Department of Statistics “G. Parenti”, University of Florence, Italy
Environment, environmental protection and sustainability policies play a key role in social development and in the economic competitiveness of industrialized countries. Most European citizens are aware of the importance of environmental issues, both as a priority for the socio-economic system as a whole, and as a relevant factor in influencing quality of life. At the same time individual environmentally friendly behaviour is not widespread. In this framework, our question is: to what extent are positive attitudes strictly related to eco-friendly lifestyles? By applying a hierarchical logit model to recent Eurobarometer data (survey 68.2-2008), which provide information concerning the 27 European Union member countries, we focus on individual attitudes towards environmentally friendly behaviour with a threefold aim. Firstly, we will verify how this attitude changes in relation to socioeconomic characteristics. Secondly, we will investigate European citizens’ opinions on whether environmental defence is a personal responsibility of each individual or an institutional and political task, thus highlighting discrepancies between what individuals say and what they do. Thirdly, we will point out if differences in individual attitudes towards environmental protection exist among European Union countries, and if so which the main social, economic and cultural factors involved are.