Author: Chan, Wai Kei
Title: Environmental concerns : a study of hospitality and tourism students' low carbon dining intention
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2018
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
College students -- China -- Hong Kong -- Attitudes
Diet -- Environmental aspects
Food -- Social aspects
Food -- Environmental aspects
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xiv, 204 pages
Language: English
Abstract: Increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulted in rising global average temperature in the past few decades. In most developed economies, the food service industry is one of the significant contributors to the increasing global and local anthropogenic emissions; especially those rely heavily on global food supplies to accommodate the local consumption. Indeed, restaurant patrons can act as climate changers to mitigate personal food-related emissions simply by changing current climate-unfriendly dietary preferences when eating out. Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) proposed by Ajzen (1985, 1991), an extended model was proposed to investigate dining intention towards a low carbon paradigm with the addition of two constructs -environmental concerns and perceived constraints. Convenience sampling was adopted to collect data by self-administered questionnaire from 494 hospitality and tourism students of two universities in Hong Kong. Collected data were first analyzed by exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to determine the factorial structures, followed by structural equation modeling (SEM) to assess the structural relationships among the research constructs. The findings show that hospitality and tourism students had intent to change their current climate-unfriendly dietary choices as a means to mitigate personal food-related carbon emissions when they eat out. More specifically, the results indicate environmental concerns significantly affect attitude and intention to pursue low carbon dining whereas attitude also positively affect students' intention to dine green. Although subjective norm and perceived behavioral control (PBC) had no significant effect on intention, 'Disinterest' dimension of the perceived constraints was found to have a partial effect to negate low carbon dining intention.
This thesis contributes to the behavioral research literature in several ways. First, it revealed that a specific attitude (i.e., attitude towards pursuing low carbon dining) has demonstrated as a robust predictor of specific behavioral intention (i.e., to pursue low carbon dining), and as the strongest predictor among TPB constructs of pro-environmental behavioral intention. Second, environmental concerns was found to be significantly and directly influence attitude towards and intention of pursuing green behaviors which enrich the literature in the food consumption context. Third, the extended TPB model had better predictive power than the TPB base model in determining low carbon dining intention in Hong Kong. Lastly, this thesis revealed that a simultaneous inclusion of both PBC and perceived constraints constructs in TPB applications is unnecessary. Practically speaking, this thesis raises some critical issues that provide insights for public sector, the industry and educators. First, students generally show great concerns over the environmental impacts arising from their dietary choices, in particular altruistic and biospheric concerns, which the local authorities should actively address when launching community campaigns to mitigate climate change. Second, food service practitioners are encouraged to provide more climate-friendly information and environmental practices in daily operations to facilitate environmental conscious diners to dine green. Third, educators are recommended to incorporate more environmentally friendly practices and projects into teaching and assessments, which not only help strengthen students' environmental awareness and knowledge, but also enhance mutual communication and social networking on their campus lives. It is hope that our future leaders of the hospitality and tourism industry can always make the most climate-friendly business decisions while utilizing the global resources to create a more profitable and sustainable hospitality world.
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