An exploration into the impacts of event greenwashing on attendees' perception of green events and sustainable consumption: A case study of Edinburgh's Hogmanay
(2017) An exploration into the impacts of event greenwashing on attendees' perception of green events and sustainable consumption: A case study of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, no. 103.
The purpose of this research was to explore the impacts of perceived greenwashing of event sustainability policies and green marketing on attendees' attitudes and behaviours towards consuming sustainably, and perception towards the concept of green events. A case study of Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party and Concert in the Garden was chosen to investigate this; labelled a green event due to its sustainability policy and statements of sustainable practices, yet indications of potential greenwashing within its impact assessment. Qualitative methods were used to explore such impacts due to the nature of the research reliant on attendees' experience at Edinburgh's Hogmanay. Unobtrusive direct observation determined the severity of greenwash occurring, with no evidence found to substantiate claims throughout its policy. Two separate focus groups of 6 and 4 participants each were conducted before the event to explore existing attitudes, behaviours and perceptions towards sustainable consumption and the event's sustainability policy. These were also conducted after the event to explore the impacts of perceived greenwashing by drawing comparisons between dialogues. The results of this study found participants demonstrated scepticism and distrust towards the event's policy prior to the event. Although this study found little impact on participants' attitudes and behaviours towards consuming sustainably outside of events, the confirmed scepticism from perceived greenwashing caused a substantial impact on participants' attitudes and behaviours towards consuming sustainably during the event, and caused distrust towards the concept of green events. Two unexpected themes also emerged, that being the impact of the festival environment on participants' social and moral norms towards consuming sustainably, and a perceived division of responsibility and accountability for waste disposal and environmental impacts between the event organisers and the attendees. This study contributes to an unexplored gap in existing event literature, and provides the foundations for future research exploring event greenwashing.