The current study provides both a theoretical and practical contributionto understanding sustainable energy use in the UAE. The findings of this studycontain significant implications that are useful for both the corporate sectorand energy policy makers to inform UAE citizens and residents about energyconservation. The first objective of this paper was to investigate whethernationality differences have any relationship with sustainable energy use. Theresults generated from the SEM analysis suggest that for all three latentvariables used to test sustainable energy use, non-UAE respondents scoredhigher than UAE respondents.
These findings are consistent with results in the literaturethat suggest that consumers’ race or nationality may influence the importanceaccorded to socially responsible behaviors (Patino et al., 2014; Lee , 1999). The second objective of this paper was to investigate whether genderdifferences have any relationship with sustainable energy use. The findingsindicate that women are more conscious of energy conservation and show that forall three latent variables used to measure sustainable energy use, women scoredhigher than men. These findings are similar to those of prior studies showing thatwomen exhibit more intent and awareness towards sustainable behavior than men (Khan & Trivedi, 2015; Plavsic, 2013; Gilg, et al., 2005). Hofstede’s (see Hofstede et al.
, 1990) culturaldimensions describe that countries may vary on both the Individualism andCollectivism spectrum and the Masculinity and Femininity spectrum. Thesespectrums affect environmentalism on an individual level in terms ofsubscribing to certain gender norms, such as “men’s differential self-interestover the interests of caring for others” (Bloodhart & Swim, 2010:189). These norms might explain thedifference between men and women with regards to their attitudes and behaviors (Plavsic, 2013) towards sustainable energy usereported in this study.
Our results confirm the significance of nationality and gender asimportant demographic factors in understanding private environmental behaviors,such as sustainable energy use. The results of this study have significantimplications for policy makers. Targeted incentives and regulations aimed at differentnationalities and genders are imperative.
Awareness and education campaignsthat use the “one size fits all” approach (Patino et al., 2014:9) are unlikely to be successful. Regulatory frameworks areoften ambiguous regarding the responsibilities of citizens to improve energyefficiency. This research calls for planned targeted intervention that providessupport for individual adaptation at the local level. Such interventions areimportant for enabling authorities to direct awareness campaigns towards thosewho need them the most.
Studies such as this provide valuable insights in thatdirection. This study makes an important theoretical contribution by answering thecalls of Plavsic(2013) and Mobley et al. (2009) for more research to ascertainwhether significant gender differences occur in pro-environment behaviors. Thisstudy adds to the existing literature by reinforcing the previous findings indicatingthe significance of demographic variables, such as gender and nationality, onpro-environmental behavior. The findings of this study also have keyimplications for policy makers and government agencies.
First, technologicaland policy changes will only be successful if complemented by a morefundamental shift towards more sustainable lifestyles in the UAE. The UAE’sEcological Footprint can be more effectively reduced by raising awareness aboutits causes and using innovative communications campaigns to encouragebehavioral change. Second, significant energy reductions are possible but willrequire much more collaboration between government agencies and the generalpublic on policy development and implementation. Third, growing publicawareness and concern are focused on issues related to sustainability andclimate change (Ward, 2016). Being able to openlycommunicate the research findings to the general public is important forbuilding trust and disseminating knowledge among everyone, and it can befacilitated through a diverse range of approaches, including concerted publicrelations and media efforts, online platforms (such as websites and socialmedia), and community outreach efforts.6.
Limitations and ConclusionsDespite the useful findings of this research, certain limitations in theempirical study must be acknowledged. This study’s sample consisted of adultconsumers only from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Future research should widen theparticipation base by including a more representative sample. The secondlimitation of the study is that the focus was only on “sustainable energy use.”The external validity of this study could be increased by future research thatseeks to replicate the findings of this study by investigating other dimensionsof private pro-environmental behaviors (see Iyanna and Papastathopoulos, 2017).
For close to four decades, governments around theworld have been encouraging their citizens to reduce emissions (Kennedy, et al.,2015). This study represents one of the many empirical works to examine the effectsof gender and nationality on sustainable energy use. Sustainable energy use hasbeen identified as one of the key components of private pro-environmental behavior(Dunlap & Van Liere 1978; Stern 2000; Kennedy et al.
, 2015; Iyanna andPapastathopoulos, 2017). By demonstrating that gender and nationality effectsustainable energy use, the results of this study are valuable to bothacademics and policy makers in their efforts to better understand and encouragepro-environmental behaviors. The limitations highlighted in this study presentopportunities for future research.