Forced Sustainability - a stated preferences study investigating expected compliance with an externally imposed diet restriction
Abstract: The municipality of Gothenburg aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions stemming from meals served within the public sector, partially by substituting meat with plant-based alternatives within the schooling system (Göteborgs Stad, 2014). The emission target is set at a 40 percent reduction, and if this is to be met solely through change of diet, three out of five school lunches would have to be vegetarian. Through a stated preferences survey, this paper investigates whether such a forced restriction would be accepted by the students of upper secondary schools in Gothenburg. If the students would rebel against the implementation, the policy is not plausible to result in its intended effects. The findings of the study show that the students, to date, are willing to comply with an average of two vegetarian lunches a week. The results also show that an implemented restriction on non-vegetarian meals has a negative effect on the attitudes towards an even stricter policy, but that exposure to vegetarianism in one’s private life has the opposite effect. In total, the results indicate that a vegetarian oriented policy could be successful in reducing emissions – given careful design and implementation.
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