University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: An Eco-label for the Airline Industry - Instrument for Behavioral Change?

Start date: Jun 12, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Jun 12, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora building, Lea Pulkkisen hall

M.Sc. Stefan Baumeister defends his doctoral dissertation in Environmental Management ”An Eco-label for the Airline Industry - Instrument for Behavioral Change?”. Opponent Professor KTT Lasi Linnanen (LUT) and custos Professor Hanna-Leena Pesonen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

Stefan Baumeister
Picture: Stefan Baumeister

Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced and there is no doubt that human activities are the main cause. One activity that has received much attention in this discussion is air transportation. Although its contribution is still moderate, this industry is growing at a very fast rate and with that its impact on climate change. In order to enjoy its social and economic benefits also in the future and to avoid regulatory restrictions, the industry’s contribution needs to be kept in check. Various mitigation strategies exist such as technological, market-based, operational, regulatory and behavioral changes. This dissertation focuses on behavioral change. One instrument leading towards behavioral change is the eco-label. 

This dissertation presents and examines the idea of introducing an eco-label for the airline industry. It has the following two objectives: 1) to study prerequisites essential for the use of an eco-label in the airline industry and 2) to study the potential outcome an airline eco-label could have on the behavior of air passengers aiming at the mitigation of climate change. 
This dissertation is based on four articles and follows a mixed-method approach. It utilizes data from two surveys (N=148, N=554), 12 industry expert interviews and flight and fuel data from secondary sources. 

The results showed that it is difficult for air passengers to identify green flight options. However, air passengers actively selecting greener flight options can make a real difference as it was found that there are tremendous differences in the environmental performances of individual flights. An eco-label could promote behavioral change as it helps air passengers to easier identify greener flights. The results showed that an airline eco-label had influenced the booking decision of air passengers and led to behavioral change. Air passengers changing behavior would also demand the airline industry to improve its environ-mental performance. This could also lead to more environmental competition within the industry.

Based on the findings a clear recommendation can be given to the airline industry to implement an industry wide eco-label. An eco-label would lead to behavioral change among air passengers which in turn would mean less emissions and a reduced impact of air transportation on climate change.

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Stefan Baumeister