Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Business, Management and Economics
Croatian Youth Perception of the Low-Carbon Institutional and Awareness-Behavior Gaps
The low-carbon transition is an important step towards a more sustainable future. It is gaining increasing attention not only from scientists but also from the general public, including youth. This paper explores the attitudes, opinions, and perceptions of young people, i.e. Croatian university students, about the importance of a low-carbon transition and the efforts made so far by various stakeholders in this process. It also examines the existence of the low-carbon awareness–behavior gap using the data collected by a questionnaire-based pilot survey conducted in 2021.
The results show that young people believe that the low-carbon transition will bring environmental, social and economic benefits and opportunities, i.e., contribute to managing resources more efficiently, reducing waste, developing new green innovations and technologies, opening new green business opportunities, and improving the quality of life in general. However, they perceive that the efforts of the whole society, including the government institutions at various levels, the private, financial and civil sectors, and citizens, are far from sufficient to move the country more rapidly towards a low-carbon future. As they perceived, the exceptions are educational and research and development institutions, most of which have responded adequately to the low-carbon challenge. The observed gap between the low-carbon awareness and perceived behavior points to the need to develop clear strategies, policies, and programs that promote changes towards low-carbon behavior, keeping in mind that increasing knowledge, awareness, motivation, and social learning are critical to this end.
keywords: low-carbon economy, low-carbon transition, survey, youth, Croatia.