Energy suppliers are increasingly interested in investing in renewable energy. Yet, actions by energy suppliers to reduce carbon emissions can be received with public scepticism. The current research addressed whether the communication of various motives to invest in a wind power initiative by energy suppliers can impact perceived organizational sincerity, public trust, and switch intentions. Results of three experiments showed that expressing concern for the environment as a motive to invest in wind power promoted higher perceived organizational sincerity and public trust, whereas the acknowledgment of an organization-serving motive did not impact the responses. However, switch intentions only increased directly when an organization's motivation to reduce customer costs was emphasized. Although energy suppliers are commonly considered to contribute to environmental problems, the current findings suggest that when a wind power initiative is promoted, the public is likely to perceive organizational motives to be intrinsic.

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Journal of Environmental Psychology
Department of Media and Communication