’s pro-environmental behavior through the use
of the internalization concept and comparing it to a relatable but different concept of
identification. The study contributes to existing literature, first by demonstrating that
internalization creates a significant link between CSR and consumer approval of the proposed
behavior. This study is also significant as it provides evidence that sports organisations could
contribute positively to promoting socially beneficial ideas and behaviors among consumers.
Hypothesis
1. H1: Positive environmental sustainability practices adopted by the sport’s club will increase
consumer internalization
2. H2: Internalization mediate the relationship between sport’s club positive environmental
sustainability practices and the intention of the customer to support the club’s environmental
initiatives
3. H3: Internalization mediate the relationship between a sports club’s positive environmental
sustainability practices and the intention of the consumer to engage in the pro-environmental
behavior on a daily basis
4. H4: Involvement of athletes in the sports club’s environmental sustainability initiatives increases
consumer internalization of the club’s values
5. H5: Internalization mediate the relationship between the athlete’s involvement and the intention
of the consumer to support environmental sustainability practices
6. H6: Internalization mediate the relationship between the athlete’s involvement and intention of
consumers to practice in the pro-environmental behavior on a daily basis
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 12
Hypothesis 7
a) Supporter identification with a football club moderates their relationship between the club’s
positive environmental practices and internalization.
b) Supporter identification with a team will moderate the relationship between the athlete’s
involvement and internalization.
c) Identification with a particular football club will moderate the relationship between
internalization and the intention to support a club’s environmental sustainability practices.
d) Identification with a particular team moderates the relationship between internalization and
intention of the consumer to behave in the pro-environmental behaviour.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 13
Chapter 2
Literature Review
Sports are highly dependent on the environment and are known to contribute to environmental
degradation. Sports industry personnel have acknowledged this fact and have been involved in
several environmental protection measures. To explain this concept, the term sustainability is
used. A study by Arora (2018) explains that sustainability is catering to the needs of the present
generation without compromising the capacity of the future generation of meeting their future
needs. The benefits of sustainability include safer and healthier working conditions, the
betterment of the environment, and gives competitive advantages to businesses. The sport’s
industry has been making heavy investments in environmental sustainability. The Olympic
Games in Beijing, for instance, spent a whopping amount of over US$ 17 billion used between
the period 2001 to 2007 (Hughes, Semeijn & Caniels, 2017). This money was channeled to water
protection, energy contribution, upgrade of the transportation system among other areas. Another
case is by the Federation Internationale de football, which implemented the Green Goal
program for the world cup in German in 2006 (Anagnostopoulos, 2013). This program has now
become the driving force for evaluating bids for planning the world cup events. While there are
various sports personnel that are dedicated to addressing the adverse impact that sports activities
bring to the environment, a strategic approach needs to be adopted, which involves planning and
engagement, creating networks and partnerships, and establishing relations.
The football clubs, especially in the UK, are not only interested in sporting activities in the
field, but they are additionally conscious of their social responsibility. Nick Hornby Writes that
the sports clubs owe ….a sense of decency to their funs’ (Leemans & Solecki, 2013).Sports
clubs enjoy a privileged position (PP) as they act as an ambassador of their community. They,
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 14
therefore, have to represent their community through the result both on the field and activities
outside the field. Sports clubs, as described by Walter and Tacon (2010), are an identification
vehicle for the citizens. Alexander Colibs Wynn (2007) argues that sports command ‘hearts of
their fans.’ He further states that football clubs can be designed to reflect the cultural beliefs,
practices, symbols and spirits, and national ideologies. A football club that engages in
environmental conservation activities, other than producing matches for the funs, the privileged
position (PP) is a powerful tool to engage people, creating a strong link between the two (Arora
& Panosyan, 2019). Because of the support that fans show for their clubs, the clubs pay them
back through charity. These actions cause a strong bond between the two, with the fans using
showing support for a cause taken by the organisations.
Corporate Social Responsibility principle holds that businesses, for that matter, sports clubs,
ought to know that they have an influence on the society they operate in and thus much be
responsible enough to act on it. A study by Breitbarth and Harris (2008) explains that CSR is the
organisational connection between people in society and community stakeholders. In England,
football clubs became more conscious of their role in society in the early 1980s. During this
time, the country was facing intense racial tensions that trigged riots in London, Liverpool,
Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham. The riots, as explained by Anagnostopoulos and Shilbury,
(2013), were caused by poor communities who complained to be living in poor conditions with
barely anything to eat. In response to the public outcry, the British government launched various
inclusion programs one, of them, known as ‘Action Sport”. The goal of this program was to
improve the living standards of people in poor neighborhoods by encouraging participation in
sports (Rosca, 2011). It was discovered that spots facilities across these communities were not
used to their maximum. The government also called for the sports clubs to help out as these
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 15
organisations had developed strong connections with the citizen in the local communities. With
time, the number of fans that took part in sporting activities enormously increased, which
consequently helped improve their living standards.
Currently, the English football teams show their social support through volunteerism and
philanthropy. The clubs also use their PP power to increase their financial power and financing
of the CSR programs. Most of the CRS programs run by CSR are described as preventive and
anticipatory, often targeting the teenagers (Breitbarth, Hovemann & Walzel, 2011). Many of the
clubs work together with institutions such as local schools providing educational courses to
shape the future of the young generation. A proactive approach can be explained in the sense that
an educated society might bring up football stalwarts of higher value or even players for the
clubs. The citizens will grow up knowing the value of football and the fidelity of the color of the
club.
Academic literature uses the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which commonly
means the organisation’s responsibility to bring a positive impact to society while minimizing
the negative impact of its operations. CRS has mainly been scrutinised from numerous
theoretical approaches with roots in economics, such as the firm theory, ethics in subjects like
Unitarianism, political science in subjects like contract theory, among others. The sports
community has not been immune to developments in the area of CSR, drawing most literature on
the abovementioned theoretical perspectives. There are various types’ of football CSR. One
primary focus of this literature review is on the delivery of community outreach programs.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters ? 16
Table 1: Types of Football CSR
“Type’ of CSR
Responsibility
Community-focused Engagement programs
These are the externally funded charitable
(External CSR)
trusts that sports clubs engage in using the
brand or club’s name called ‘community trusts.
Two clubs have, however, kept this function
‘in-house’ in the community department even
though the programs are externally funded
(Costello, McGarvey & Birisci, 2017).
Philanthropic CSR (Charitable activities)
This function of a club is sometimes
administered through the community trust
The clubs put in place charity policy which
stipulates the procedures and commitments in
regards to charitable donations (Pouw
&
Gupta, 2017)
Community trust is one of the club’s leading
charity with the club opting to support several
other (local) charities every year.
CSRs that are an employee based
This is a function of a club itself. Clubs form
These activities are related to improving policies that cover these areas.
quality and work-life of employees, diversity,
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 17
health, and safety of employees, equal Most clubs, however, lack the policy of
opportunities and involving the employees of participation of club staffs in the CSR
the club in the team’s CRs activities
interrelated activities.
Management and protection of the This is the function of the sport’s club itself.
environment
Some club has policies that cover activities in
These involve managing the environment in
these areas. This the responsibility of the
and around the stadium, particularly waste, stadium or the facilities manager (Arora, 2018)
water, and energy
Access by the disabled and safeguarding
It is a function of the cub
of children
The sports club have spiciness available
that cover these function
Football is an influential device for commitment. Football clubs have th capacity of engaging
people in a manner many organisation cannot. Football clubs have the power to impact the
consumption behaviour of consumers and inspire the lifestyle of people in a positive manner.
The reach for the premier league football is global give them opportunities to involve in
community events, which is not the same as other businesses. As explained by Nulman and
Ozkula (2016), social responsibility in football is still a developing idea. In 2020, there has been
a big conference called the Sports Positive Summit, where people will have the platform to talk
about how English Premier League teams are doing at being green. The recent data from the
various clubs about how sustainable they have become and on specific issues of clean energy,
efficient, sustainable transport, just to mention a few. For instance, in 2017, Arsenal started
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 18
using renewable electricity and is known as the first club to set up a battery storage system. The
battery has capabilities of powering the stadium for a ninety-minute match. Burnley, on the other
hand, is well-known for its car-share practices. This simply means that they take each other to
work and take turns driving. Anagnostopoulos and Shilbury (2013) add that Liverpool has no
single-use for food packaging. Instead, the club uses tray made from compostable palm leaf and
maize. Manchester City joined in environmental sustainability behavior by creating a wildlife
corridor at City Football Academy, giving a home to butterflies, moths and bats, and birds.
Manchester city’s wastes are disposed to a landfill. The club has also fitted low energy
consumption lamps, which help reduce energy bills. The club also has a system that recycles
water used in the filed and the Academy (Baldwin, 2010). Manchester United, on the other, have
recorded to have reduced their carbon emissions by more than two thousand tonnes. Manchester
United also encourages recycling and rainwater harvesting. Newcastle heavily invests in tree
planting projects, and in 2012, it declared itself the world’s first ‘carbon positive club. Norwich,
on the other hand, waters its pitch via a borehole where this water is recycled for use in the
training ground (Arora, 2018). Southampton made the first LED-lit stadium in Europe, St Mary.
West ham, on the other hand, sends all its plastic, wood, paper, in cartridges for recycling.
Premier League clubs have integrated various initiatives to promote environmental
preservation. They have been on the frontline to raise awareness not only among their fans but
also on the community at large (Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). Such directives are aimed at
ensuring that both parties work in unison to help the nation realize its carbon reduction targets
(Naranjo-Gil, 2016). As a result, most of the clubs in the UK have made both major and minor
changes to some of their operations to fit the descriptions mentioned above (Naranjo-Gil, 2016).
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 19
These operations touch on their stadiums and the culture surrounding the clubs. Examples of
such premier clubs explained in detail include Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
A) Arsenal
Arsenal’s sustainability approach can be traced back to 2006. This approach began when
the club started encouraging their fans to share lifts when traveling to away matches (Lockwood
& Skelton, 2020). Consequently, this was in-line with the club’s sustainability strategies to
promote their corporate social responsibilities (Naranjo-Gil, 2016). After moving to their modern
stadium-The Emirates, Arsenal cemented its status as one of the greenest clubs in the UK. The
facility has embraced sustainability as its primary objective (Lockwood & Skelton, 2020).
According to its official website- The Emirate Stadium, it encompasses a glass recycle scheme,
an oil recycling scheme, a recycling area, waterless urinals, and a cardboard baler, which
recycles about 10 tons of cardboard and pant per month (Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). More
significantly, the facility is fitted with a Building Management System (BMS). This system
ensures that temperatures in empty rooms are regulated (Naranjo-Gil, 2016). Additionally, the
club has put in place vital measures to ensure that plastic bottles picked during match days are
recycled, ensured that hot water thermostats are set at a minimum “safety levels,” connected
LED lights, and integrated lighting to motion sensors.
b) Chelsea
Chelsea has also been on the frontline to develop and improve their environmental impact
and influence. The club’s intention emanates from its earlier move to be part of the Mayor of
London 500 campaign (Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). It thus acted to reduce carbon emissions,
and they were subsequently won the “Sustainability in Sport” award in 2011 because of their low
energy solutions. Additionally, the club is striving to achieve green technologies that were
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 20
necessary to fully comply with European Union Energy Savings Directive (ESOS) (Naranjo-Gil,
2016, p.359). Initiated in 2012, ESOS aims to meet its 20 percent energy saving target in later
stages of 2020. Hence, to save energy, Chelsea encouraged its staff to minimize their electrical
utilization and printing (Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). They further implemented the use of
energy-saving, motion sensor lighting, use of public transport, and recycling. Interestingly, all
papers and bags within the club at their megastores comprise biodegradable materials
(Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). Following in the footsteps of Arsenal, the club has also installed
an efficient Building Management System and Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC)
system (Naranjo-Gil, 2016). Thus, the application of BMS and HVAC are essential in
minimizing energy use in the stadium-aiding the club to meet various legislations such as ESOS
AND Minimum Energy Efficiency (MEES).
C) Liverpool
Liverpool is one of the frontier clubs in energy-saving initiatives. This deliberation is
based on the fact that since 2013, the club signed a policy to minimize its energy consumption
(Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). In the subsequent year-2014, the club astonishingly reduced their
energy consumption by 10 percent. Consequently, they saved electricity and enough gas, which
could potentially power about 350 homes annually (Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). The club also
has a team comprising of 10 employees who are mandated explicitly with the sole responsibility
of creating awareness on energy savings. The team is referred to as the “Reds Going Green.”
Ostensibly, in 2014, Liverpool was named the Merseyside’s Carbon Champion of the Year
(Lockwood & Skelton, 2020). Presented by the Echo Environment Awards, the club was
recognized for its efforts in promoting environmental sustainability.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 21
Beyond the Premier League (Forest Green Rovers)
Away from the Premier League, other footballing clubs such as Forest Green Rovers have
embraced environmental sustainability. Forest Green Rovers (FGR) has been an integral part of
the Cotswold’s town. In 2017, for the first time in the club’s history, it won promotion to league
two of the English Football league. The club has since then attracted much media attention,
which ironically has nothing to do with their footballing prowess. FRG is well known from the
fact that it is following a triple bottom line sustainability practices in every aspect of its activities
and operations (Carmichael, 2019). Led by BBC, Guardian, the Times, and all, the club has been
applauded for its unique ‘sustainable practices.’ For instance, in 2017, the Times’ headline read
“Forest Green Rovers- the club where meat is off the menu, and the pitch is fed seaweed’.
The club is consequently aiming to be entirely carbon neutral. They are embarking on this
through advocating for eco-practices, associating with the relevant governing bodies, and
working alongside technology providers. The latter practice is aimed at showing that the
integration of technology with sports will ultimately improve sustainability approaches in sports
(FGR, 2020). Notably, Forest Green Rovers, through their Chairman Dale Vince, as will later be
discussed are working with Sustainability in Sport to ensure critical environmental initiatives
(FGR, 2020). Table. 1 Shows the impact of the club on sustainability.
Table 2: FGR Impact on Sustainability
2017/18 Emissions (Tons)
2018/19 Emissions (Tons)
Electric
116.7
81.2
Gas
68.5
36.8
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 22
Transport Coach
8.1
10.2
Transport Pool Vehicles
32.6
30.9
Total
225.8
159.1
Source: Carmichael (2019)
FGR club has a unique, sustainable practice ranging from their solar panel floodlights, organic
pitch, underground heating, eco-trail, electric cars to the fact that the staff and visitors are only
served vegan food. These commitments to sustainability have gained recognition and
accreditation by the Eco-management and Audit Schemes EMAS). In 2015, the club became the
world’s first accredited vegan football club. In 2018, the FIFA body named the club as the
‘worlds greenest football club. No other club has put the environment at the heart of what it does,
embedded it into its DNA like FGR. In an interview with The Guardian (2017), the FGR CEO
stated that the world of football is not much spoken about environmental sustainability; thus,
they wanted to use the channel to spread about sustainability. His goal, he notes, is to create
awareness and bring behavioral change within the club, their supporters, and the rest of the
sporting world.
Overall, Forest Green Rovers currently holds the title of the greenest football club globally.
This manifestation result from the fact that it is the first club to be certified carbon neutral by the
UN. Consequently, the club is entirely powered by green energy. The energy is obtained from
Electricity, which is generated by the club from solar panels on the stadium’s roof, and the solar
tracker fitted at the entrance (FGR, 2020). On the pitch, the grass is purely organic, as earlier
mentioned, and is free from any herbicides or pesticides. Still, on the grass, the club uses an
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 23
electric “mow bot” to do the cutting and leveling. It is subsequently cut by a GPS-monitored
electric lawnmower, driven by energy harnessed from the sun. The club is also keen on saving
water (FGR, 2020). This strategy is consequently made possible by harvesting rainwater beneath
the pitch and using it to irrigate the pitch to avoid using the main water. Finally, the club
provides EV charge points from the Electric Highway. This approach is aimed at promoting
sustainable travel to all fans who use electric vehicles (FGR, 2020). Thus, Forest Green Rovers
supports environmental sustainability
There is not so much literature that explains the influence of sports clubs on sustainable
consumption. The micromarketing scholars have been at the forefront to address this shortfall.
Samuel (2018) researched through a participative ethnography and ‘crowd as the focus group.
The symbolic interactionism data retrieved generated insights on the significance that FGR
sustainable activities have on sustainable consumption. An observation methodology of what
was happening in the ‘natural setting’ during the FGR match day was conducted. The
perceptions, attitudes, photos, and actions were captured from the ethnographic engagement with
the crowd. The visitor’s or crowd’s interaction with the symbols ‘in the play’ at FGR was
recorded. The researchers aimed to unveil how participants see, deserve, and act towards the
symbols of sustainability adopted by the club while attending the match. The researcher,
therefore, put himself in place of those under study. This study is one of the significant works
conducted to clearly explains how FRG symbolically interacts with its crowd to promote
sustainable consumption and actions. Other participants were engaged in the study where they
shared their experiences. The findings are discussed under three themes discussed below
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 24
Clean Energy
The FGR stadium has significant symbols of sustainability ranging from the solar panels at
the entrance to the electric cars charging ports. Some photographers were seen photographing
them even though their significance was limited. The symbols, as explained by Samuel, has
become one of the most accepted symbols if clean in sustainable energy consumption (2018).
Solar panels were considered the very least that the club should be doing in its sustainability
activities. The most significant sustainability symbol was the electric charging ports at the car
park. Participants were captured, taking numerous photographs of them in and out of use. Before
the match, it was observed that some groups would converge around the holding conversations
regarding their application and cost. These conversations were similar to that of the focus group
as many shows interest to learn more about electric cars, which was considered as ‘a new thing.’
Some of the significant concerns raised by the participants are that there was a lack of supporting
infrastructure for electric cars, which makes them hesitate to purchase one. Other images that
captured the attention of the participants are the Tesla car hooked in-car charging ports, the
electricity band which was all green, and the hydremx heating, which was considered clean
energy innovation promoted by FGR.
Interpretative Geography
The presence of interpretation boards that documented the club history and past players was
among the novelty gestures adopted by the club. Such actions invite the visitors to go to FGR’s
eco-trail and discover the ten most interesting points around the club, which explains the club’s
commitment to sustainability. Most people were observed stopping to read the FGR’s
sustainability commitments. The authors indicate that positive comments were noted for FGR’s
unique approach to sustainable development (Samuel, 2018). The most common interpretation
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 25
board that was most commented on and photographed was the club’s commitment to veganism
and sustainable sources such as Fairtrade. The interpretative boards are significant as they keep
people interested for long because they always have ‘better things to do when at the match.
Veganism Plus
The fact that a football club can altogether be vegan is intriguing even before going to the
match. A key factor to note is that; even though the club had shown too much dedication in
placing the interpretation boards dedicated to food and consumption, little value was given to
them beyond reinforcing that FGR is committed to veganism and that their CSR approaches were
sincere. Much recognition was attributed to available drinks and food for both buying and
sampling (Samuel, 2018). Most people recognized the vegan-based bag of food and samples
during the Morecambe game, Fairtrade tea and coffee, and biodegradable containers (Samuel,
2018). Most participants were observed trying vegan brands. There was no meat-based food and
big brands like coca-cola. Many people were seen indulging in the new customizable food
consumption experience.
The study unveils that physical places can help individuals to change their consumption
behaviours through the symbols it shows. According to Samuel (2018), physical places can help
consumers when making consumption choices. This study is significant as it offers
macromarketing perceptive on how football clubs can use critical symptoms to change behaviors
of its fans to favor environmental sustainability. Having a lot of symbols of sustainability plays a
role in reaffirming to the consumers on the sustainability position of the club. FGR is dedicated
to making the club a place that demonstrate eco-friendly thinking and technology to a new
audience and football funds.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 26
Sustainability provides unmeasurable advantages not only for sports but also globally. At the
forefront of all these initiatives is the footballing community. It is having positive environmental
impacts across the United Kingdom. Premier League clubs have integrated various initiatives to
promote ecological preservation (Sismeiro, 2018). Such directives are aimed at ensuring that
both parties work in unison to help the nation realize its carbon reduction targets. For example, a
club like Arsenal has installed a glass recycle scheme, oil recycling scheme, recycling area, and
waterless urinals to enhance environmental sustainability. Moreover, the message has been
magnified by football fans who have contributed immensely towards sustainability. Some of the
ways have manifested through the growing awareness and formulation of tangible benefits by
supporters.
UK sports teams have unique resources that allow them to apply CSR and generate greater
awareness of environmental sustainability. These resources, among others, include access to the
media, suite holders, vendors, sponsors, and professional tea, including accountants, trainer’s
owners, and lawyers. A study by Scoones (2015) explains how CSR is becoming
institutionalized in professional sports where the club executives love pressure from customers,
employees, and other stakeholders to become increasingly engaged in CSR. Generally, as the
team revenues increased, the club is said to be more involved in CSR related activities.
According to Thornbush (2017) that increased awareness and integration of CSR into the sports
club increases the competitiveness of the games and creates additional value for the stakeholders
Environmental externalities have both positive and negative in sport. Football grounds are
known to use massive amounts of water and high energy floodlights. As a result, they are known
as sites of many environmental impacts of most clubs (Jenkins & James, 2012). Also, the
thousands of fans that travel to watch the matches, they generate a huge amount of waste and
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 27
carbon emission going to and from the event (Arora, 2018). In 2006, the organisers of the FIFA
World Cup Germany made the point to pursue a reduction of the environmental impact resulting
from the sports games through the Green Goal. They thus set environmental initiatives and set
specific targets to be achieved. Hey started with the construction of environmentally friendly
stadiums, improved public transport as a way of encouraging the fans to leave their cars at home.
The president of FIFA stated that it is about time sports made the world better.
Environmental sustainability behavior in sport’s club is driven by two important
considerations, that is, desire to achieve legitimacy and the strategic or competitive advantage
that these activities that might provide. Dale Vince, who, for the past few years, has become a
manager of Forest Green Rovers, is the founder of Ecotricity, a green electricity provider. FGR
also played on organic pitch-free pesticides and irrigated with rainwater. Leemans and Solecki
(2013) explain that the Lew lawn stadiums powered by green energy, most of which is derived
from solar panels. Also, the club’s t-shirts are now made of 50 % bamboo to replace plastic. The
main challenge for the club is transportation, as their current location of the facilities is difficult
to access (Jenkins & James, 2012). However, the club is building a new stadium. In the
meantime, the club continues to encourage the use of public transport or car-sharing to reduce
carbon emission. Also, they have installed car chargers in the facilities of the club.
Being the World Greenest football club, Forest Green Rovers have garnered support around
the world thanks to its work and projects that boost sustainability in sports. Dale Vince explains
that they have fans in more than twenty countries across the globe. In the near future, the club
aims to do more. They are planning to build a new stadium, one first in the world made of
entirely wood. Dale Vince explained that they are building a place ‘with nature at its heart.’
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 28
It is hard to imagine that almost half of the people the planet watches soccer tournament. But
it happens, for instance, the 2014 FIFA Word Cup drew the attention of over 3.2 billion viewers
across the globe. Sport has the power of bringing people together or a common purpose. Sports
fans are known to be very loyal to their teams or sports club. That means that the sports club has
the power to influence sustainable practices of their fans engagement in sustainable
environmental behavior, as explained by Hughes, Semeijn & Caniels (2017) adopts two forms,
which are in-role and extra-role behavior. Role behavior, as explained by Hughes, Semeijn, and
Caniels, is directly associated with an individual’s affinity with a team (2017). These include
those behaviors that individuals adopt through tending to watch and reading the sports news.
New role behaviors are beyond self-interests and initial personal behaviors. New role behaviors
are those that support the team where an individual feels that they have a moral obligation as a
fan of the team. That means that extra-role behavior is significant to harness fans’ loyalty to their
sports team and influences them to be more sustainable in their actions at home, work, and play.
Sports teams, therefore, showcase their sustainability behavior to encourage fans to follow their
least and adopt sustainability practices. This approach creates an exponentially positive effect on
the natural environment and the surrounding communities.
The goal of engaging fans in the organisation’s sustainability practices is not only to raise
awareness of the topic or issue but to derive actions that will bring positive outcomes. Just like a
marketing campaign, sport’s clubs must include a call for a response from the fans. However, for
this to be effective, the process must be continuous, which will bring inspiring behavior change.
Since environmental concerns and other real-world issues are not the number one priority when
fans are attending a sporting event, the ask or call for action needs to be efficient and specific
while no distractive the fan experience at the game (Carmichael, 2019). The sports club need to
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 29
identify a proper and accurate desired behavior change, which will help in achieving the best
outcomes. For a club to succeed in this, they need to choose behavior that the organisation
actively practices. For instance, promotion of the reduction of energy use, point out the benefit of
adopting such behavior and explain why it is worth investing and practicing such behavior. A
study by Anagnostopoulos (2013). tells that sports club needs to choose a specific behavior that
can be measured, and it’s significant to the club and other stakeholders. Next is to identify the
shared goals among the ley stakeholders that the sports portray, the corporate sponsors, and the
community.
Anagnostopoulos (2013 explains that the most effective behavior change that a sports club
can adopt is ‘non-divisible’ and ‘end state.’ Non-divisible are those that cannot be divided further.
For instance, the use of alternative transportation options is divided, while an option to take a bus
is not divisible as it cannot be divided into multiple options. End state actions are those that
result in the desired outcome, for instance, installing LED bulbs. A club can install such bulbs
and encourage fans to acquire efficient light bulbs. However, the desired outcome is only
achieved once they install the light bulb. The club needs to choose a non-divisible, end-state
behavior with the best combination of impact, easy to penetration, and with the highest
probability of bringing the best outcome. As explained by Finch (2020), it is advisable to know
your audience or fans and how best to deliver the message regardless of the campaign or the
initiative. For instance, public transit, recycling, among others. That way, the organisations can
develop the most effective message approach, which will optimise the organisation’s investment.
The primary question that the club out to ask is, whose behavior is it trying to change? Is the
audience aware of the sports clubs’ environmentally sustainable practices? Other questions to
find out are whether your fans are moved by value opportunities? Do they respond within the
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 30
opportunity to save money or an opportunity to ‘do good”? It is also essential to understand what
prevents them from engaging in a specific behavior. The answers to the above questions will
offer valuable guidance on how the campaign will be designed and how to measure its success.
Most importantly, the sport’s club should be at the forefront of engaging in marketing
programs for its sustainability practices. The topic of environmental sustainability maybe a new
topic to the fan; thus, the goal should be to inform them and target your audience. It is not
practical that the entire fan base will respond similarly to the sustainability behavior adopted by
the sporting club; thus, it is crucial to segment the fan base into manageable groups with
common characteristics (Matsui, 2015). Next is deciding in the target group that is most
responsive to the cub’s organizational sustainability practices. Demographics and psychographics
can segment the audience. The latter comprises such categories as needs, values, opinions ad
interests aligned with the current practice (Walker & kent, 2013). The club can work closely
with the marketing department to leverage their knowledge about the existing resources and
shade light about their target audience.
While the sports club engages in environmentally sustainability behaviour, it is crucial to
identify and evaluate the barriers that constraint or may deter their fans or audience from
adopting similar practices. These barriers can be both internal and external factors. Internal
factors include one’s lack of sufficient knowledge about the issue, absence of motivation, or non
supportive attitudes. External barriers are the changes that need to be implemented for the
behaviour to bring postie outcomes (Rosca, 2011). Further, the club needs to identify the benefits
that result from the adoption of environmental sustainability behaviour. This will help in
designing a sports sustainability that will best motivate the fans to act and hopefully engage the
fans to change their behaviour. The power to cause consumer behaviour has potential benefits
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 31
such as time savings cost savings and health benefits associated with sustainable behaviour. A
study by Wright and Pandey explains that the benefits of sustainable behaviour should align with
the various needs and wants of the audience (2008). Otherwise, fans will be unwilling to
participate in an initiate and change behaviour whose benefit does not align with their internal
motivations. It is, therefore, crucial that the sports organisation communicate the benefits
associated with their sport sustainability initiative and offer extensive information on how
sustainability initiate will benefit their everyday lives.
Depending on the resources available, the environmental sustainability campaign may offer
benefits or incentives, which would otherwise not be in existence. Examples of incentives
include coupons or give away items to make behaviour change easier or more affordable
(Walters & Tacon, 2010). Another example is special treatment or fan recognition. For the
process to instigate a pro-environmental behaviour change among supporters to be a success, the
sports club needs to genuinely get to know its audience, identify their current behaviour, identify
barriers that inhibit them from adopting sustainable behaviour and come up with strategies to
mitigate them. There are multiple methods to find out the actual barriers that inhibit individuals
from engaging in an activity as well as motivates them to act. The first step is to find out from
the relevant articles and reports about specific behaviour change and a sustainability topic in the
sports content. Next is observe the supporters engage in the behaviour the club would wish them
to adopt, for instance, use of public transit instead of personal cars when going to the club
matches (Walker & Kent, 2013). Next would be to hold focus groups to the discussion in in
depth the attitudes and behaviours of the target audience in respect to the activities that you
would wish to encourage and discourage them and finally hold a survey on the sample from the
target audience to find out more of the barriers to the behaviour you wish to promotes or
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 32
discourage. These steps are cornerstones to moving forward in instilling a pro-environmental
behaviour in supporters.
A sport’s club should focus on removing barriers to behaviour change while at the same time
enhancing the benefit of and effectively communicating that behaviour. What makes a supporter
to adopt a pro-environmental behaviour depends on the club’s unique ability to leverage their
brand affinity and build a strong fan connection. Fan identification is a strong foundation to build
environmental sustainability campaign through their collective fan identity. The company
should build awareness and explain to the fans why sustainability matters. This strategy will help
fans to better understand the benefits of encouraging behaviour and the cost of discouraging
behaviour. Having in place awareness initiatives also helps the organization to identify the
barriers to the behaviour that is being promoted (Rosca, 2011). An effective arenas strategy is a
foundation for engaging the fans around the issue of environmental sustainability. One of the
sports clubs has ensured higher are among its supporters regarding the value of adopting
sustainable behaviour.
The club can inspire action through incentives and messaging, which encourages behaviour
change both inside and outside of a spirts venue. The message of the campaign should be clear
and concise. Explain to the fans what you what them to change in their behaviour and why. The
club can work with the marketing team, which will ensure that the new messaging is ‘on brand’
that is, aligned with the team’s identity and the campaign theme of the season (Naranjo-Gil,
2016). Also, the marketing team ensures that the message uses the right language, tone, and
perspective.
The final important thing for the club when they are instilling the pro-environmental
behaviour in their fans is capturing measurements, results, and proper reporting. It is difficult for
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 33
the club to understand the impact of their supporter engagement in its sustainability initiatives
without a useful measurement (Rosca, 2011). It becomes easy for the organisation to measure
waste diversion rates with their sports venues, which offers a clear picture of the effectiveness of
the fan engagement in the initiatives on recycling and composting. When it comes to initiatives
around energy and water, it is become difficult to know how effective the engage net initiative is.
The club needs to have a comprehensive plan for measuring and reporting the results. This
process requires time and expertise to evaluate the efficacy of the sustainability plan (Walker &
Tacon, 2010). Otherwise, the club managers are left to rely on anecdotal evidence to determine
the success of the initiative. Such approaches could lead to ill-informed suggestions which could
hurt the organization and the industry in their pro-environmental initiative.
Methodology
Procedure and Participants
The study involved a total of 197 subjects who included graduate and undergraduate
students from a North Eastern university. The subjects were randomly selected and subjected to a
web-based experimental survey that focused on two factors; environmental practices and the
athletes’ involvement. The first class of environmental practices was broadly grouped as either
positive or negative, while the second factor of athletes’ involvement was grouped as either
involvement or non-involvement. The respondents were supposedly fans who attended most of
the team’s matches on an average scale of 3 matches per month. The participants agreed to be a
part of the study willingly, with the promise of earning additional credit. Further, the participants
were informed of the survey’s objective, which required their opinion regarding pro
environmental incentives by a local major football team that would be illustrated on a
manipulated newspaper article. They were then randomly divided into four distinct groups based
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 34
on the four categories of newspaper manipulations. The four groups included; Positive and non
positive involvement with (n=53) and (n=54), respectively. Negative-involvement and Negative
non-involvement were (n=42) and (n=48) respectively.
Subjects falling in the category of involvement were required to indicate whether or not
the athletes’ involvement had been mentioned in the article. Subsequently, after reading the
articles, the subjects then responded with their intentions of engaging in the team’s pro
environmental behavior or if-then supported the environmental initiatives being implemented by
the team. The participants also gave their responses to four scales; credibility, attractiveness,
internalization, and identification scale.
Stimuli
As a way of manipulating the treatment conditions, the study entailed the use of a
manipulated newspaper article that was fictitious, describing different pro-environmental
incentives observed by a local football team. The choice of the local football team was based on
its neutral stand on issues of environmental practice at the time of the study and, as such, limiting
the potential impact of before-hand knowledge of the study results by the participants. The
manipulation of the newspaper article was done to fit the two study factors, environmental
practices and athlete’s involvement. Environmental practices were classified as either positive or
negative, represented by a scenario of the team being actively engaged in environmental
practices or to be poorly upholding environmental practices, respectively. The second factor of
the athletes’ involvement fell under either involvement or non-involvement.
Credibility
The measurement of the participants’ perception of the team’s credibility was based on a
scale of four properties. The four-item scale includes four distinct statements representing
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 35
credibility; “This is an organization I can trust,” “This is an organization that cares about its
customers,” “This organization has a strong value system” and “This is an organization I believe
in” (Becker-Olsen, Cudmore & Hill, 2006). The four-item scale was chosen owing to its high
reliability scores of 85 and subsequently in a study by Walker and Kent to assess the credibility
level of the PGA tour in which the scale gave a reliability score of 89 (Walker & Kent, 2013).
Attractiveness
The participants rated their perceived attractiveness to a team on the basis of an
attractiveness gauging scale proposed by Berthon et al. 2005. The scale was selected owing to
evidence of good reliability in a series of international studies, for example, by Lings and
Cameron (2012) and Sivertsen et al. 2013 to gauge employer attractiveness to a company. The
scale was used to formulate a three-option Likert scale used in the study; 1=attractive,
2=favorable, and 3=distinctive.
Internalization
To assess the extent of the participants’ internalization of the team, the study used a four
items-scale borrowed from a study by Wright and Pandey to assess the extent of internalization
of employer’s values by employees in the public sector. The four items included; values of the
organization, what the organization stands for, the importance of the organization’s values, and
the similarity of personal values to the organization’s values (Wright and Pandey 2008). The
study by Wright and Pandey provided a reliability score of 80, confirming the validity of the
four-item scale in measuring team internalization.
Team Identification
To assess the extent of team identification by the participants, the study used a team
identification scale employed by Guan et al. .2013. The scale comprised five items structured on
a 7-point Likert scale. Ion the scale represents no team identification and 7 a high level of team
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 36
identification (Guan et al. 2013). The scale was adopted owing to its high-reliability score of 89
in the 2013 study. The seven-point scale was formulated to represent either embarrassment of the
team or personal affiliation and bonding with the team. The scale was further customized to suit
all four categories of participants to avoid any form of biasness.
Intention to Support the Sports Club Initiative
In assessing the respondents’ intentions of supporting the pro-environmental activities of
the team, they were informed of a recent move by the team to implement a tree planting project
as part of its pro-environmental initiative. The statements were modified in line with the four
sub-groups into which the participants were divided so as to be in line with the four categories of
Positive involvement, positive-non-involvement, Negative-involvement, and finally, Negative
non-involvement. A four-point scale was then formulated to gauge the willingness of the
participants to support environmental initiatives. The scale was 1=not willing to support the
initiative, 2=less likely, 3=likely to support, and 4= most likely to support the initiative. The
formulation of the four-point scale was based on a review of literature from researches on
environmental psychology.
Intention to Take part in Daily Pro-Environmental Behavior
The assessment of the respondents’ intent to actively get involved in pro-environmental
practices of the team was done through the use of a three-item scale broken down into seven
score points. The three items of the scale included; recycling of plastic at home, purchasing of
plastic products and recycled paper and collection, and recycling of used paper. The formulation
of the scale was based on a series of studies on environmental psychology, for example, by
Homburg and Stolberg (2006). The scale was also strongly dependable owing to the reliability
score of 71 achieved in a 2006 study by Lance, Butts, and Michels. Subsequently, the present
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 37
analysis provided a reliability coefficient of 74, thus confirming the validity of the three-item
scale. The seven points of the scale start at 1, which represents strongly disagree to 7, which
represents strongly agree.
Analysis Manipulation Check
An additional question was included to evaluate if the respondents’ involvement option
acknowledged the athletes’ involvement in the article. The question required the respondents to
state whether the athlete’s involvement was mentioned in the article by circling “yes” or “no.”
The study also employed the technique of Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) in
assessing the impact of the two classes of treatment on the scores of credibility and attractiveness
to the team. The MANOVA analysis was aimed at evaluating if the participants regarded a team
to be more attractive or credible on the basis of its positive pro-environmental incentives and
involvement of the athletes in the environment-focused initiatives.
Analysis of Measurement Model
Evaluation of the measurement technique entailed the use of Mplus 5.1 to perform a
confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Also employed in the study was Maximum Likelihood
Estimation with Robust Standard Errors (MLR) as the approximation technique. The five
se
subscales used are credibility with 4 items, Internalization with 4 items, daily pro-environment
practice (3 items), identification (6 items), and attractiveness (3 items). Evaluation of the fit of
the measurement tool was done by fit indices and the Comparative Fit Index (CFI). Another
measurement tool used is the chi-square to the degree of Freedom ratio, Root Mean Square Error
of Approximation (RMSEA), and Standardized Root Mean Square Residual.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 38
Analysis of Structural Model
Structural equation modeling and MLR estimation method were combined to assess the
structural model. Prior to the evaluation of the structural tool, the global relevance of the two
treatments, environmental practice, and involvement were done by running a structural model of
the two. The interaction variable, EP* Involvement of the two acted as the independent variable,
while the three endogenous variables, internalization and behavioral willingness, were the
dependent variables. Subsequent to the assessment of the impacts of the two study treatments,
the structural model was executed, and its overall fit also evaluated by the four fit indices, CFI,
RMSEA, Standardized Root Mean Square Residual and the chi-square to the degree of Freedom
ratio. Subsequently, the Sobel test was applied in evaluating the mediating impacts of
internalization. The mediating influences of internalization are satisfied in the event that the
indirect influences of the independent variables on the dependent variables are valid.
Assessment of Moderating Effects
This process was done through the inclusion of interaction terms in the initial structural
outlay. In the first case of hypotheses 7a and 7b, the formulation of the interaction variables was
done through the multiplication of the two treatment concepts with latent factor scores of team
identification. This formulation was also applied to hypotheses 7c and 7d. The direct impact of
the interaction was then evaluated to assess the moderating effects of identifying with a team.
Results Manipulation Check
Analysis of the study excluded exclude data from 20 participants who had given incorrect
answers to the question of the athlete’s involvement and another 11 responses with missing
values. After the exclusion, the data analyzed was from 166 participants down from the 197
initially recruited for the study. The demographic analysis of the 166 showed that the mean age
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 39
was 22.3 years, with 60.2% being male 39.8% being female. In terms of race and ethnicity,
75.3% were Caucasian/White, 7.8% African-American, and 7.8% Islanders from Asia or the
Pacific. In the first treatment of EP condition, the respondents reported the team to be attractive
and credible in the positive sense more than on the negative, with a p-value of <.01, signifying
success in the manipulation of the condition. On the other end, across the involvement condition,
the credibility and attractiveness perceptions had no significant difference, with returning a
p=.05. Results from the univariate analysis showed significant impacts of involvement on
attractiveness despite the impacts for credibility remaining significant. The results reveal that
athletes' involvement could potentially influence internalization through the increase in perceived
attractiveness.
Testing of Measurement Model
The final 166 participants were subjected to CFA, and the Goodness-of-fit indices
satisfied the overall fit of the initial measurements (22/df = 392.11/160 = 2.45; CFI= .88;
RMSEA was .09 and 0.8 for SRMR). The results further returned a .5 value for the standardized
factor loading low for the correlation between internalization and one indicator. S modification
was then done by running a revised model by excluding the path. Following the process of
modification, the measurement model returned improved fit indices to x2/df = 344.45/142 =
2.43; CFI= .89; RMSEA to .09 and .08 for RMR owing to the small marginal difference of the
revised model fit, it subsequently assessed through obtaining of the construct reliability (CR) and
Average Variance Extracted (AVE) for each construct. The results showed that all the constructs
satisfied the acceptable value of 70 and .50 for CR and AVE respectively, thus confirming
adequate validity and reliability of the measurement scales.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 40
Testing of Structural Model Descriptive Statistics
The results of descriptive statistics show that the majority of the constructs have average
values about the midpoints (3.5) and rather large standard deviation values, signifying that the
distributions were normal. The results of the correlation co-efficient further indicate that the first
condition of EP has a positive correlation with internalization and intent to be a part of the
initiative, but no significant correlation with daily engagement in the pro-environmental
practices. The findings of the correlation study thus give mixed support for the study's
prediction.
Table 3: Descriptive Statistics
1
2
3
4
5
6
1. EP 2. Involvement 3. EP x Involvement 4. Team identification 5. Internalization 6. Daily proenvironmental behavior 7. Intention to support the initiative
Mean .55 .43 .26 3.17 3.76 4.98
S.d. 50 .50 .44 1.49 1.30 1.38
.10 54 .15
39 – 05
.68 .06 .11 .08
.06 .27 .01
.65 .10
23
2.99
1.76
27
.02
.10
.43
.47
20
Testing of Global Treatment Effects
The global viability of the two conditions was evaluated through a comparison of the
model with a free estimation of the two treatments and their interactions and the three exogenous
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 41
variables to an alternative model, which gives all the paths as zero. Results from the chi-square
used upper hand restricted model (DX2 (Ddf = 9) = 34.08, p <.01).
Structural Model (Testing )
The model fit assessment of the structural style was done by implementation goodness
of-fit indices shown in figure 2. The assessment gave valid values in all the four indices (x2/df=
49.71/30 = 1.66; CFI was 94; RMSEA equaled 0.6 while 0.5 for SRMR and as such adopted
with no further modifications. EP had significant influences on internalization, thus in agreement
with hypothesis 1 (B = .44, p < .01). On the contrary, involvement was revealed to have no
significant impacts on internalization (P = .08, p = .58) contradicting hypothesis 4. Subsequently,
internalization significantly influenced the relation between EP and the intent to support the pro
environmental initiatives and also between EP and intentions to take part in the pro
environmental practices.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 42
Fig 2: Theoretical Model
Intention to support
the initiative
Positive environmental
behavior
.44**
.54*
Internalization
1
.00
Environmental
practice x
Athlete's Involvement
.08
Pro environmental
practices
Athlete's involvement
Observed Variable
Latent Variable
Robustness Check
A concern of the study results was that variables like demographic characteristics of the
participants and levels of team identification levels could potentially alter the outcomes of the
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 43
three variables. To address the issue, an additional structural model was executed to enable the
evaluation of the treatments' effects subject to the control of the extraneous variables. The new
model was consistent with the initial findings, supporting hypothesis 1,2, and 3 while contrasting
hypothesis 4,5 and 6.
Testing of Moderating Effects
The results revealed insignificant influence of both the first interaction variable along
with the second interaction variable on the internalization (b = -19, p = .16 and b= .06, p = .61
respectively), thus contradicting hypothesis 7a and 7b. Similarly, the third interaction variable
did not have any significant effects on the respondents' willingness to back the team's pro
environmental incentives and the will to engage in the pro-environmental activities of the sports
team. Further, no evidence was shown for moderating effects of identifying with team
identification and, as such, going against hypotheses both in 7c and 7d.
Discussion This study assesses how a sports team could potentially persuade its get is supporters to
observe responsible environmental behaviors. The findings of the study highlight a positive
correlation between efficient environmental practices of football and an increase in
internalization among the supporters. Subject to internalization, the customers could potentially
show interest in supporting the team's pro-environmental practices and to formulate measures of
observing pro-environmental behavior daily. Also revealed from the results is that the
involvement of the athletes did not influence internalization and, as such, no direct correlation
with internalization and, subsequently, pro-environmental behavior. The findings conflicted with
the hypothesis but can be supported by the fact that the perceived credibility of a message source
influences internalization. The athlete's involvement was, however, found to influence
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 44
attractiveness to the team and not the credibility. Team identification was also shown to have no
moderating effect on the event of actualizing pro-environmental measures, contrasting the
hypotheses. In general, the findings of the study add to the literature as it assesses the
relationship between the team and the consumer's pro-environmental practice. The results also
highlight that a team can instigate a pro-environmental behavior among its consumers by
promoting internalization irrespective of the levels of team identification.
Limitations and Directions for Future Research The rationale for using the UK is that English clubs have one of the most developed CSR
programs in European sports. The major limitation of this paper is that the financial implication
of using CSR programs within sports organisations is not provided. Even though this empirical
study makes significant contributions to literature through the demonstration of the promotion of
pre-environmental behavior through sport, it is marred by a number of implications. The first
limitation is that the use of students selected only from a university limits the external validity of
the study. The limitation of its external validity thus warrants the need for additional research to
cross-validate the suggested models using different samples. Subsequently, the findings of the
study show that a series of other factors other than internalization could potentially affect pro
environmental behavior, and thus further can be done to evaluate organizational and personal
factors that could impact pro-environmental behavior. From the study, a viable research area
would be to assess if engaging in sports could improve the efficiency of the proenvironmental
practices of non-sports organizations.
How Can Football Clubs Instigate a Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Among Their
Supporters? 45

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