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Communicating the climate impacts of meat consumption: The effect of values and message framing
Meat production for human consumption has serious environmental implications and contributes significantly to climate change. Changing people’s food choices is an important step towards reducing human impacts on the climate. Previous research shows that self-enhancement (i.e. self-interest) and self-transcendence (i.e. altruism) values are related to meat consumption. This study examined the effectiveness of the provision of information about climate impacts of meat consumption in influencing concern about these climate impacts of meat consumption, attitudes towards eating meat and behavioural intentions in a New Zealand sample (N = 848). Further, the study examined whether framing the message to align with people’s value sets would enhance the information’s effectiveness in affecting concern, attitudes and intentions. Survey participants were randomly assigned to a no-information control group, a message targeting self-enhancement values, or a message targeting self-transcendence values. Results indicated that the information provision was associated with significantly higher levels of concern about the climate impacts of meat consumption and significantly lower intentions to eat meat, but it did not affect attitudes towards meat consumption. However, the framing of the message did affect attitudes towards meat consumption, depending on existing values. Implications of this research can be applied to future climate change communication campaigns, through the use of targeted, value-congruent information.