Development of composite indices to measure the adoption of pro-environmental behaviours across Canadian provinces

OBJECTIVE: The adoption of pro-environmental behaviours reduces anthropogenic environmental impacts and subsequent human health effects. This study developed composite indices measuring adoption of pro-environmental behaviours at the household level in Canada. METHODS: The 2007 Households and the Environment Survey conducted by Statistics Canada collected data on Canadian environmental behaviours at households' level. A subset of 55 retained questions from this survey was analyzed by Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) to develop the index. Weights attributed by MCA were used to compute scores for each Canadian province as well as for socio-demographic strata. Scores were classified into four categories reflecting different levels of adoption of pro-environmental behaviours. RESULTS: Two indices were finally created: one based on 23 questions related to behaviours done inside the dwelling and a second based on 16 questions measuring behaviours done outside of the dwelling. British Columbia, Quebec, Prince-Edward-Island and Nova-Scotia appeared in one of the two top categories of adoption of pro-environmental behaviours for both indices. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland-and-Labrador were classified in one of the two last categories of pro-environmental behaviours adoption for both indices. Households with a higher income, educational attainment, or greater number of persons adopted more indoor pro-environmental behaviours, while on the outdoor index, they adopted fewer such behaviours. Households with low-income fared better on the adoption of outdoors pro-environmental behaviours. CONCLUSION: MCA was successfully applied in creating Indoor and Outdoor composite Indices of pro-environmental behaviours. The Indices cover a good range of environmental themes and the analysis could be applied to similar surveys worldwide (as baseline weights) enabling temporal trend comparison for recurring themes. Much more than voluntary measures, the study shows that existing regulations, dwelling type, households composition and income as well as climate are the major factors determining pro-environmental behaviours.
Authors (Zotero)
Canuel, Magalie; Abdous, Belkacem; Bélanger, Diane; Gosselin, Pierre
Date (Zotero)
January, 2014