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Getting to zero : a field-level perspective on organizational transitions towards carbon neutrality Piggot, Georgia Jean 2017

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   GETTING TO ZERO: A FIELD-LEVEL PERSPECTIVE ON ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSITIONS TOWARDS CARBON NEUTRALITY  by  GEORGIA JEAN PIGGOT  B.Sc., University of Otago, 2004 M.Env.Man., The University of Queensland, 2008   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES  (Sociology)      THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  December 2017      © Georgia Jean Piggot, 2017ii  Abstract Climate change policies are proliferating at a local and regional level. Within this landscape, organizational climate change action is shifting from voluntary to mandated, and organizations are grappling with new pressures to reduce their environmental impact. This dissertation explores organizational responses to climate change policy, though a field-level analysis of 132 organizations that were required to achieve carbon neutrality in British Columbia, Canada. The strategies organizations adopted or considered over a five-year period from the policy inception are examined using survey data and a content analysis of annual reports.  This study shows that the organizations bound by the carbon neutral mandate quickly came to a common understanding of what the practical expression of carbon neutrality involved. Within five years of the policy introduction, and three years of the requirement to become carbon neutral, organizations were considering or adopting a large number of similar strategies in response to the legislative requirement to reduce their carbon emissions.  This convergence of strategies can be explained by several factors. First, organizations drew cues about appropriate responses from the government, and from other organizations within the field, leading to isomorphism of strategies over time. Second, the organizations were working under a common set of institutional logics, or cultural assumptions about the rationale for pursuing strategies, leading them to consider the same practices appropriate for meeting carbon neutral goals. Finally, organizations were supported by similar networks of organizations, centralizing the field around a few key actors. Similarity in responses to the iii  mandate to achieve carbon neutrality are reflective of the fact that organizations drew from the common sources of information and resources to meet emissions reduction targets.  This work demonstrates that organizational responses to climate policy should be understood with reference to the field in which organizations are embedded, rather than simply as the sum of individual organizational actions. It also highlights the fact that if the institutional and cultural conditions are right, organizational fields can rapidly emerge and adapt to new policy imperatives to tackle climate change.   iv  Lay Summary Organizations can do lots of things to reduce their climate change impact, such as changing lightbulbs, generating clean energy, or encouraging more environmentally-friendly behaviour. The focus of this study is on how organizations determine which strategies they should adopt in response to new climate policies. Rather than looking at organizations in isolation, this work examines how a group of organizations reduced their carbon footprint, to understand the social dynamics of organizational greening. Based on a study of 132 organizations over a five-year period, this research found that organizations tend to follow similar approaches to reducing their climate impact. The organizations in this study adopted similar responses because they drew from the same sources information, shared common logics about why action was necessary, and relied on similar networks. This work demonstrates that if the right support structures are in place, organizations can quickly come to terms with new requirements to address climate change.  v  Preface This dissertation is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Georgia Piggot. The survey data reported in Chapters 3-6 was covered by UBC Behavioural Ethics Certificate number H15-01161.  vi  Table of Contents Abstract ................................................................................................................................. ii Lay Summary ........................................................................................................................ iv Preface ................................................................................................................................... v Table of Contents .................................................................................................................. vi List of Tables ........................................................................................................................ ix List of Figures ........................................................................................................................ x List of Abbreviations ............................................................................................................ xi Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................. xii Dedication .......................................................................................................................... xiii 1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 The Challenge of Carbon Neutrality............................................................................ 4 1.1.1. The process of becoming carbon neutral ............................................................................. 4 1.1.2. Organizations as a key foci for analysis .............................................................................. 7 1.2 An Organizational Field-Level Analysis ...................................................................... 8 1.2.1. The concept of an organizational field ................................................................................. 8 1.2.2. Theories of organizational field dynamics ........................................................................... 9 1.3 Dissertation Structure ................................................................................................12 2. Methods ........................................................................................................................... 14 2.1 Document Analysis of Carbon Neutral Action Reports ...............................................15 2.2 Survey of Carbon Neutral Program Managers ...........................................................17 2.3. Additional Data .........................................................................................................20 3. Case: The BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector Mandate ..................................................... 21 3.1 Overview of the Mandate ............................................................................................22 3.2 Organizations Involved in the Mandate ......................................................................25 3.3 Organizational Responses to the Mandate .................................................................27 3.4 Value as a Case ..........................................................................................................31 vii  4. The Emergence of a Shared Conception of Carbon Neutrality ......................................... 33 4.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................33 4.1.1. The emergence of an organizational field .......................................................................... 34 4.1.2. Practices as an indicator of field dynamics ....................................................................... 35 4.2 Methods ......................................................................................................................37 4.2.1 Data collected ...................................................................................................................... 37 4.2.2 Analysis technique ............................................................................................................... 39 4.3 Findings .....................................................................................................................42 4.3.1 Types of carbon neutral practices considered or adopted ................................................. 42 4.3.2 Patterns in the types of practices considered or adopted ................................................... 46 4.4. Discussion .................................................................................................................50 5. The Institutional Logics Underpinning Carbon Neutral Practices .................................... 55 5.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................55 5.1.1 An institutional logics perspective ...................................................................................... 56 5.1.2 The influence of multiple institutional logics within organizational fields ........................ 57 5.1.3 Institutional logics and environmental practices ................................................................ 58 5.2 Methods ......................................................................................................................60 5.2.1 Data collected ...................................................................................................................... 60 5.2.2 Analysis technique ............................................................................................................... 62 5.3 Findings .....................................................................................................................63 5.3.1 The logics underpinning practice adoption ........................................................................ 63 5.3.2 The balance of multiple logics ............................................................................................. 73 5.4 Discussion ..................................................................................................................76 6. The Broader Network of Carbon Neutral Actors .............................................................. 80 6.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................80 6.1.1 A network perspective .......................................................................................................... 80 6.1.2 Networks vs. fields ............................................................................................................... 82 6.2 Methods ......................................................................................................................84 6.2.1 Data collected ...................................................................................................................... 84 6.2.2 Analysis technique ............................................................................................................... 86 6.3 Findings .....................................................................................................................88 viii  6.3.1 Networks as a key source of information ............................................................................ 88 6.3.2 The networks supporting carbon neutrality ........................................................................ 90 6.3.3 Relationship between shared networks and shared practices ............................................ 95 6.3.4 Types of support received from networks ............................................................................ 96 6.4 Discussion ..................................................................................................................97 7. Discussion and Conclusion ............................................................................................ 101 7.1 Summary of Findings ................................................................................................ 101 7.2 Research Contributions ............................................................................................ 103 7.3 Research Implications .............................................................................................. 105 7.4 Strengths and Limitations of Research Approach ..................................................... 107 7.5 Future Research ....................................................................................................... 110 7.5 Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 112 References ......................................................................................................................... 113 Appendices ........................................................................................................................ 132 Appendix 1: Survey of Carbon Neutral Program Managers ........................................... 132   ix  List of Tables Table 1: Greenhouse gas emissions and associated offset costs 2008-2012 ............................ 27 Table 2: Carbon neutral practices discussed in the 2008-2012 Annual CNARs ..................... 44 Table 3: Salience of institutional logics underpinning carbon neutrality by sector ................. 73 Table 4: Network centrality measures for key organizations that PSOs work with to achieve carbon neutral goals ................................................................................................................. 92 Table 5: Results of quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) regression analysis of shared practices.................................................................................................................................... 95   x  List of Figures Figure 1: Organizational support for carbon neutrality............................................................ 30 Figure 2: Percentage of organizations reporting different types of carbon neutral practices over time (2008-12).................................................................................................................. 47 Figure 3: Co-occurrence of carbon neutral strategies discussed in CNARs .......................... 49 Figure 4: Sources of information about carbon neutral strategies ........................................... 89 Figure 5: Network of organizations supporting the implementation of carbon neutral goals 91 Figure 6: Representation of the broader network of organizations supporting implementation of the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative ................................................................. 94 Figure 7: Primary type of support given to PSOs by each of the organizations in their network .................................................................................................................................... 96 Figure 8: Network bridges to broader climate and energy fields ............................................. 99   xi  List of Abbreviations BC  British Columbia CNAR  Carbon Neutral Action Report GHG  Greenhouse Gas IPCC  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LEED  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design NGO  Non-Governmental Organization PSO  Public Sector Organization   xii  Acknowledgements I am grateful to a long list of people that helped bring this dissertation to life.   First and foremost, I want to thank my thesis committee – Ralph Matthews, David Tindall, and Beth Hirsh. They provided me with innumerable opportunities to grow as a scholar, and gave me the freedom to pursue my interests.  Most of the ideas discussed in this thesis can be traced back to insights gained while working alongside them on projects, or learning in their classrooms.  Likewise, my colleagues in the Department of Sociology provided the intellectual support needed to complete this project. I received valuable feedback while presenting early drafts of this work at several conferences. Thank you to members of the Canadian Sociological Association Environmental Research Cluster, the American Sociological Association Environment and Technology Section, and the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences that provided helpful suggestions for improving this research. I owe a debt of gratitude to my research participants. They freely gave their time to provide insights into the inner-workings of organizational carbon neutrality. The high response rates and quality data reported in this dissertation are testament to their commitment to their work. Thanks also to the organizations that provided funding for my research and training – particularly the University of British Columbia and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions that funded the research described here. Finally, I want to thank my family for their ongoing love and support as I completed this project.  xiii  Dedication         For Kurt and Fianna    1  1. Introduction In 2015, global leaders committed to an ambitious plan to tackle global climate change.  This plan (known as the “Paris Agreement”) signaled that the world was ready to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below dangerous levels. Through this agreement, countries have committed to "global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible" to keep global warming “well below 2°C” (UNFCCC, 2015, p. 21). To reach this goal, the global economy must focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the chief among which is carbon dioxide1. Achieving this target will require a major transition for all sectors of society, as we move away from the fossil fuels which have driven industrialization, and shift towards a low carbon future.  To understand what the transition towards a low carbon society might look like, we need to look to early adopters of climate change policies. One good example in this regard is the Province of British Columbia (BC), Canada. In 2007, BC set out to become a leader in the battle against climate change with the development of an ambitious climate change plan. The government enacted aggressive targets to tackle climate change, aiming to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions 33% below 2007 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050 (Government of British Columbia, 2007a, 2010a). To reach these targets, BC pursued a number of approaches, including: the introduction of a revenue-neutral carbon tax; the development of a Clean Energy Act; participation in the Western Climate Initiative to enable collaboration with other provinces and states; and the formation of the Pacific                                                            1 Though other major greenhouse gases are also of concern, in particular, methane and nitrous oxide. 2  Carbon Trust to offset carbon emissions (Government of British Columbia, 2007a, 2008b, 2010a).  Central to efforts to reduce emissions was a commitment by the BC government to “lead by example”, reducing public sector carbon emissions to net zero (or “carbon neutral”) by 2010 (Government of British Columbia, 2008). This initiative (hereafter referred to as the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate) was the first of its kind for a provincial or state government in North America, and placed BC amongst a small group of jurisdictions worldwide with a carbon neutral goal (Ball, Mason, Grubnic, & Hughes, 2009; Flagg, 2015). The Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate required all public sector organizations (including schools, universities, hospitals and crown corporations2) to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero, and report annually on their progress towards this goal. This required organizations to measure their greenhouse gas emissions, develop initiatives to minimize these emissions, and where reduction wasn’t possible, offset these emissions to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality. This dissertation reports on an analysis of the first five years of this initiative, spanning the two years prior to the zero emissions requirement (2008-9), and three years post carbon neutrality (2010-12).  The key focus of this dissertation is on the actions of the group of organizations bound by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate over the first five years of the policy. This work uses the concept of an “organizational field” (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008) as a guiding                                                            2 The public sector in British Columbia is relatively expansive. Crown corporations include a diversity of organizations - such as the provincial hydro electric company, insurance corporation, and liquor distributing body – that might ordinarily be found in the private sector in other parts of the world. 3  analytical framework. A field consists of “‘a community of organizations that partakes of a common meaning system, and whose participants interact more frequently and fatefully with one another than with actors outside the field” (Scott, 1995, p. 56). The organizations bound by the carbon neutral mandate form an organizational field, bound together by their shared goal of reducing carbon emissions. By studying this group of organizations collectively, we can see how organizations influence each other, and the way they are influenced by a shared institutional environment.  The Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate provides a unique opportunity to study the emergence of a new organizational field, focused on carbon neutrality. In this case, the new field includes all the organizations bound by the mandate, and a vast network of consultants, engineers, researchers, government agencies, industry bodies, and environmental NGOs working together to determine how carbon neutrality should be achieved. The key focus of this analysis is the public sector organizations bound by the mandate, but this broader group of actors making up the field is also considered in Chapter 6.  Carbon neutrality was a relatively new challenge for these organizations, requiring shifts across the entire organization in how environmental impacts are measured, accounted for, and addressed. This involves working with new stakeholders, creating new positions (such as energy managers), and considering the climate impacts of all organizational activities. At the time the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate was introduced in BC, few models existed demonstrating what the transition to carbon neutrality should entail. Indeed, previous studies of the same organizational population covered in this dissertation have 4  indicated that even some of the most environmentally pro-active organizations were initially uncertain about the appropriate response to the mandate (Lau, 2013; Webster & Moore, 2009). This research explores how organizations responded to this uncertainty, and describes how organizations came to a common understanding of carbon neutrality, drawing upon explanations from organizational field theory.  1.1 The Challenge of Carbon Neutrality 1.1.1. The process of becoming carbon neutral The concept of “carbon neutrality” is about ensuring that there is no net accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from organizational activities (Ball et al., 2009). Organizations or governments that have committed to carbon neutrality work to reduce their overall carbon emissions, and then offset the balance of remaining emissions elsewhere to achieve a target of net zero emissions. Becoming carbon neutral first involves measuring the “carbon footprint” of the organization (i.e. all sources of greenhouse gas emissions created directly and indirectly from organizational activities). Once sources of greenhouse gases have been identified and measured, organizations can then look for strategies to reduce the emissions intensity of their activities, for example by switching polluting fuels for cleaner alternatives. Because it is challenging to reduce all emissions, any remaining emissions are “offset”, typically by purchasing credits for someone else to reduce emissions elsewhere. In sum, these actions allow an organization to claim they are “carbon neutral”.  Offsetting can involve efforts to sequester carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (e.g. dedicated tree planting to sequester carbon), or paying for carbon reducing actions that 5  would not otherwise have been achieved without offset payments (e.g. covering the costs of installing new renewable energy). While initially offsets are required to achieve carbon neutrality (given the challenges of reducing emissions to zero in a predominantly fossil-fueled economy) most jurisdictions with carbon neutral goals aim to reduce the reliance on offsetting over time, and emphasize emissions reduction activities.  The process of accounting for organizational emissions to achieve carbon neutrality can be complicated.  Carbon emissions are embedded in most of the products organizations consume, through the energy required to produce goods and services. Additionally, organizations can create indirect demand for fossil fuel consumption, for example emissions created by staff members commuting to and from work that would not occur in the absence of the organization.  Therefore, defining where the boundaries of carbon neutrality lie, and what emissions should be accounted for is a key component of carbon neutral efforts.   Various standards and protocols have been developed to guide measuring and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most prominent is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (WBCSD/WRI, 2004) which was devised to help clarify emissions types, sub-setting them into three categories.   Scope 1 emissions: are direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting entity (e.g. emissions from burning fuel to operate vehicles or heat buildings);  Scope 2 emissions: are indirect emissions (those that occur from sources owned or controlled by other entities) that exist due to the consumption of purchased energy; 6   Scope 3 emissions: are other emissions that occur due to the activities of reporting entities, but that aren’t covered in scope 1 and 2 (e.g. indirect emissions that occur within the supply chain). In British Columbia, the provincial government designed the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate to include scope 1 and 2 emissions, but exclude most scope 3 emissions. Public sector organizations are required to report and offset emissions relating to: heating, lighting and air-conditioning leased or owned buildings; operating appliances, machinery and equipment; operating vehicles3; and paper consumption. The core government agencies are also required to report emissions associated with work-related travel (Government of British Columbia, 2008). This approach simplifies accounting and reporting, as organizations can measure electricity, gas, fuel, and paper purchases and use this information to calculate emissions. However, this also means that a large amount of indirect emissions are left out of the carbon neutral accounting process (Lau & Dowlatabadi, 2011a; Matthews, Hendrickson, & Weber, 2008). For instance, the embedded emissions in many goods and services (such as food purchased by the organizations) are not considered part of the organizational footprint that must be offset in order to achieve carbon neutrality.  While it is important to understand the basic rationale for carbon neutrality, and the mechanics behind the process, it is not the intent of this dissertation to provide an in-depth analysis of the value of carbon neutrality as a possible climate change solution4, or determine the effectiveness of given carbon neutral practices at reducing greenhouse gas                                                            3 School buses are explicitly excluded from offsetting requirements. 4 For some interesting analyses, see Ball et al., 2009; Jaccard & Griffin, 2011; Kok, Vermeulen, Jager, & Faaij, 2002; Lau & Dowlatabadi, 2011b; Martin, 2008 7  emissions. Rather, the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate was chosen because it represents an opportunity to explore how a group of organizations simultaneously grapple with new pressures to account for their climate change impact. Studying this program represents an opportunity to scrutinize the “black box” of organizational climate change governance (Bumpus, 2015), and understand how field-level pressures shape organizational climate responses. Hence, the remainder of this work looks at the transition to a low-carbon world through the lens of organizational action.  1.1.2. Organizations as a key foci for analysis Organizations are the “cogs in the machine” of environmental degradation or improvement (Shwom, 2009, p. 271). This is especially true for the issue of climate change, where organizations can be a source of damaging greenhouse gas pollution, or a space for climate-friendly innovation. Until recently, much organizational action on climate change has taken place within the context of a low-regulation environment. However, climate change policies are beginning to proliferate at the local, regional and national level (Climate Policy Initiative, 2013; Lutsey & Sperling, 2008). As climate change policies in organizations shift from voluntary to mandated, research is needed to better understand how organizations manage greenhouse gas emissions once they are obliged to do so. Understanding how organizations may respond to imperatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, is vital to understanding how we can reach global climate change goals.  There are two possible ways to think about organizational action on climate change. The 8  first, an “atomized” view, looks at the features of individual organizations that enable or constrain action. In the case of carbon neutrality, this might involve looking at how organizational commitment (from leaders or staff) or program resourcing might shape climate mitigation outcomes. The second approach, a “socialized” view, sees organizations as part of a broader system that shapes individual organizational action (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008). From this perspective, organizations develop responses to a problem with reference to the norms, customs, rules and ideals of their institutional context (Scott, 1995). This study will adopt the latter approach – while the features of individual organizations may be discussed, the emphasis of this work is on broader “field-level” factors that shape carbon neutral efforts.  1.2 An Organizational Field-Level Analysis 1.2.1. The concept of an organizational field An organizational field can be defined as "sets of organizations that, in the aggregate, constitute a recognized area of institutional life; key suppliers, resource and product consumers, regulatory agencies, and other organizations that produce similar services or products" (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983, p. 148). This definition views organizations as distinct from the institutional roles they occupy. To understand this distinction, consider the example of a university. A university can be considered a formal organization, as it has staff who occupy defined roles, and a formal structure. However, a university can also be considered an institution, in that it fulfils a specific role in our culture as a space for learning and research. Universities collectively can be considered a type of “organizational field”, as the organizations all occupy a similar institutional role in society. 9   An organizational field can also be considered a “relational space” where organizations with similar interests and concerns influence one another. In defining it as such, it is important to distinguish an organizational field from an organizational network. Organizations within a field may influence each directly through shared network ties (which may come from collaboration, or personnel movement within the field), but they can also influence others indirectly, for example, by creating cultural norms that influence members of a field whether or not they directly interact.  The organizational field is both a theoretical construct and a level of analysis. As a theoretical construct, the idea of an organizational field provides a framework for theories of how organizations focused on similar issues interact and shape their institutional environment. As a level of analysis, the organizational field provides a space for examining meso-level organizational interactions; namely, those that are of a higher order than individual organizations (micro-level), but a lower order than societal factors (macro-level). In this study, the field under consideration consists of those organizations that are working towards a similar goal of carbon neutrality.  1.2.2. Theories of organizational field dynamics Early variants of organizational field theory focused on how organizational activities become homogenized within a field over time - a process known as “isomorphism” (Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Zucker, 1977). By adhering to institutional customs, organizations gain “legitimacy, resources, stability, and enhanced survival prospects” (Meyer & Rowan, 1977, 10  p. 370). Over time new practices and structures generated from these isomorphic tendencies create taken for granted rituals and practices in organizational fields. DiMaggio and Powell (1983) expanded upon this process of institutionalization by highlighting the mechanisms whereby this reproduction happens. They proposed three pressures that drive the process of isomorphism:  coercive, normative and mimetic mechanisms. Coercive pressures are political and regulatory forces that drive organizations to adopt similar practices and policies. Normative pressures can be best understood as a form of organizational peer pressure, where organizations such as professional bodies and educational systems rationalize the types of activities that are considered “normal” for a given set of organizations. Mimetic pressures stem from habitual responses by organizations to follow the actions of similar others in cases of uncertainty. A key insight from early organizational field theory is that these various isomorphic pressures can lead organizations to adopt strategies and practices for symbolic, rather than purely rational reasons, to demonstrate conformity with the field (Meyer & Rowan, 1977).  More recently, institutional theorists have begun to pay attention to heterogeneity and dynamism in organizational fields. One explanation for why fields change over time is that strategic actors that have sufficient resources can work creatively within existing institutional arrangements, or create new institutions when they “see an opportunity to realize interests that they value highly” (DiMaggio, 1988, p. 14) to re-shape the field in their interests. An alternative explanation for dynamism is that multiple, competing logics (“institutional logics”) exist within a field that drive organizational identity and decision-making, and consequently shape institutional arrangements (Friedland, 2013; Thornton, 11  Ocasio, & Lounsbury, 2012). Institutional logics represent the assumptions, values and belief systems that give meaning to decisions and strategies. Proponents of this perspective argue that examining underlying logics provides a means to understand the cultural schemas that guide field members’ behaviour (Friedland & Alford, 1991).  Fligstein and McAdam (2011, 2012) have developed a framework that brings these various strands together in their theory of “strategic action fields”. They argue that the extent to which fields are more homogenized versus heterogeneous is based on whether fields are contested or stable spaces. They bring in a temporal element to field dynamics where the stability of fields changes over time, and acknowledge the power imbalances of actors that exist within fields that ultimately drive field trajectories. Furthermore, they highlight the fact that organizations tend to sit in multiple fields, and the interactions between these related organizational fields influence the outcomes within any individual field.  This research will draw upon insights from each of these theoretical approaches to explain the dynamics of the emergence of the organizational field of carbon neutrality in British Columbia. This work contributes to literature on organizational fields in two key ways. First, it contributes to field theory by showing the conditions under which a field can achieve stability relatively quickly in response to a new policy imperative. This case is an interesting counterpoint to much of the extant literature on field dynamics, which tends to emphasize contestation in the case of new or unsettled fields. Second, it provides a unique methodological approach to understanding field dynamics, utilizing techniques originally developed for social network analysis to look at co-occurrence of practices over time, 12  enabling mapping of the process of field emergence. However, the implications of this work are broader than simply understanding field dynamics. This study provides insights into societal response to climate change, demonstrating that under the right field conditions, organizations can very quickly come to terms with new imperatives to reduce their climate impact.  1.3 Dissertation Structure This dissertation is organized into seven chapters. The first three chapters (1-3) provide an introduction to the issue of carbon neutrality and the concept of an organizational field (Chapter One), the methods used to study organizational carbon neutrality (Chapter Two), and a detailed account of the key features of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate (Chapter Three). These chapters provide the necessary description of the methods and case used in this research needed to understand the substantive chapters that follow.  The next three chapters (4-6) provide the organizational field-level analysis of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate.    Chapter Four, “The Development of a Common Conception of Carbon Neutrality” provides an account of the emergence of an organizational field. It focuses on the way that organizations bound by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate very quickly came to a common understanding of the types of practices that constitute carbon neutrality. The reasons for this convergence are discussed with reference to organizational field theories.  13  Chapter Five, “The Institutional Logics Underpinning Carbon Practices” explores the shared logics within the field that drive the choice of carbon neutral strategies. Drawing upon an institutional logics framework (Friedland & Alford, 1991), this chapter identifies five key logics that the organizations use to explain their actions, and discusses how organizations balance multiple logics when working to achieve carbon neutrality.  Chapter Six, “The Broader Network of Carbon Neutral Actors” looks at which actors are active in the organizational field, shaping the actions of the organizations. Using an organizational network perspective (Owen-Smith & Powell, 2008), this chapter looks broadly at interactions with other key organizations focused on carbon neutrality. The distinctions between a network analysis approach and an organizational field perspective are discussed, with reference to the way each helps illuminate the development of carbon neutral initiatives.  Finally, this dissertation concludes (Chapter Seven) with a summary of the study findings, and a discussion of the strengths and limitations of using an organizational field framework to explore the process of achieving carbon neutrality. 14  2. Methods The overarching research questions driving this study is: How does a newly emerging organizational field shape organizational responses to climate policy?   To examine this question, I focus on the types of practices that organizations adopt when mandated to take climate change action by government legislation. Practices represent the everyday actions and routines undertaken by people and organizations, and can be used as a site for examining the interplay between individual behaviour and social systems (Lederer, 2012; Schatzki, 2006). The study of practices as a means of illuminating field-level dynamics is a common methodological approach in organizational literature (Lounsbury, 2001, 2008; Smets, Morris, & Greenwood, 2012). In this case, the practices observed are the specific actions and ideas that organizations develop about how carbon neutrality should be achieved.  For this research, I explore the carbon neutral practices considered or adopted by 132 public sector organizations. This includes all of the organizations that were required to report on their carbon neutral activities under the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, except the core government agencies that were bound by slightly different rules. The group is made up of public school districts (in the K-12 education sector), post-secondary education organizations (universities and colleges), healthcare organizations (health authorities and affiliates), and crown corporations (a diverse group of public funded corporations). A detailed account of the organizations and their participation in the Carbon Neutral Public Sector program is provided in Chapter 3. 15  The primary data source used in this study was a set of 634 annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports (CNARs). These reports detailed carbon neutral practices considered or adopted by each of the 132 organizations over the five-year period spanning 2008-20125. This period of reporting covered the year the carbon neutral legislation came into force (2008), the first year organizations were required to achieve carbon neutrality (2010), and the two years post carbon neutrality (2012).   The CNAR data were supplemented with an online survey of carbon neutral program managers in each organization. The remainder of this chapter will outline the collection and treatment of the CNAR and survey data. Further descriptions of specific data analysis techniques will appear in the remaining chapters alongside the associated study results.  2.1 Document Analysis of Carbon Neutral Action Reports As a requirement of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, all public sector organizations in British Columbia were expected to publicly release data on their carbon mitigation performance in the form of annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports. These reports were published on the BC Government’s Climate Action website each year (Government of British Columbia, 2016a), and were subject to random auditing to ensure compliance with regulations (BC Auditor General, 2013). This provided the pool of 634 Carbon Neutral Action Reports over the 2008-2012 period that were analyzed in this study5. While all of these reports were reviewed, the in-depth analysis reported upon in this dissertation focused reports from the years 2008, 2010, and 2012.                                                            5 Some organizations formed or became defunct over the 2008-2012 period, hence not all organizations produced reports for each of the five years. 16  The Carbon Neutral Action Reports typically consisted of three sections of information.  The pre-amble provided information from each organization about their general progress towards carbon neutrality, and any achievements or challenges they were particularly interested in highlighting. The core of the report was a detailed listing of all of the different strategies the organization had adopted or was considering in order to achieve their carbon neutral goals. These were typically split into two sections – those actions that were undertaken to reduce reportable emissions (in-scope activities), and those that helped with provincial carbon emissions reduction or sustainability goals, but which were not focused on reportable emissions (out-of-scope activities). Finally, each report also included a listing of the overall carbon emissions for the year, and a breakdown of these emissions into core reporting categories (mobile fuel consumption, stationary fuel consumption, and paper supplies) – these statistics were only included in reports from 2010 onwards when organizations were formally required to be carbon neutral.  The following information was coded from the 2008, -10, and -12 Carbon Neutral Action Reports, aided by the software package NVivo 10 (QSR, 2012). First, the key achievements and reasons for pursuing carbon neutrality were coded from the pre-amble section. These were iteratively coded – initially all achievements and reasons for pursuing carbon neutrality were coded using an “open coding” approach, then these were grouped thematically (Bernard & Ryan, 2009; Mason, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 2007). This information was used in combination with the survey data to describe the logics underpinning carbon neutrality (described in Chapter 5). Second, the types of strategies that the organization had considered or adopted in response to the carbon neutral mandate were 17  coded. These were grouped into common sets of practices (e.g. all descriptions of attempts to change light bulbs and light fittings were grouped as “lighting retrofits”), and were used to look at the co-occurrence of carbon neutral strategies (described in Chapter 4). Finally, any discussion of other organizations in the CNARs was coded, and used to explore the network of connections each organization draws upon to achieve their carbon neutral goals (described in Chapter 6). The quantitative information about organizational emissions was not coded, as the BC Government had already completed this task as part of an “open data” initiative, so this publicly available data set was used for descriptions of greenhouse gas emissions (Government of British Columbia, 2016a).  2.2 Survey of Carbon Neutral Program Managers To supplement the information provided in the Carbon Neutral Action Reports, a survey was conducted of carbon neutral program managers in each organization (see Appendix 2). Survey data was gathered in addition to CNAR data for two reasons. First, it provided a means of collecting data for key questions that could not be answered from annual reports (e.g. how organizations perceived the carbon neutral program, or who the key networks were that the organizations drew upon for support). Second it provided a means for overcoming some of the “social desirability” bias inherent in annual reporting. Since organizations knew that annual reports were going to be made publicly available, they may have been more likely to selectively present or represent information so that it painted their actions in the best light. Asking organizations about their carbon neutral actions in an anonymized survey provides a means of identifying information organizations may not be willing to present publicly. Using multiple methods also provides a means of triangulating 18  data (i.e. comparing responses across different methodological approaches), which can help identify where issues of social desirability bias exist.  The survey was sent to the person in charge of the carbon neutral program in each organization. This person was identified using names listed in the CNARs, or from organizational websites. Each carbon neutral program manager was emailed a link to an online survey administered via FluidSurveys, a Canadian-hosted web survey tool (FluidSurveys, 2015). The data were collected over a two-week period spanning June 22nd – July 3rd, 2015. Survey participants were contacted twice via email (see the full email text in Appendix 2).  The first email outlined the purpose of the study and provided a link to the survey. The second email, sent one week later, provided a reminder for participants who had not already completed the survey.  The survey link was sent to representatives at 124 organizations (those in the broader pool that existed at the time of surveying), and 58 completed surveys were received. This represents a survey response rate of 46.8%. While this is low in absolute terms, it is comparatively higher than average organizational response rates. In a meta-analysis of organizational surveys, Baruch and Holtom (2008) found that response rates for surveys of organizational representatives published in management and behavioural science journals was 35.7%. The response rate of 46.8% clearly exceeds the benchmark response rate of 35-40% that Baruch and Holtom (2008) propose for studies of organizational representatives.   19  To examine whether the survey respondents were representative of the full group of public sector organizations studied, survey data were examined for non-response sampling bias against two key variables of interest in this analysis – organizational sector (K-12, post-secondary education, health, and crown corporations) and organizational greenhouse gas emissions. This highlighted the fact that K-12 school districts, and organizations with a smaller greenhouse gas footprint were slightly under-represented amongst survey respondents. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that organizations with smaller greenhouse gas footprints have less of a stake in the program, and therefore may be less likely to take the time to respond to a survey about carbon neutrality. The lower response rate from K-12 participants can be explained by the fact that the survey was conducted during the summer months, when many school staff are on vacation. To address this imbalance in survey responses, data was proportionally weighted to correct for non-response bias. This was achieved by multiplying responses by the reciprocal of subgroup response rates. In all analyses, differences were minor between unweighted and weighted data. Where weighted data is used, this is noted in the corresponding text or figure labels.  Survey participants were asked questions relating to three key areas: (1) the management of the carbon neutral program in their organization and perceived organizational support for carbon neutrality; (2) the types of carbon neutral strategies they adopted and the reasons for adopting particular strategies; and, (3) the networks of support they draw upon when developing their carbon neutral program. Quantitative data from the survey were used to provide descriptive statistics about the organization’s participation in the carbon neutral program. Qualitative data from the survey were coded using the software package NVivo 10 20  (QSR, 2012) to draw out key thematic areas in each of the survey responses (Bernard & Ryan, 2009; Mason, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 2007).   2.3. Additional Data In addition to the two data sources described above, I drew upon a number of sources to aid my analysis of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. These included government press releases, annual reports about the program, and operational guides provided to the public sector organizations. These documents were all publicly available through the Climate Action Secretariat website (Government of British Columbia, 2016b), and are cited in this work where data comes from these sources rather than my own collection efforts. 21  3. Case: The BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector Mandate The BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative was enacted in 2008, as part of a suite of provincial climate change initiatives under the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Targets Act (Government of British Columbia, 2007a). Perhaps the most notable feature of this legislation was a revenue-neutral carbon tax, which levied a $10 per tonne charge on carbon emissions across most sectors of the BC economy (rising annually to $30 per tonne by 2012). A tax of this type was unprecedented in North America, and it garnered attention in academic and policy circles (Bumpus, 2015; Harrison, 2013; K. Kennedy, Obeiter, & Kaufman, 2015; Lacroix & Richards, 2015; Murray & Rivers, 2015; Thomsen, 2014), and in global media (Bauman & Shi-Ling, 2012; Porter, 2016). This tax covers approximately 70% of the British Columbian economy, including both household and industrial emissions (Government of British Columbia, 2014a). In contrast, the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate is a relatively small initiative, impacting organizations responsible for just 1.5% of provincial emissions (Lau & Dowlatabadi, 2011b).   Despite the modest contribution to total carbon emissions, the government promoted the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative as an important pillar of its climate change policy for several reasons. First, the mandate provided an opportunity to change the behaviour of public servants and the general public more broadly, through engagement in the process of becoming carbon neutral. The public sector employs over 300,000 people, educates 1.6 million students, and reaches much of the remainder of the public through government services such as healthcare provision. The government claimed that “through just one degree of separation, we are educating and engaging nearly all British Columbians on the 22  actions they can take to reduce their personal carbon footprint” (Government of British Columbia, 2009, p. 15). The second reason for pursuing this program relates to the development of infrastructure and green technologies. The public sector consumes a range of goods and services, and manages a large number of buildings. The mandate provided an opportunity to catalyse the development of low-carbon industries, to support the development of efficient new buildings, retrofits and green purchasing choices. Finally, this program gave the government the opportunity to “lead by example” – holding public sector organizations accountable to a more stringent target than the rest of the BC economy (Government of British Columbia, 2009, 2015). The Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate was seen as an opportunity to demonstrate to British Columbia that low-carbon transitions were possible.  3.1 Overview of the Mandate The Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate began in 2008, but organizations did not have to formally achieve carbon neutrality until 2010. For the first two years, organizations were simply required to publicly report on their emissions reduction activities.  From 2010 onwards, organizations were required to report their emissions, and pay to offset in-scope carbon emissions at a rate of $25 per tonne. As long as they achieved the broader target set by the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Targets Act of net-zero emissions, organizations had flexibility in how they choose to reach their goals. Reaching the goal by offsetting alone is costly, so organizations had a financial incentive to adopt strategies that would lead to emissions reductions. The burden borne varied widely across the public sector, with smaller organizations without owned buildings or fleet vehicles paying a minimal charge for offsets 23  (as low as $20). Larger organizations, such as major public universities paid more than a million dollars per annum to offset their emissions.  The Carbon Neutral Government Regulation (Government of British Columbia, 2008) outlined the types of emissions that must be counted in carbon neutral calculations.  Specifically, organizations were required to reduce and offset:  “direct emissions and indirect energy emissions from the heating, air conditioning and lighting of a building or portion of a building owned or leased by the public sector organization, other than the heating, air conditioning and lighting of a building that is leased to another public sector organization;  direct emissions and indirect energy emissions from the operation of appliances, equipment and machinery, owned or leased by the public sector organization (other than mobile combustion sources which are reported separately as noted below);  direct emissions from the operation of a vehicle or other mobile combustion source, other than a public transit or school bus owned or leased by the public sector organization; and  direct emissions from the production of office paper purchased by the public sector organization for use in its business.”       (Government of British Columbia, 2008, p. 3) Core government agencies (such as provincial government ministries) were also required to include business related travel in emissions calculations. In general, to account for these emissions, organizations gathered data on their fuel purchased for vehicles, electricity 24  consumption, gas consumption, and paper purchases, and then used government guidelines to convert this consumption to equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.  To illustrate what this looks like in a practical sense, consider an organization that has a fleet of 100 vehicles.  The mandate requires the organization to report on all fuel purchased to run these vehicles, and pay a charge of $25/tonne CO2e for the emissions generated by burning this fuel. The organization can reduce the amount it pays to the government by reducing fuel use or switching to lower carbon fuels. They can do this through actions such as replacing vehicles with more efficient alternatives, encouraging more efficient driving techniques, or retiring vehicles and reducing fleet size (which often involves changing staff behaviour so that less vehicles are needed). If they reduce fuel use by 50%, they pay 50% less to the government to offset emissions (and save money on fuel). Therefore, there is a strong incentive to look for efficiencies. However, for all emissions that can’t be reduced, offsets must be purchased.  Offsetting emissions that organizations couldn’t mitigate was initially undertaken through a designated organization, known as the Pacific Carbon Trust. Public sector organizations paid $25/tonne for any outstanding in-scope emissions to the Trust. The Trust then invested in a range of projects focused on reducing or sequestering carbon emissions. Examples of projects funded through the Trust include: a project to improve forest management in the Great Bear Rainforest; purchasing the Darkwoods forest to limit logging activities; paying Encana Corporation to adopt new natural gas capture technologies; and retrofitting landfills to capture and utilize methane emissions (BC Auditor General, 2013; Government of British 25  Columbia, 2011). In 2013, the Auditor General released a damning report that found that several offset projects were not credible, and the government could not claim carbon neutrality (BC Auditor General, 2013). The Trust also faced public scrutiny for diverting funds away from public services. The Trust was folded in 2013, and offset funding is now managed through the Ministry of Environment. The collection and use of offset funds remains the most controversial part of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate.   In addition to the offsetting mechanism, the government developed a number of initiatives to support public sector organizations in meeting the mandate. A reporting platform, known as “SmartTool”, was created to aid in the collection and analysis of emissions data from fuel, energy and paper purchasing records (Government of British Columbia, 2016d). Additionally, public sector organizations were provided with guidance documents and templates of the annual Carbon Neutral Action Report (Government of British Columbia, 2016a).  The Government’s Climate Action Secretariat developed an online community of practice for program managers (now defunct), and hosted an annual forum to facilitate idea sharing. The Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement - a three year funding program for energy efficient retrofits – was also developed to support building emissions reduction efforts (Government of British Columbia, 2014b).  3.2 Organizations Involved in the Mandate The mandate covered approximately 150 organizations - the numbers vary from year-to-year as public organizations are newly formed, closed or merged. Excluding core government agencies, 132 organizations fell within the mandate in the 2008-12 period, 26  though not all existed over the full period covered in this study – between 119 and 127 organizations participated each year in 2008-12.  These 132 organizations can be broken down into four sectors:  K-12 education (60 organizations): The public school districts across British Columbia – these organizations manage all public elementary and secondary schools in the province.  Post-secondary education (25 organizations): Publicly-funded universities and colleges in British Columbia.  Health authorities and affiliates (16 organizations): Publicly-funded hospitals and health agencies.  Crown corporations (31 organizations): A diverse group of publicly-funded corporations, working in sectors such as housing, tourism, energy, resource extraction, and culture. These organizations represent a variety of industries, and also a wide range of organizational types. Organizations within the mandate range in size from less than ten employees to more than twenty thousand. Likewise, greenhouse gas emissions from these organizations vary, from one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, to more than 70,000 tonnes per annum (see Table 1). While the organizations are all bound by the same requirement to reach net-zero emissions, this diversity of organizational types means that different organizations face different challenges and opportunities in reaching their carbon neutral goals. For some organizations carbon neutrality simply means paying $25 for the one tonne of reportable emissions produced, and making attempts to cut paper usage. For others, it is a 27  major transition, requiring changes in infrastructure and behaviour across the organization, and annual offset payments exceeding a million dollars (see Table 1).   Table 1: Greenhouse gas emissions and associated offset costs 2008-2012  Mean s.d. Min. Max. Number of CNARs GHG emissions (tonnes CO2e):      2008 Not reported - - 119 2010 5,661 10,998 1 64,559 126 2012 5,944 11,565 2 70,132 127 Offsets purchased ($):      2008 Not required - - 119 2010 125,418 245,990 19 1,612,344 126 2012 130,806 257,976 51 1,702,196 127 Note: Based on data from annual reports (excluding core government)  3.3 Organizational Responses to the Mandate It is unclear how effective Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate has been at meeting its core goal of cutting emissions. From the emissions data (Table 1), we can see that deep cuts in organizational emissions are not yet evident, with emissions actually rising slightly over the 2010-2012 period. However, comparing emissions data from year-to-year can be problematic. Factors such as weather and staffing can vary over time, and this can have an impact on annual emissions (for example, through greater heating or cooling requirements). The BC Government analyzed the emissions data controlling for climate, and estimates that 28  emissions have effectively been reduced by approximately 1.7% between 2010-2012 when climate differences are taken into account (Government of British Columbia, 2012).    While a 1.7% drop in emissions over the first few years of the program might seem like a modest result, it should be noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the carbon neutral program has been unsuccessful. The early years of the program are characterised by a lot of data gathering and policy setting, which may not have yet led to greenhouse gas reductions.  Additionally, many organization have made some long-term investments in emissions reduction infrastructure (for example, installing new heating or cooling systems), that may have created a temporary spike in emissions for energy required for the installation, but which should lead to a reduction over time. Furthermore, it is more than likely that emissions would have risen rather than dropped over this time period, as the province was undergoing a boom in population, and the period when the legislation was introduced tracks a period of economic growth following the global recession in 2007/8, and consequently schools and other public services were expanding. In sum, a longer-term view is needed to see the ultimate outcome of the policy in these organizations.  At least in the short term, however, the organizations are nowhere near carbon neutral in their operations alone, and offsetting is the key factor allowing organizations to claim net-zero emissions.  For almost all of the organizations in this study, the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate represented a new challenge.  From the survey of carbon neutral managers (N=58; data proportionally weighted by GHG and sector), it appears that just one organization was developing carbon neutrality goals prior to 2008. Approximately half of all organizations in 29  the field (51%) had been pursuing some climate change or emissions reductions actions, but were not aiming for net-zero emissions. Twenty-four percent had not been pursuing any emissions reductions at all, and the remaining 24% were not aware of the organization’s plan prior to 2008. The BC government’s target of net-zero carbon emissions pushed almost all of the organizations to be more ambitious in their climate change plans.  Organizations tended to be supportive of the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Figure 1; based on survey data proportionally weighted by GHG and sector). Ninety-four percent of program managers either “agreed” or “strongly-agreed” that their organization was committed to reducing emissions.  Likewise, 89% either “agreed” or “strongly-agreed” that their organization supported the BC Government’s climate change targets. Organizational representatives noted the financial challenges of the program – more “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” that their organization had the financial capacity to reach carbon neutrality (47%) than “agreed” or “strongly agreed” (34%). Within the organization, most program managers felt that both staff and management tend to be supportive of carbon neutral goals, with 79% “strongly agreeing” or “agreeing” that staff support carbon neutral goals, and 95%. “strongly agreeing” or “agreeing” that managers support these goals.  Overall, it seems that there is strong support from the organizations in this study for the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate.  30   Figure 1: Organizational support for carbon neutrality Note: Based on survey data (Q2, see Appendix 2). All statements were framed “Please indicate how much you agree/disagree with the following statement”. N=58 for all questions. Numbers represent percentage of organizations. Data were proportionally weighted to ensure responses were representative of the full field based on organizational sector and GHG emissions.    18132922418196478632148561716134138Management within the organizationare supportive of carbon neutral goalsStaff within the organization aresupportive of carbon neutral goalsMy organization has the financialcapacity to meet carbon neutral goalsMy organization supports the BC Government’s climate change targetsMy organization is committed toreducing greenhouse gas emissionsStrongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree Don't know31  It also appears that the mandate is catalyzing a shift in practices.  One concern that critics raise about climate change programs is whether they offer “additionality”; namely, whether the climate policy leads to the uptake of initiatives that would not otherwise have been adopted (Gillenwater, 2012). Survey participants were asked directly about this issue (N=58; data proportionally weighted by GHG and sector). Fifty-seven percent of organizations had adopted new policies or strategies that they otherwise would not have considered as a result of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. In 33% of organizations, this had “somewhat” occurred, with respondents commenting that the initiative had helped provide financial incentives for emissions reduction or had raised awareness, helping proposed carbon neutral initiatives to be enacted. For example, one survey respondent commented that the mandate “provides a push in the direction we already wanted to go” and that it “provides us with direction, financial resources, and positive exposure” needed to enact planned initiatives. Only two organizational representatives (4%) said that they did not think the mandate had led to the adoption of new strategies and policies, and three respondents (5%) were unsure.  This program has enabled the adoption of new strategies and policies in most organizations.  3.4 Value as a Case The Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate is a useful case for studying low-carbon transitions for several reasons.  From an environmental perspective, the goal of “zero emissions” represents the kind of transition that is necessary to move towards a low carbon-economy, and tackle climate change (IPCC, 2014). From a sociological perspective, the mandate provides an opportunity to study the emergence of an organizational field (Grodal, 32  2007), as it the mandate catalyzed the development of a whole new area of focus for organizations, and created a broader field of organizations supporting the carbon neutral transition. Additionally, we know this was a new field, because as previously noted, almost all the organizations in the study were not pursuing carbon neutrality prior to the introduction of the mandate. This initiative required organizations to document in great detail (though annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports) all of the strategies they considered or adopted in response to this new challenge.  Thus, this is a unique empirical case where the emergence of a field is well-documented.  The novel nature of this case means that care must be taken when extrapolating findings beyond this group of organizations. The fact that these organizations are publicly funded means that they are subject to greater coercive forces from the government, and therefore their responses to the policy may not be indicative of how private sector organizations would respond to the same mandate. Additionally, British Columbia is known as an environmentally progressive province, so the availability and uptake of new technologies, and the willingness of organizations to adopt carbon neutrality may reflect this context. However, given that the policy environment on climate change is rapidly evolving worldwide, there is likely no such thing as a “typical case” (Seawright & Gerring, 2008) that is representative of low-carbon transitions.  Descriptive and analytical studies such as this work are valuable contributions to understanding the process of reducing carbon emissions, even if there are caveats in the generalizability of the findings.  33  4. The Emergence of a Shared Conception of Carbon Neutrality 4.1 Introduction The introduction of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate happened quickly. The legislation was announced in 2007, and by 2008 public sector organizations were required to start enacting carbon neutral strategies and reporting on their efforts.  This rapid transition was intentional, with the Government stating that “the science is clear. It leaves no room for procrastination” (Government of British Columbia, 2007b, p. 12). For the organizations involved, this early period of carbon neutrality was characterized by a great deal of uncertainty. Organizations had to quickly determine how they were going to reform their work to reach the emissions cuts required by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, with few available examples to follow.  Previous work has posited that when organizations are faced with uncertainty, they turn to their social environment to look for cues about how to act (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Wooten & Hoffman, 2008). Organizations look to their peers, regulators, and networks to determine the appropriate response to an unclear situation. This moves their behaviour beyond individual organizational decision-making, and brings their actions into alignment with an organizational field. This chapter will explore this phenomenon, looking at the processes of field emergence that occurred with the introduction of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. Specifically, this work will examine the various strategies that organizations adopted in their transition to carbon neutrality, and the patterns in practice adoption in the field over the first few years in response to the new imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 34  4.1.1. The emergence of an organizational field A great deal of research has been conducted over the past half-century on the dynamics of organizational fields (for a summary, see Wooten & Hoffman, 2008). This work has discussed how factors such as diffusion of ideas and policies, the development of shared cognition, and processes of change occur in organizational fields (Fligstein, 2013; Hoffman, 2001; Zilber, 2008). For the most part, the emphasis has been on the dynamics of established organizational fields. Comparatively less attention has been paid to the emergence of new organizational fields (Aldrich, 1999; Grodal, 2007; Moody, 2008; Suddaby, Cooper, & Greenwood, 2007). One plausible reason for this is that the arrival of a new field is often only identifiable once it is already established, so there are few opportunities to study emergence processes as they happen. However, some scholars have conducted retrospective analyses of field emergence, and provided insights into emergence processes.   How and why do fields emerge? Two key theories have been developed about the process of field emergence. The first is that some sort of exogenous shock brings a group of organizations together over an issue of common interest. This “shock” can come in many forms, such as the introduction of a new regulation, an environmental disaster, or a market shift (Edelman, 1992; Hoffman & Ocasio, 2001; Meyer, Gaba, & Colwell, 2005). Organizations form a new field to collectively make sense of a changed environment and to respond to the changes in a collective manner. A second approach posits a more organic process of field development, where organizations in disparate arenas come to recognize a shared concern, and in the process of making sense of their common interests they form an 35  organizational field (Bartley, 2007; Grodal, 2007; Moody, 2008). These processes are not mutually exclusive - the extent to which fields follow the first or second form of emergence is largely dependent on the context of the field.  In the case of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector in British Columbia, there was a clear exogenous shock at play in the development of the field. The introduction of the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Target Act (Government of British Columbia, 2007a) necessitated the development of a new organizational field focused on carbon neutrality in BC. However, since the legislation was not overly prescriptive about how carbon neutrality should be achieved, there was also space for negotiation within the field about what carbon neutrality might look like. The way that the organizations within the field responded to the exogenous shock of the new legislation provides an interesting case for studying the dynamics of field emergence.  4.1.2. Practices as an indicator of field dynamics This study examines the practices that organizations adopt as a means of understanding higher-level field dynamics. Practices represent the everyday actions and routines undertaken by people and organisations, and can be used as a site for examining the interplay between individual behaviour and social systems (Lederer, 2012; Schatzki, 2006). The study of social practice has roots in the works of Wittgenstein (1953) Bourdieu (1977, 1984), and Giddens (1984), who all championed an approach to social analysis that focused on examining the way practices are produced, reinforced, and changed, in order to illuminate social structure (Schatzki, 1997). Using practices to highlight field-level 36  processes is a common technique in organizational field research (Lounsbury & Crumley, 2007; Smets et al., 2012), where practices are used to as an indicator of less tangible field level processes.   Carbon neutral practices come in many forms. At its core, the concept of carbon neutrality is about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, much of the practical expression of the concept of carbon neutrality focuses on strategies to reduce carbon dioxide output. This can include strategies such as purchasing greener vehicles, switching to renewable energy sources, and retrofitting infrastructure to make it more efficient (Kennedy et al., 2010). In practice, however, the concept of carbon neutrality encompasses more than just technological fixes. Carbon neutrality is often linked to sustainability narratives, and more broadly to ideas about organizational and societal change as a result of climate change (Boykoff & Bumpus, 2009). Thus, the practical expression of carbon neutrality within an organization can be indicative of the organization’s conception of climate change.  Furthermore, because many options exist for achieving carbon neutrality (Kennedy et al., 2010), organizations must look for cues about what strategies to adopt, so patterns in carbon neutral practices likely indicate underlying social structures supporting low-carbon transitions.  This idea will be examined by looking at the types of strategies the organizations adopt in response to the carbon neutral mandate.  Two questions will be explored: (1) What types of carbon neutral practices did the organization consider or adopt in response to the Carbon 37  Neutral Public Sector mandate?; and (2) Are there patterns in the types of carbon neutral strategies that organizations consider or adopt across the organizational field?  4.2 Methods 4.2.1 Data collected To explore patterns in the types of carbon neutral practices considered or adopted by organizations, this analysis used data from the annual Carbon Neutral Action Report produced by each organization.  These reports are publicly available via the BC Government’s climate action website (Government of British Columbia, 2016a), and a random selection of these reports was independently audited by the Auditor General in 2013 (BC Auditor General, 2013). Reports from three time periods were used to look at the emergence of the field:   2008: The year the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate was introduced, and the first year organizations were required to report on their adoption of carbon neutral strategies;   2010: The first year where organizations had to report on their emissions, pay for offsets, and become carbon neutral; and   2012: Two years post carbon neutrality. A total of 115 organizations produced reports over all three years (those that were in existence for all three time periods), and data from these reports were used in the final analysis.  38  The core information studied in the annual reports was the strategies for carbon neutrality discussed by each organization. These strategies represent actions the organizations had taken in response to the mandate, and actions they were considering but had not yet undertaken. In many cases, it wasn’t possible to discern from the reports whether organizations had actually enacted an idea or had just considered it. Therefore, this analysis included practices at all stages of enactment from planning to execution. It should also be noted that this analysis includes only reported practices – it is quite plausible that organizations adopted strategies that that they did not report in a given year (e.g. because they did not consider them part of their “carbon neutral” mandate). Thus, the object of analysis here is what organizations consider to be appropriate carbon neutral strategies (in terms of reporting), not their actual behaviour.  Strategies were identified and coded from the reports using an iterative process. First, all of the different strategies for achieving carbon neutrality were coded from the annual reports using an “open coding” approach (Bernard & Ryan, 2009; Mason, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 2007), aided by the qualitative research software package NVivo 10 (QSR, 2012). Because the focus of this analysis was common strategies, rather than discourses, practices that were conceptually similar but expressed in slightly different ways were grouped together (for example, where organizations referred to “building envelope” versus “building insulation” retrofits to describe efforts to reduce heat loss). Overlap was identified in many cases by the fact that some organizations discussed the same strategy in different ways across their annual reports. As a second step, to reduce the overall number of strategies for further analysis, clusters of similar strategies were grouped together (for example, all coding 39  relating to purchasing paper of various recycled content percentages was grouped and categorized as “purchasing recycled paper”). Where similar strategies were grouped, the individual strategies were included as examples in the description of practices to maintain transparency about how coded strategies were categorized. This generated a total of 75 different practices that were used in further analysis (see Table 2).  4.2.2 Analysis technique To explore patterns in carbon neutral practices within the organizational field, network analysis techniques were used to examine common practices between organizations (Borgatti & Everett, 1997; Wasserman & Faust, 1994). This approach allows the examination of co-occurrence of practices, namely whether organizations are considering or adopting similar or dissimilar approaches to meeting the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate (this approach is similar to methods used to discuss climate discourse networks, see for example Fisher, Leifeld, & Iwaki, 2013). To examine co-occurrence of practices, the carbon neutral practice data was turned into a two-mode affiliation matrix (i.e. a table that lists organizations as rows, and practices as columns), aided by the matrix export function in NVivo 10 (QSR, 2012). The affiliation matrix was dichotomized, so it represented whether or not organizations had discussed particular strategies in their Carbon Neutral Action Reports, rather than the number of times they discussed practices in their CNAR. The rectangular two-mode matrix was turned into a square one-mode matrix (organizations x organizations), using the software package UCINet (Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002).  This co-occurrence matrix represented the number of strategies that each of the organizations in the Carbon Neutral Public Sector commonly discussed in their annual 40  reports for each year (2008, -10, and -12) and for all three years combined. For example, if two organizations both discussed purchasing electric vehicles, the co-occurrence matrix would show a 1, if only one or neither organization had considered electric vehicles, it would result in a zero in a given cell (because there was no “common” practice).  The co-occurrence matrix for each year (2008, 2010, and 2012) was turned into a network diagram (Figure 3), using the software package NetDraw (Borgatti, 2002). This allowed visual representation of how many shared practices organizations held in common with other public sector organizations. Each matrix was visualized as an un-directed, weighted matrix. Nodes in the diagram represent each organization that produced an annual Carbon Action Report every year over the five year study period (N=115 organizations).  Nodes were scaled so that they represented whether the organization was a small, medium or large greenhouse gas emitter (<1,000 tonnes; 1,000-9,999 tonnes; and >10,000 tonnes of CO2e respectively – based on 2010 GHG emissions data). Ties in the diagram represent common carbon neutral practices between organizations.  Ties were coloured so that darker lines represent greater co-occurrence of carbon neutral practices. Nodes were placed within the diagram using iterative multi-dimensional scaling of the 2010 matrix data, so that organizations with a greater number of common practices were more central in the diagram. Nodes were held constant in 2010 positions (the first year of emissions reporting) to enable easier comparison of increases and decreases in the number of common practices between organizations over the 2008-2012 period when the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate was introduced.   41  In sum, this network approach allows a chart to be drawn that illustrates how many shared practices organizations had considered or adopted from year to year, with organization with more shared practices placed more centrally in the diagram (Figure 3). By comparing these diagrams across different years, we can see whether the number of shared practices is increasing or decreasing over time as the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate unfolds, and to what extent organizations have similar responses to the mandate.  Finally, to examine the relationship between practices and organizational greenhouse gas emissions, two forms of correlation analysis were conducted. First, a Spearman’s rho correlation was conducted to examine the relationship between 2010 GHG emissions and the number of practices adopted by each organization. Second, a quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) correlation was conducted looking at the relationship between the similarity of practices (using the one-mode co-occurrence matrix of all three-years practices combined, as described above) and the similarity of organization’s GHG emissions (reshaped into a similarity matrix using the identify coefficient function in UCINet, using logged 2010 GHG data). QAP correlation is a technique for looking at correlation of ties across multiple matrices; it is particularly well-suited for relational data where observations are not independent (Borgatti, Everett, & Johnson, 2013). In this case, it allows examination of whether organizations with a similar emissions profile tend to adopt similar carbon neutral practices. QAP correlation was also used to examine whether patterns of shared practices were similar over time.  42  4.3 Findings 4.3.1 Types of carbon neutral practices considered or adopted Before examining co-occurrence of practices, it is necessary to first describe the types of practices organizations considered or adopted over the first five years of the mandate. Organizations reported planning or adopting a wide range of practices to achieve carbon neutrality. Seventy-five clusters of similar practices were discovered, which were grouped into five categories: (1) stationary energy consumption (building energy management, building occupant behaviour, IT energy management); (2) mobile fuel consumption (fleet, business travel, and commuting); (3) paper consumption; (4) engagement and awareness raising efforts; and (5) an “additional actions” category that encompassed a variety of remaining sustainability actions (including reducing waste, procurement, climate change adaptation and water conservation) (Table 2). The practice of offsetting was not included in this list, as this was a regulatory requirement of all organizations, and organizations were not typically involved in the design of carbon-reducing strategies by offset providers. The reported practices align to some extent with the key sources of greenhouse gas emissions by organizations: in 2010 stationary energy accounted for 77.4% of reported public sector emissions, mobile fuel consumption accounted for 19%, and paper consumption accounted for 2.4% (Government of British Columbia, 2010b).  Under the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, organizations were required to report and offset emissions from their vehicle use, buildings energy use, and paper consumption. For this reason, we see a large number of strategies being adopted relating to these three areas, 43  such as building retrofits, replacing vehicles with more efficient alternatives, and efforts to conduct more business electronically to reduce paper use.   However, organizations didn’t necessarily limit their endeavours to strategies that would have a measurable impact on their carbon emissions. Many practices discussed in CNARs related to “out-of-scope” emissions; for instance, encouraging staff to commute via public transport or bicycle to reduce carbon emissions. These actions do not impact reportable emissions under the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, because they are beyond the scope of reporting requirements, but they should (if effectively implemented) contribute to broader efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.    Likewise, a number of strategies were adopted that contribute to sustainability more broadly, but do not directly impact organizational emissions.  These include planning for the impacts of climate change (adaptation), working to reduce water consumption and waste outputs, and purchasing more environmentally friendly products and services. Table 2 provides a full breakdown of the practices adopted by organizations, that was used in the subsequent analysis. 44  Table 2: Carbon neutral practices discussed in the 2008-2012 Annual CNARs (continued overleaf)  Stationary Energy Use (Buildings) Building energy management  Developing systems to measure and monitor building energy use, including energy baselines, audits, density targets, installing energy and gas meters, and providing energy dashboards for building users  Reducing or optimizing office space, including reducing office space per employee, and decommissioning unused and inefficient buildings  Incorporating refrigerant management into maintenance to reduce fugitive emissions  Pursuing green certifications and design initiatives for new and existing buildings, such as LEED certifications, BOMA BESt, the Living Building Challenge, Net Zero buildings, integrated and regenerative design  Using lifecycle costing for new construction or renovations  Leased building energy management, including green lease policies  Building energy efficient new buildings  Undertaking energy efficient retrofits on existing buildings  Mechanical (Heating, Ventilation, Air Condition) system retrofits  Lighting systems retrofits  Control system retrofits  Improving building insulation (including using new technologies such as low-e paints, and solar air walls)  Renewable energy generation (e.g. solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, wind, biomass)  District energy systems  Using more efficient appliances in buildings (e.g. hand dryers, lamps, under desk heaters, smart power bars, energy efficient laundries) Building occupant behaviour  Encouraging staff to turn off lights, appliances, and computing equipment when not in use, including providing power bars to help switch off equipment, and using reminder stickers and messages  Encouraging actions that reduce heating demands, such as closing blinds, putting on sweater or blanket, and keeping external doors closed  Using “workstation tune ups” to help staff understand how they can reduce energy use  Enacting strategies to reduce energy use outside of regular business hours  Encouraging the use of stairs instead of the elevator  Encouraging efficient use of dishwashers, such as running only when full and using air dry settings  Encouraging hot water conservation IT energy management  Utilizing power management settings on computers and peripherals, such as automatically turning them off or to sleep when not in use  Virtualizing IT systems, through the use of virtualized servers and PCs  Reducing the use of stand-alone print and fax machines, through the use of centralized services and multifunction devices  Replacing computer hardware with energy efficient models (Energy Star, Thin Client) Mobile Fuel Consumption (Fleet, Business Travel, Commuting) Improving fuel efficiency  Purchasing or replacing vehicles with more fuel efficient options (incl. hybrids), or smaller-sized options (right sizing)  Using alternative fuels (e.g. biodiesel, propane, hydrogen fuel cells)  Electrifying fleet vehicles, by purchasing electric cars, carts, bicycles and/or installing electric vehicle infrastructure (e.g. charging stations)  Fleet maintenance and efficiency retrofits to existing vehicles, including tools to monitor driving and fuel use (e.g. telematics technologies)  Retiring vehicles and reducing overall fleet size  Reducing fuel use for yard maintenance through altered maintenance schedules, greater use of manual labour, or electrical equipment  Anti-idling policies and programs  Training drivers in efficient driving techniques Encouraging green business travel and commuting  Green travel awareness initiatives, where staff are encouraged to use alternatives forms of transit for meetings, and choose low carbon commuting options  Encouraging staff to carpool to meetings and work, for example by providing ride matching tools and incentives (e.g. car parking spaces)  Allowing for alterations to work timetables to reduce travel, such as allowing compressed work weeks, and staggered start times  Providing facilities to encourage bicycling, such as showers, lockers, tools, and bicycle parking  Incentivising public transportation use (e.g. providing tickets for business travel, or subsidised transit passes)  Modifying parking fees or parking availability  Developing travel reduction policies or goals, including transportation surveys and tracking to better understand travel patterns Virtual attendance at work, meetings and events  Encouraging virtual attendance at events  Installing web- and video-conferencing software and equipment, and training staff to use it  Allowing staff to work remotely (telework)   45  Table 2 (cont.): Carbon neutral practices discussed in the 2008-2012 Annual CNARs  Paper Supplies Purchasing recycled paper or alternative paper sources  Purchasing recycled paper (30%, 40%, or 100% recycled paper)  Purchasing alternative or certified paper (e.g. tree free paper, FSC certified paper, thinner paper stock) Using electronic media in place of paper  Setting up electronic editing, filing, billing and payroll systems, and training staff to use these systems  Posting materials online that are usually printed and distributed (e.g. newsletters, course packs)  Providing devices to encourage electronic media use (e.g. laptops, tablets, USB sticks, smartboards) Changing printing services and practices  Encouraging or automating double-sided printing  Reducing margins on document templates  Using “hold printing” settings to eliminate unclaimed print jobs  Monitoring printing Encouraging reduced paper use  Paper use awareness initiatives (e.g. holding paper-less meetings and presentations, paper-less offices, “cut the paper” campaigns, stopping unnecessary mailings and faxes)  Encouraging paper re-use (e.g. collecting single-sided non-confidential paper, making reused paper notebooks)  Restructuring processes to use less paper Awareness and Engagement Recognition, professional development, and team building  Adding green options into employee performance measurement systems  Supporting green professional development  Creating green awards, badges, pledges and contests to recognize and reward carbon neutral actions by staff  Developing internal networks and teams to work on carbon neutral initiatives, and providing resources and support for these teams  Providing behaviour change training to internal teams (e.g. community based social marketing – see McKenzie-Mohr & Smith, 1999) Education and outreach  Providing education to staff about the science of climate change  Providing education about to staff about the conservation of water, energy and raw materials  Providing sustainability education during new staff orientation  Providing “green tips” on website, newsletters, social media  Creating branding for green initiatives to increase recognition  Holding contests to generate ideas to reduce carbon emissions  Involving students in carbon neutral activities, and integrating carbon neutrality into curriculum (for organizations with a student population)  External outreach to public or clients about carbon neutrality Additional Sustainability Actions Climate change adaptation  Assessing impacts of extreme weather and long term climate change on organization’s business areas, and integrating climate change adaptation into organization decision making Waste diversion and reduction  Efforts to reduce waste, including waste auditing, recycling, composting, bottled water refilling, reuse and diversion of building materials (including furniture), and hazardous waste management Water management and conservation  Efforts to reduce water use and manage water impacts, including water audits, water efficient retrofits, potable water management, storm water management, rainwater harvesting, and water sensitive landscaping Procurement (non-paper)  Efforts to green all non-paper purchasing, including green purchasing standards, recycled content standards, “cradle-to-cradle” goods, green cleaning and laundering, and low carbon contracting standards Indoor air quality  Efforts to improve indoor air quality, such as using low VOC products, and enforcing a “scent-free” policy Food and gardens  Planting food gardens, community gardens, creating green spaces (including green roofs), planting trees, and purchasing organic, sustainable or fair trade food   46  4.3.2 Patterns in the types of practices considered or adopted This research found that many of the practices outlined in Table 2 were commonly considered or adopted by organizations.  More than 60% of organizations reported adopting or considering at least three-quarters of the practices listed in Table 2.  Actions considered or adopted by more than 90% of public sector organizations included: the development of energy monitoring systems; building retrofits (such as lighting mechanical, and control systems); virtualizing computer servers; purchasing more efficient computers; purchasing recycled paper; reminding staff to turn off lights and appliances; and paper reduction initiatives (such as paper use awareness campaigns, and putting documents and correspondence online).  A small number of practices were considered or adopted by less than 20% of organizations – these tended to be strategies that were ambitious and capital intensive (such as implementing a district-wide energy system), or riskier bets on new technologies (such as tree free paper, or purchasing electric vehicles). Organizations with a larger GHG footprint tended to adopt more practices from the list in Table 2 than those with a smaller GHG footprint (rs = 0.53; p ≤ 0.001). This is to be expected, given that organizations with larger GHG emissions have a greater incentive to reduce emissions (due to higher offset costs), and a wider variety of sources of emissions that require mitigation through the practices listed in Table 2.  The types of practices reported upon by organizations didn’t necessarily stay constant over time. Figure 2 shows that while some carbon neutral responses remained at the forefront for organizations over the whole five-year period studied, others became more or less prominent as climate solutions. Unsurprisingly, given their key role in the carbon neutral 47  mandate, paper reduction, stationary energy management (buildings), and mobile fuel (fleet) consumption all remained key strategies over the five-year period (though there was variance in the specific choice of approaches under each of these categories). Of particular note is the growth in interest in climate adaptation over time. In 2008-2010, few organizations reported on climate adaptation activities, whereas by 2012, sixty-five percent of organizations reported at least considering climate adaptation alongside their carbon neutral planning. This shows that new practices can enter the field and quickly be adopted by a large number of organizations.   Figure 2: Percentage of organizations reporting different types of carbon neutral practices over time (2008-12) Note: Based on practices reported in annual CNARs. Percentages represent all practices in aggregate listed under given category name in Table 2. N=115 organizations that produced reports every year over the five-year period.  Stationary energyMobile fuelPaperAwareness &engagementClimate adaptationWaste reductionWater conservationProcurementIndoor air qualityFood and gardens0204060801002008 2010 2012% of organizations reporting practicesYear48  To demonstrate the extent to which organizations are adopting the same types of practices, network analysis techniques were used to look at the co-occurrence of practices (Figure 3). This analysis shows that the number of shared practices increased amongst organizations over time. Organizations (shown as circles on the diagram) with more shared practices are more central in the diagram, and darker lines connecting organizations represent a greater number of shared practices (the darkest lines representing more that 40 of the 75 practices outlined in Table 2 were shared in common by an organization, or greater than 50%). Figure 3 shows that over the first five years of the carbon neutral program, organizations adopted a large number of similar practices, and this similarity of response to the mandate increases over time. This finding was supported by a comparison of each year’s shared practice matrix using QAP correlation, which showed increasing correlation of shared practices over time (2008/2010 r = 0.48; 2010/2012 r = 0.57; p < 0.001).  Organizations with larger GHG footprints (represented by larger circles) tend to be more central Figure 3, because they adopt a larger number of practices in common with other organizations. This finding was also supported by a QAP correlation comparing a matrix of shared practices with a matrix representing similarity of GHG emissions, which demonstrated that organizations with similar-sized carbon footprints tend to report similar sets of practices (r = 0.58; p ≤ 0.001).49             2008: Mandatory annual reporting of carbon neutral actions begins.               2010: Organizations must achieve carbon neutrality.                2012: Two years post carbon neutrality.   Figure 3: Co-occurrence of carbon neutral strategies discussed in CNARs Note: Nodes represent organizations, and ties represent common strategies. Node placement is based on similarity of strategies (organizations with greater co-occurrence of strategies are more central in the diagram), calculated using non-metric multi-dimensional scaling of 2010 data. N=115 organizations that produced reports every year over the five-year period. KEY:  Org. GHG Emissions: < 1000 tonnes 1000-9999 tonnes > 10 000 tonnes  Ties: 2-20 common practices 21-40 common practices >40 common practices 50  In sum, we can see that there is a large amount of co-occurrence of practices between organizations bound by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. Organizations considered or adopted a variety of strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, but more often than not, they tended do so in concert with others in the field.  4.4. Discussion This study shows that the organizations bound by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate quickly came to a common understanding of what the practical expression of carbon neutrality involved. Within five years of the policy introduction, and three years of the requirement to become carbon neutral, organizations were considering or adopting a large number of similar strategies in response to the legislative requirement to reduce their carbon emissions. This indicates that the organizations are not acting independently, but rather they are acting in congruence with others in the organizational field to reduce carbon emissions.  This finding is aligned with early theories on organizational behaviour within fields that posited that organizations within a field tend towards isomorphism over time (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). In this study, we see that organizations begin adopting similar strategies almost immediately when the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate is introduced, and the co-occurrence of strategies increases within the first few years of the field emerging. A key contribution of this work is demonstrating that this process of isomorphism can occur relatively rapidly in the context of a newly emerging field.  51  Why did this organizational field come to a common understanding of carbon neutral practices so quickly? Theories of field dynamics may help to explain the isomorphism of responses to the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. As discussed in the introduction to this thesis, DiMaggio and Powell (1983) proposed three key mechanisms that lead organizations to align their actions with their organizational field. Coercive, mimetic, and normative forces within organizational fields all exert pressure on organizations to adopt similar responses to a situation. Previous work on organizational field-level responses to environmental issues has found that the introduction of regulation has been an important coercive force underpinning the adoption of recycling programs (Lounsbury, 2001) and environmental management programs (Hoffman, 1999). Additionally, research has shown that organizations tend to mimic the environmental strategies of their peers (Bansal, 2005; Lounsbury, 2001). Thus, as we might expect, similar pressures influence the adoption of carbon neutral strategies.  In this case, it is clear that coercive pressures from the government are at play in determining the types of strategies organizations adopt. While the government did not prescribe strategies for achieving emissions reductions in the Carbon Neutral Public Sector regulations (Government of British Columbia, 2008), they provided ample suggestions through other channels about what carbon neutrality should involve. Online reporting tools for annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports outlined possible strategies for emissions reduction and sustainability actions more broadly (Government of British Columbia, 2016a), and annual reviews of reports reinforced appropriate responses to the mandate (Government of British Columbia, 2010b, 2012). For organizations in the field that were 52  uncertain about the required actions to achieve carbon neutrality, these cues from the government provided guidance about how they should meet legislative requirements. Normative and mimetic forces also influenced strategy adoption.  In the survey of Carbon Neutral Managers discussed in the previous chapter, several organizations reported that they looked at other organizations Carbon Neutral Action Reports to see what comparable organizations were doing to achieve carbon neutrality, thus following the lead of their peers.  For this reason, we see the similarity of strategies increasing over time.   What this analysis does not tell us is how effective the strategies considered or adopted by organizations might be at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is often challenging to predict in all cases what the impacts of a given climate change strategy might be. This is because it can be tricky to map all of the lifecycle impacts of given green products (e.g. an electric vehicle is only greener than a petroleum-fueled vehicle if the electricity used to power it comes from a cleaner source). It is also difficult to predict behavioural and economic responses to new policies. For instance, York (2006, 2012) has shown through studies of paperless office programs and renewable energy infrastructure projects, that paradoxically sometimes efficiency programs can lead to an increase in resource consumption. Thus, it is challenging to say whether the policies considered here will ultimately be effective in meeting the Provincial carbon neutral goals. Over a longer time-frame than examined here it may be possible to determine the relative efficacy of different strategies in reducing emissions. The question of how effective these strategies have been in reducing emissions could be examined in future research.  53  In the context of this uncertainty, it is unsurprising that organizations look to cues in their institutional environment for how they should respond to the carbon neutral mandate. This may, however, lead to policies being adopted for symbolic reasons (i.e. because organizations want to be seen undertaking actions others deem appropriate for achieving carbon neutrality), rather than because given practices are effective at reducing emissions. Further research and analysis is needed to explore how the field level pressures towards isomorphism described here may lead to organizations adopting practices that are symbolic rather than effective.  Critics of early work on isomorphism in organizational fields have argued that the idea that organizations are bound by coercive, mimetic and normative forces belies the complexity and dynamic nature of organizational fields (Fligstein & McAdam, 2012; Hoffman, 2001).  This analysis has demonstrated that the organizations bound by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate are acting as a field, following similar patterns of practices to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality. However, while this analysis has discussed some of the reasons why organizations adopt similar strategies, it provides little insight about from where these strategies emerge, the cultural factors that lead organizations to accept these strategies as the correct response to carbon neutral imperatives, and the broader networks and communities that all of these organizations are embedded in that supports their action on climate change.   The analysis to this point has not yet shed light on the cultural and social dynamics within the field that influence organizational decision making. The remainder of this dissertation will attend to this task.  In the following chapter (“5: The Institutional Logics Underpinning 54  Carbon Neutral Practices”), I will explore the underlying assumptions, values and belief systems that exist within the organizational field shaping carbon neutral action.  In chapter 6 (“The Broader Network of Carbon Neutral Actors”), I will look beyond the core group of public sector organizations analysed in this chapter to see who else is in the organizational field playing a role in shaping field dynamic action.  This will provide insight into the complex picture of from where carbon neutral practices emerge, and will help to explain why we see a convergence of strategies over time.  55  5. The Institutional Logics Underpinning Carbon Neutral Practices 5.1 Introduction When faced with the threat of climate change, organizations can respond in a variety of ways.  Some organizations deny or ignore the issue, and in extreme cases, work to actively discredit efforts to tackle climate change (Dunlap & McCright, 2011); whereas others see climate change as a clear challenge for society, and view action on climate change as a core organizational responsibility (Hoffman, 2007). Indeed, even within the same industry, organizations vary on a continuum from “leaders” to “laggards” on environmental issues such as climate change (Herremans, Herschovis, & Bertels, 2009).   One explanation for divergent organizational responses is that climate change is as much a cultural issue as it is a physical reality (Hoffman, 2010, 2015). Organizations work under a set of assumptions, beliefs and value systems, known as institutional logics, which shape how they understand the problem, and how they view potential solutions (Friedland & Alford, 1991; Thornton et al., 2012).  Institutional logics vary within and between organizational fields, and heterogeneous responses to climate change can be explained in part by the presence of multiple institutional logics guiding differential responses to environmental imperatives (Herremans et al., 2009).  This chapter examines the institutional logics that underpin organizational responses to the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative.  An introduction to the institutional logics perspective is provided, including a discussion of the way multiple logics in a field influence organizational action.  Logics are then examined through a qualitative study of the 56  assumptions underlying carbon neutral practices in the BC public sector. By examining logics, this work offers a cultural perspective on why we see the convergence of carbon neutral strategies (as outlined in the previous chapter).  Organizations are not simply bound by coercive, mimetic and normative forces in an organizational field. Rather, organizations mutually create and respond to a rich set of logics that drive climate action.  5.1.1 An institutional logics perspective The idea of institutional logics was popularized by Friedland and Alford (1991), who identified that central institutions in society (such as the state, market, religion, and families) are each guided by particular logics, and these logics in turn shape cognition and behaviour of individuals and organizations within them.  Logics can be defined as the “supraorganizational patterns of activity rooted in material practices and symbolic systems by which individuals and organizations produce and reproduce their material lives and render their experiences meaningful" (Thornton & Ocasio, 2008, p. 101; based on Friedland and Alford 1991).  Logics influence individual and organizational action in a number of ways: they help form collective identities within groups; they shape the “rules of the game”, thus influencing power dynamics and hierarchies; they guide cognition, by defining how things are classified and categorized; and they focus the attention of decision-makers on particular issues and solutions (Thornton & Ocasio, 2008). Institutional logics provide the belief systems that guide or constrain action within an organizational field.  Institutional logics operate at multiple levels.  At a societal level, logics manifest themselves within different major institutional domains: families, communities, religions, 57  the bureaucratized state, the market, professions, and corporations (Thornton et al., 2012).  Logics also exist within organizations and fields, and are often drawn from or influenced by broader societal level logics (Thornton, 2002).  5.1.2 The influence of multiple institutional logics within organizational fields Multiple logics can exist simultaneously within institutional domains.  Recently, scholars have paid particular attention to how individuals, organizations, and fields grapple with a multiplicity of logics (Besharov & Smith, 2013).  In some cases, one particular logic dominates and guides cognition and behaviour (Hills, Voronov, & Hinings, 2013).  In other situations multiple logics conflict and compete, leading to heterogeneity in practices (Lounsbury, 2007).  As a third alternative, multiple logics align and together provide a coherent basis for action (Greenwood & Suddaby, 2006).  Besharov and Smith (2013) created a model that helps to explain the different outcomes of multiple logics within an organizational field. They suggest that the extent to which logics conflict or cohere depends on two factors: logic compatibility, the extent to which logics are consistent with existing goals; and logic centrality, the degree to which a logic is core to organizational functioning. Besharov and Smith’s (2013) model reinforces several important points about logics in organizational fields.  First, organizational fields with more interdependencies and clear goals (which can be reinforced through organizations such as professional bodies) are more likely to adhere to coherent or dominant logics, because they are more likely to find compatibility.  Second, field structure and power dynamics among field actors can influence logics and associated practices – whether or not a logic is seen as 58  central to core functioning depends in part on the power, position and resources of the actors that promulgate the logics.  5.1.3 Institutional logics and environmental practices Of relevance for this work, several studies have looked at the types of logics that underlie environmental practices, and the way multiple logics interact to shape environmental action by organizations. Lounsbury, Geraci, and Waismel-Manor (2002) demonstrated that the dominance of a market-efficiency logic in the 1970s led to the centralization of the waste-management field around a particular set of practices (specifically sanitary landfilling and incineration). They argue that other logics existed during this period that would have incited different environmental policies (for instance, a central-governmental logic that would have prioritizing recycling), but that the dominant logic shaped discourse around policy-making, limiting consideration of alternative practices.   Lounsbury, Geraci, and Waismel-Manor (2002) also highlight the fact that some actors within a field have more power, and use this power to maintain dominant logics - as was the case with the waste management industry that worked to reinforce a market logic. This was emphasised further by Misutka et al. (2013), who outline tactics undertaken by organizations to retrench logics (such as coopting local groups, or deliberately slowing down or clogging up democratic processes), specifically to limit environmental regulations in the oil industry.  Likewise, Herremans, Herchovis and Bertels (2009) examined how organizations in the petroleum industry responded to a changing societal-level logic that called for improved environmental performance.  They found that divergent responses to the 59  logic of corporate environmentalism (where organizations responded to logics calling them to be “leaders” or “laggards” on environmental protection) were the result of different stakeholder pressures. These various studies highlight the importance of looking at the composition and dynamics of the organizational field, and how this shapes environmental logics and practices.  With regards to climate change and carbon neutrality, Knox-Hayes and Levy (2011) examined logics around carbon disclosure by organizations, and found two competing logics. Under a “civic regulation logic”, organizations pursue carbon measurement and reporting to increase transparency and accountability for environmental impact.  A “corporate environmental performance logic” argues organizational action should be based on improving energy management and reducing risks.  The two logics lead to different policy trajectories – the former favouring external carbon disclosure and regulation to meet societal goals, and the latter favouring policies that aid organizational performance.  These studies emphasise the role that logics play in shaping voluntary environmental action, highlighting the fact that dominant logics lead to particular environmental policies being favoured. This work will move beyond policy development to implementation, looking at how logics shape practices after a policy is enacted. For organizations in the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate, the question is no longer “should we do this?” for reasons of civic accountability or corporate improvement, but rather, “what should we do?” since the government is now requiring a climate response. The goal of this chapter is to understand what logics guide organizational responses and cognition of the policy. 60   Specifically, this study seeks to answer the question: What institutional logics exist within the organizational field that underpin carbon neutrality?  Additionally, given that multiple logics were ultimately identified in this study, I also asked the question: How do organizations balance the multiple logics underlying carbon neutrality?   5.2 Methods 5.2.1 Data collected To identify institutional logics I examined the various ways organizations justified their choice of carbon neutral practices.  Specifically, I used a qualitative, grounded approach to discover the logics that underpin carbon neutral practices.  A mixed-method strategy was employed, drawing qualitative data from two sources: (1) the introductory statements from annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports (CNARs) for the years 2008, -10 and -12 (document analysis previously described in section 2.1); and (2) questions from the survey of carbon neutral program managers regarding the reasons why certain practices were or were not chosen (Questions 9a-e Appendix 2; survey previously described in section 2.2).    The introductory section of each CNAR contained a description of each organization’s progress towards carbon neutrality for the year, and outlined overarching reasons for pursuing carbon neutral strategies. For the purposes of identifying logics, all mentions of rationale for pursuing carbon neutrality were coded from CNARs further analysis.   61  To complement the information about overarching logics gathered from CNARs, the survey of program managers was used to gain information about the logics underpinning specific carbon neutral strategies. Program managers were asked why they did (or did not) adopt four practices: (1) purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle; (2) building a LEED (green-building council certified) building; (3) switching networked printer settings to double-sided to save paper; and (4) placing reminder stickers near switches to remind staff to turn off lights and appliances. These practices were chosen for three reasons. First, from the document analysis of carbon neutral practices it was evident that they had been considered by at least half of the population of organizations, thus were prevalent enough that they would generate adequate data on the rationale behind practice adoption.  Second, they encompassed all three key areas of emissions reported in CNARs (stationary energy, mobile fuel use, and paper).  Finally, they encompassed both behavioural and technical approaches to reducing emissions, and they vary in terms of required effort and cost to the organizations, enabling the generation of data on logics underpinning a diverse set of practices.  In addition to these four practices, a fifth question was included to cover practices that are less commonly adopted by organizations. Novel practices can represent a shift from existing institutional arrangements to new logics (Smets et al., 2012), so it was important to include a question capturing these practices in addition to the more general practices outlined above. Survey participants each received one of 13 possible questions asking about a carbon neutral strategy that they had adopted that was less common in the broader pool of practices (Appendix 2; Question 9e). Varying questions were made possible using the “collector 62  strategy” function in Fluid Surveys, which allows the question to change for pre-specified groups of respondents (FluidSurveys, 2015). The strategies included were chosen to represent less frequently adopted practices, based on the analysis described in Chapter 4 (typically this was strategies adopted by <10% of organizations, though because some organizations had not adopted any rare strategies some more common choices were included – see Appendix 2 for the full list of survey questions).  This approach elicited qualitative information about the rationale behind adoption of a range of less commonly considered strategies, while also limiting the survey time burden on participants because each organization was asked only one question.  From the CNARs and survey data, information was captured about the overarching rationale for carbon neutrality, and about justifications for the choice of specific carbon neutral strategies.  These data were used to explore the logics underpinning carbon neutrality.  5.2.2 Analysis technique An iterative, inductive approach was taken to identifying logics from the qualitative data (Bernard & Ryan, 2009; Mason, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 2007). Data analysis was aided by the qualitative research software package NVivo 10 (QSR, 2012).  As a first step, all CNARs and survey responses were coded to identify any sections of text where justifications for carbon neutrality or the choice of particular strategies were mentioned. This data were then grouped into themes, by coding text where similar explanations were expressed into common categories. These themes were given descriptive labels that represent the logics of carbon neutrality outlined in the findings below. This approach is 63  consistent with previous work identifying institutional logics (see for example: Herremans et al., 2009; Lazer, Mergel, Ziniel, Esterling, & Neblo, 2011).  Descriptive quotes are provided in the results to illustrate logics. Quotes are labelled with organizational sector and researcher case number in order to maintain respondent confidentiality.  5.3 Findings Five overarching logics were identified that drive the types of strategies that organizations choose to adopt: efficiency, compliance, leadership, responsibility, and a set of interrelated logics best described as co-benefits.  These logics will each be articulated in turn, before discussing the balance of these multiple logics in decision-making.  5.3.1 The logics underpinning practice adoption  Efficiency The most commonly espoused rationale for the choice of carbon neutral strategies relates to efficiency.  Under an efficiency logic, strategies are chosen for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in turn reduce the financial liabilities for the organization.  The efficiency logic provides a simple heuristic to determining whether a particular strategy should be pursued based on potential emissions and cost reductions, as several survey respondents illustrated: “Paper reduction = cost savings, reduced carbon footprint” [K-12 Education Sector #18] 64  “We adopted this strategy as it was a low cost measure that reduces energy. Using resources for no reason (i.e. leaving lights on when no one is in the room) is the first place to look for savings.” [Health Sector #91] “Saving energy equates to saving money and reducing carbon emissions.” [K-12 Education Sector #15] “There are greater savings from reduced energy costs. This is a bigger driver than avoiding the carbon offset costs.” [Crown Corporation #97] Within this framework, strategies that are the most efficient - in terms of reducing greenhouse gases at the lowest cost - are the most desirable.  Costs are cut through a combination of reduction in resource use (e.g. lower energy costs), and a reduction in offset payments.  The design of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative helped to reinforce the efficiency logic. Organizations were encouraged to track their resource use (for example, monitoring the amount of paper purchased, or electricity used in a given period), using either the BC Government’s “SmartTool” (Government of British Columbia, 2016d), or similar technologies to collect and analyse data.  This provided a mechanism for determining the potential impact of a given strategy on emissions and organizational budgets.  Furthermore, the charge of $25/tonne for offsets gave an added financial incentive for organizations to cut emissions.  Thus, from the inception of the program organizations were thinking about strategies in terms of the possible emissions and cost reductions they might achieve. 65   One challenge of adhering to an efficiency logic is that organizations are often working with incomplete information about the impact of carbon neutral strategies. In some cases, the efficiency calculus is simple – for example, using less paper reduces both emissions and the amount of money spent on office supplies.  In many situations, however, assumptions have to be made about the potential costs and benefits of strategies: How will a new type of vehicle perform? How will staff respond to an education program? Will the cost of a new technology be reduced in the future?  Organizations have to rely on best estimates to evaluate efficiency, and estimates don’t always reflect reality. This is evidenced in the way some survey respondents discussed the outcomes of strategies. For instance, one program manager explained how they chose a more efficient vehicle, but underestimated the cost involved and had to reverse their decision:  “We purchased a hybrid school bus 4 years ago, but had to remove it from the fleet 2 years ago, due to high cost of ownership”.  [K-12 Education Sector #1] Decisions made using an efficiency logic rely on complete information about costs and benefits that may not be available for many new carbon neutral technologies.  Efficiency can be a helpful logic for thinking about the most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions, but may not necessarily provide guidance for all decision-making. For this reason, a number of other logics also influence organizational approaches to carbon neutrality.   66   Compliance An alternative logic that was regularly factored into decision-making was compliance with rules and regulations. This was explained in simple terms by one survey respondent:   “Bill 44 is the law. PSOs must follow Provincial Governance.”   [K-12 Education Sector #10]  Obviously, compliance with the Carbon Neutral Public Sector legislation influenced many of the approaches these organizations took to reduce their carbon footprint, but this is not the only regulation shaping strategy choice. For example, the Ministry of Education enacted a policy that new school buildings need to be constructed to LEED (green building council) certification standards: “We were “required" to do so, due to Provincial funding.” [K-12 Education Sector #1] “It's mandatory when building new schools, part of the Ministry of Education policy.” [K-12 Education Sector #14] Compliance with a range of policies applied by funding bodies and other partners influences organizational decision-making.  One challenge associated with following a logic of compliance is that it may lead to strategies being adopted ceremonially to demonstrate compliance, rather than because they are an appropriate tool to achieve carbon neutrality. For instance, one respondent noted that 67  his organization had purchased a hybrid vehicle so that the energy manager could be seen driving it: “Optics - our Energy Manager drives a hybrid.” [K-12 Education Sector #17] In the case of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative, ceremonial achievement of carbon neutrality is also supported by the ability to reach goals by offsetting emissions: “It is not possible to eliminate our GHG emissions. Carbon neutrality can only be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets” [K-12 Education Sector #5] “Gets us thinking about it but mentality = easiest and cheaper to just buy offsets” [Post-secondary Education Sector #61] A compliance logic may lead organizations to give the appearance of environmental concern without meaningful environmental improvement.  However, compliance can also be seen in a positive light. Adhering to the rules of the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative keeps organizations accountable to their carbon reduction goals, as several respondents noted: “Participation in the CNPS is an effective way of keeping us accountable to the goals we have set. Without this accountability we could easily let things slide.” [Crown Corporation #98] “Bill 44 gives us a push in the direction we already want to go but it also provides us with direction, financial incentives (reduced offset payments, CNCP program) and positive exposure” 68  [Post-secondary Education Sector #75] “Government policy and legislation can be a powerful thing, and provides additional justification for our sustainability initiatives/priorities.” [Post-secondary Education Sector #62] “It is an easier sell if there is legislation behind it.” [Crown Corporation #104] The logic of compliance, and the corresponding adherence to regulations and policies can provide an imperative to meet to goals, and to adopt carbon neutral practices that may not otherwise be considered.   Leadership A number of organizations articulated their reasons for pursuing carbon neutrality as demonstrating leadership on climate change. The Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative provide one means of demonstrating leadership in this area: “As evidence of our commitment and leadership, we continued to take steps in the past year to reduce our environmental impact beyond what is required to achieve carbon neutral status.” [Crown Corporation #107] “While we have been leaders in the past at reducing our GHG, the initiative has provided us the opportunity for increased focus.” [Post-secondary Education Sector #69] The leadership logic tended to be emphasised for one of two reasons. The first relates to gaining competitive advantage, namely being seen as a top organization working on carbon 69  neutrality. The second relates to the role of public sector organizations in society: leadership on climate change is about providing an example to others about the need to take climate action.  While this logic may drive organizations to adopt more ambitious goals, one challenge is that it also emphasises highly visible strategies that signal leadership. This can be problematic because many climate actions are by nature invisible to most actors in an organization. For example, heating or insulation improvements are important tools for reducing emissions, but are hidden in basements and walls and therefore are not highly visible signals of environmental improvement. One program manager noted that this is why some practices with less emissions reduction potential are adopted: “Visibility of initiative [is important]; most energy conservation initiatives are invisible (e.g. heat recovery system) so stakeholders may be unaware of efforts the District is making to reduce GHG emissions. Some initiatives, such as a small solar panel or a windmill are small projects but highly visible so create some positive publicity.” [K-12 Education Sector #49]  One way organizations have overcome this issue is to find certifications and awards to make the invisible work of carbon neutrality visible to their stakeholders. Examples include the BC Hydro PowerSmart Awards, LEED Certification, Living Building Certifications, 1 Percent for the Planet designation, and Green Globes. These awards become signifiers of organizational climate action.  For instance, one organization noted in their CNAR: 70  “[This year] leadership was recognized with over 15 provincial, national, and international sustainability awards.” [Post-secondary Education Sector #80] Organizations routinely identified external awards and certifications in their annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports, denoting them as evidence of their climate leadership.    Responsibility Carbon neutral efforts were often described as being reflective of the organization’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility.  “Environmental stewardship is a large part of [our] social responsibility framework and we endeavour to model it as well as teach it.” [K-12 Education Sector #47] “Sustainable, environmentally responsible practice is simply part of how we function as an institution.” [Post-secondary Education Sector #68] Under this logic, carbon neutrality is pursued because it contributes to broader societal goals of sustainability.  In more than one case climate action was described as a “moral imperative”: “It is clear that, as a good corporate citizen responding to the needs and wishes of its constituents, that reducing our carbon footprint is a good, and moral, direction to take for now and in the future.” [K-12 Education Sector #25] 71  A logic of social and environmental responsibility was far more evident in public facing documents (CNARs) than in survey responses. It appears that a responsibility logic is more commonly cited as a general rationale for carbon neutrality, rather than a driver behind the choice of specific strategies.   Co-benefits Finally, there exists a group of logics that were specific to particular sectors that can best be described as “co-benefit” logics6. These logics relate to the added benefits gained by adopting carbon neutral strategies that are not necessarily directly related to tackling climate change. These tended to be sector specific. For PSOs in the healthcare sector, action on carbon neutrality was viewed as having the added benefit of improving human health. This can occur through factors such as reduced air pollution, less exposure to climate change harms, and improved physical well-being (for example, through more people walking or cycling rather than driving vehicles). Thus, carbon neutrality can be pursued to help improve health outcomes, meeting the core agenda of the organization: “Environmental risk factors and exposures have direct links to many compromised human health conditions. In order to effectively promote the health and wellness of our population, we must continue to reduce our carbon footprint and take concerted efforts towards environmental sustainability” [Health Sector #87]                                                             6 This term is never used in the CNARs or survey responses – it is drawn from climate mitigation literature, where it refers to the additional benefits to society that can be gained from taking action on climate change (Ürge-Vorsatz, Herrero, Dubash, & Lecocq, 2014).  It encapsulates the common thread identified across several related logics. 72  Likewise, in the education sector, a co-benefit of adequately preparing the next generation for a carbon-constrained world was articulated: “the Board has set a goal of “ensuring our students have knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to succeed in our changing world” … [The organization] sees the changes it makes on the facilities or business side of the organization as directly linked to education and changing behaviours on the education side of the organization.” [K-12 Education Sector #60]  “A major component of the hard‐wired projects is an educational piece that creates an understanding with students (and staff) on why something works the way it does” [K-12 Education Sector #13] “As an educational institution, we are responsible for preparing our graduates to thrive in the global marketplace.” [Post-secondary Education Sector #65] Carbon neutral initiatives can be used as an educational opportunity to train students in the skills needed for a green economy. Thus, for educational institutions the reasons for pursuing carbon neutrality extend to their educational mission in additional to their climate concerns.   Co-benefit logics highlight the fact that carbon neutrality can contribute to organizational goals beyond emissions reduction, such as teaching necessary skills for a changing world, or improving environmental health. 73  5.3.2 The balance of multiple logics Five key logics were identified that underpin organizational responses to the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative: efficiency, compliance, leadership, responsibility, and co-benefits. To examine the relative salience of these logics, the percentage of organizations in each sector who discussed each type of logic was calculated (Table 3). Looking across all sectors, we can see that an efficiency logic was the most dominant, as it was discussed by 97% of organizations. A compliance logic was the least salient, discussed by only 47% of organizations. In terms of sectoral differences in logics, co-benefit logics are more prevalent in health and education sectors, than in crown corporations; whereas a logic of compliance is more dominant in crown corporations than other sectors.  Table 3: Salience of institutional logics underpinning carbon neutrality by sector  Sector  Total K-12 education  N=60 Post-secondary education N=25 Health authorities & affiliates N=16 Crown corporation  N=31 (All Sectors)  N=132 Logics Efficiency 98% 100% 100% 90% 97% Compliance 35% 52% 50% 67% 47% Leadership 57% 72% 44% 53% 57% Responsibility 87% 88% 88% 80% 85% Co-benefits 67% 80% 94% 7% 59% Note: Values in cells represent percentage of organizations in each sector that articulated given logic in survey responses and CNARs. Cells are shaded darker where a larger percentage of organizations articulated a given logic, to highlight more salient logics.  74  The qualitative data indicate that these logics tend to be complementary rather than conflicting in most cases. In particular, the efficiency and compliance logics were often described as bolstering each other when justifying practices. For example, one program manager described the fact that compliance with the regulation (and associated offset charges) helps to make particular strategies appear more economically efficient: “[This organization] has historically been a leader in sustainability but Provincial policies around Carbon Tax and offsets has provided an important financial incentive to make the business case on carbon reduction strategies more attractive.” [Post-secondary Education Sector #80] Likewise, another program manager discussed the way compliance and efficiency logics interact, explaining that regulations make it easier for him to frame strategies in terms of efficiency: “The carbon neutral regulations create a framework for me to approach our board with energy conservation projects to reduce energy consumption and corresponding GHG emissions. Without the legislation it would be much harder to acquire the budget amongst other competing priorities.” [K-12 Education Sector #49] Rather than competing with one another, the interplay of the two logics helps to justify action.  Logics for pursuing carbon neutrality may evolve over time. For instance, one program manager explained how the organization began pursuing carbon neutral initiatives for efficiency purposes, but over time began to think of their efforts as contributing to 75  environmental sustainability more broadly, and thus the rationale expanded to include a logic of environmental responsibility: “Reducing energy and fuel consumption has been an ongoing initiative of the [organization] for several years. Initially it was seen as a means of reducing operating expenses, but the considerable emphasis placed on reducing greenhouse gases by public and private organizations, has shifted the [organization’s] emphasis to one of environmental stewardship.” [K-12 Education Sector #16] Indeed, several organizations described their carbon neutral actions being beneficial for the organization’s bottom line (an efficiency logic) and the environment (a responsibility logic) at the same time.  For the most part, logics appeared to act in a complementary manner to shape carbon neutral practices.  However, some cases existed where opposing logics evidently competed, and one dominant logic shaped practices.  For instance, one program manager described a decision to purchase hybrid vehicles based on an efficiency logic, but then discussed how this decision was reversed based on a safety logic expressed elsewhere in the organization: “Hybrid vehicles were purchased to lower our fuel costs and carbon emissions.  However, due to our region and the number of mountain passes, distances to travel and weather/road conditions, we have gotten very negative feedback on hybrid purchases made 3-5 years ago.  Whenever a vehicle needs replacement, a hybrid is considered, however the organization is really limiting the number of hybrids being purchased due to staff safety concerns” 76  [Heath Sector #87] Thus, even if carbon neutral program mangers manage to balance multiple complementary logics, they can still hit conflicts with other logics within their organizations.    When logics compete, logics that align most closely with organizational goals are likely to dominate, as explained by one program manager: “Our business is caring for people first - if an initiative does not aid that objective, it will probably struggle to acquire significant funding” [Health Sector #88] This may explain the presence of co-benefit logics, as they allow organizational goals to be emphasised alongside greenhouse gas reduction efforts as a rationale for a particular practice.    Logics don’t necessarily operate as a unilateral driver of all carbon neutral practices.  One program manager explained that the “hierarchy … really depends on initiative and internal and external environment at the time” [K-12 Education Sector #43].  The ability to justify practices in terms of multiple logics may allow program managers to capitalize on different opportunities within the internal and external organizational environment.  5.4 Discussion This research demonstrated that multiple institutional logics underpin carbon neutrality in BC public sector organizations.  Five distinct logics were evident in carbon neutral reports and survey responses: efficiency, compliance, leadership, responsibility, and co-benefits.  77  An efficiency logic emphasises carbon neutrality for cost reduction.  A compliance logic stresses the importance of adhering to regulations and policies. A leadership logic emphasises being a forerunner in the climate field. A responsibility logic highlights the moral and ethical dimensions of climate action.  Co-benefit logics (such as health benefits of climate action) link carbon neutrality to broader organizational goals.   These logics are more nuanced than previous accounts of the logics driving environmental decision-making, such as the distinction between a “civic” and “corporate” logic for pursuing environmental policies, as outlined by Knox-Hayes and Levy (2011). From this work, it appears as organizations move beyond they question of “why should we address climate change” to “what should we do”, they develop more detailed cultural models to understand the various types of actions needed to address their climate impact.  By understanding the logics that give meaning to organizational carbon neutral efforts, we can gain insight into the support structures needed for carbon neutrality. For instance, the presence of an efficiency logic highlights the need to provide tools to justify costs and emissions for different practices (such as business cases for new technologies). A leadership logic emphasises the importance of highly visible indicators of progress, such as awards and certifications, that allow organizations to claim a leadership mantle.  The different logics driving organizational action can provide an indication of the mechanisms needed to encourage carbon neutral transitions.  78  Aligned with earlier studies of institutional logics and environmental practices in organizations, this work identified that multiple logics co-exist and drive carbon neutral outcomes. Previous research has suggested three outcomes are possible when multiple logics exist: one logic dominates; logics compete, leading to heterogeneous outcomes; or logics cohere and provide a common rationale for action (Besharov & Smith, 2013).  In this case, it appears that the latter effect is common – the various logics appear to provide a coherent basis for carbon neutrality.   Why do we see coherence more often than conflict in logics in this case?  There are two possible explanations – one theoretical, the other methodological.  Existing theory on multiple logics suggests that organizations in a field with many interdependencies and a shared agenda will be more likely to find common rationales for action, thus we will find coherence in logics (Besharov & Smith, 2013).  This explanation seems to hold for the BC Public Sector - as will be outlined in the following chapter (6: “The Broader Network of Carbon Neutral Actors”), the organizations in this field rely on a common set of supporting organizations, sharing a similar set of goals.  Hence, a cohesive group of logics has developed to guide action.  A second explanation for finding coherence in logics relates to the methodological approach used in this study. This research studied a specific timeframe (2008-2012) of policy implementation, and narrowly defined the organizational field as the group of public sector organizations bound by the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. It is likely that contestation over the logics and practices of carbon neutrality occur outside of this field or 79  timeframe, for instance, during the development or revision phase of the policy (which occurred before and after this time-period respectively), or within broader climate policy networks which expand beyond this group of organizations. Field theorists argue that organizations typically sit within multiple overlapping fields, and stability and contestation within these fields varies over time (Fligstein & McAdam, 2011, 2012; Scott, 2008). Therefore, the degree to which we see conflict or coherence in logics depends in part on when the field is studied, and where the boundaries of the field are drawn.  Up until this point, the analysis has focused on the field of organizations implementing the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate. Little attention has been given to the broader social system of climate policy-makers, researchers, suppliers, consultants, and funders that influence the logics of carbon neutrality. Yet, these actors play an important role in this field. As Owen-Smith and Powell (2008) note “the ability of logics to shape social action depends intimately on the structures in which activities take place and the partners with whom they are undertaken” (p.604).  To illuminate this social structure, and fill this gap in the analysis of the field, the following chapter will examine what organizations play significant roles in the broader network of organizations shaping carbon neutrality logics and practices.  80  6. The Broader Network of Carbon Neutral Actors  6.1 Introduction Decades of research on inter-organizational networks highlights the fact that organizations rarely act in isolation to achieve their goals (Borgatti & Foster, 2003). Rather, organizations are embedded in networks, which they draw upon for resources and information, and which in turn shape the identity and functioning of the organization itself (Kilduff & Tsai, 2003). This is no less true for the issue of climate change, where networks influence organizational perceptions and actions on climate change (for better or worse, see Herremans et al., 2009; Pulver, 2007), and networks support transformative efforts to become more climate friendly, such as in British Columbia (Berkhout & Westerhoff, 2013; Lau, 2013).  This chapter will examine the broader networks that the BC public sector organizations draw upon to reach carbon neutrality.  The goals of this chapter are twofold.  First, this chapter will illuminate the network of actors that organizations rely upon when transitioning to carbon neutrality, providing insight into the social structures supporting climate action.  Second, networks will be used to explore the boundaries of the field of carbon neutrality in BC, and to consider how multiple overlapping fields influence the dynamics within the organizational field.  This will help to explain why we see practice and logic convergence (as previously described in Chapters 4 and 5), and will situate this relatively stable field within a more contested landscape of climate change action worldwide.  6.1.1 A network perspective A network perspective focuses on relationships between connected entities, in this case we 81  are interested in the relationship between public sector organizations the other actors in the broader field who determine what carbon neutrality should look like. By looking at relationships we can understand how people, organizations, and ideas in society are connected, and how these social structures influence action. The network paradigm encompasses both the methodological tools to examine relationships, and a range of theoretical propositions and concepts about network structures and their role in shaping outcomes (Knoke & Yang, 2007; Wasserman & Faust, 1994).  Social and organizational networks are typically represented as a series of nodes (actors or objects of interest) and ties depicting their interconnections. Organizational networks can be examined at multiple scales, including relationships between individuals, dyads (two-person relationships), triads (three-person relationships), groups, business units, organizations, and institutional actors (Kilduff & Tsai, 2003). Network techniques can also be used to look at relationships between objects or ideas (as was done in Chapter 4, where network techniques were used to examine interrelationship of organizations and practices). Analyses can look at different elements of the network, such as the structure (e.g. the shape and form of connections) or the content of the network (e.g. the types of actors, the flow of resources and ideas through the network). In broad terms, network analysis is a tool for illuminating what social structures exist in society, and how social structures influence action.  Of particular relevance for this work is research on the way inter-organizational networks influence cognition and action within organizations. Studies have demonstrated that inter-organizational ties shape organizational outcomes in a number of different ways (Borgatti & 82  Foster, 2003). First, ties form “social capital” for organization, that is they provide connections to resource-filled others.  Social capital can bring positive benefits (such as resources, information, or power) but may also trap organizations in maladaptive patterns by reinforcing undesirable behaviour (Borgatti & Foster, 2003; Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998).  Additionally, networks may streamline organizational transactions, as more trusting relationships may negate the need for more formalized arrangements (Granovetter, 1985). Furthermore, networks facilitate knowledge management, as many organizations rely on network ties for specialized knowledge beyond their expertise (Brown & Duguid, 2000).  Finally, networks may shape organizational cognition of issues such as climate change, through factors such as common language and narratives facilitating shared cognition (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998).  6.1.2 Networks vs. fields Networks analysis provides a useful lens for looking at field level interaction.  Fields can be considered “relational spaces that provide an organization with the opportunity to involve itself with other actors” (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008).  Therefore, a network approach, which focuses on the relationships between actors, provides relevant analytical and theoretical tools for understanding field dynamics.  While fields and networks may at first glance seem to be interchangeable concepts, they are distinctive perspectives.  Network analysis focuses on the interaction and exchange between actors, whereas a field perspective focuses on the relational space actors occupy (de Nooy, 2003; Singh, 2016). Fields are generally viewed as broader than the networks that exist 83  within them. Organizations can be influenced by others in the field without necessarily holding any form of tie with them, for instance through institutional logics within the field, or other cultural expectations within the field about how organizations should act.   One reason that scholars have used network and field perspectives interchangeably is that the two approaches share many commonalities.  For example, both approaches look at organizations or actors as connected in a social system rather than in an atomistic way, and both have the capacity to look at linkages across scales (for instance, linking organizational action to broader social outcomes) (Owen-Smith & Powell, 2008; Scott, 2008; White, Owen-Smith, Moody, & Powell, 2004; Wooten & Hoffman, 2008).  While some scholars have argued that network techniques are not suitable for field analysis because field positioning is based on possession of various forms of capital (social, economic, cultural) that are not reducible to social ties, others see network analysis as a helpful tool for examining field dynamics (de Nooy, 2003; Kenis & Knoke, 2002; Singh, 2016).  In this work, I follow the latter approach of using network techniques to identify field boundaries, while also recognizing that historical factors and symbolic capitals play a key role in shaping both field dynamics and network structure.  Network analysis techniques can be usefully employed for defining who is in the organizational field, and for describing the boundaries and contours of an organizational field (Hoffman & Bertels, 2007; Prell, Hubacek, & Reed, 2009; Turnpenny, Haxeltine, Lorenzoni, Riordan, & Jones, 2005; White et al., 2004).  Consequently, to understand which actors are in the organizational field shaping the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector 84  initiative, this remainder of this chapter will focus on mapping the networks of actors that support BC PSOs in meeting their carbon neutral goals.    This research seeks to answer three questions: (1) To what extent do BC PSOs rely on networks versus other forms of information to understand carbon neutrality; (2) What network partners do BC PSOs rely upon to meet their carbon neutral goals; and (3) What sorts of support do these network partners provide? After describing the network, the chapter will conclude with a discussion of how the actors in the network fit within the field, and how they link to other fields, and to other spaces of climate policy-making.  6.2 Methods 6.2.1 Data collected A mixed-methods approach was used to gather data on the network of organizations supporting the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative.  Primarily, network data were gathered through a survey of carbon neutral program managers (Appendix 2. Survey techniques previously described in section 2.2).  Respondents were asked about their information sources for carbon neutral techniques, and about the organizations they work with to achieve their carbon neutral goals (Survey questions 12-15). The survey data were supplemented with network information generated from the document analysis of annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports (CNARs; for a full description of these reports, see section 2.1).    Network data were gathered using a “name generator” approach, whereby survey 85  respondents were asked to name the five other organisations they consult with most frequently when developing carbon neutral strategies (see Q13 in Appendix 2). This approach is suggested by Knoke and Yang (2007) as a means of constraining the list of organizational ties to a manageable size for survey respondents.  This increases the likelihood of successful recall of network ties, and can limit non-response rates by reducing the burden associated with recalling and naming a whole network.  Organizations were also asked about the type of support each named network partner provides, to give broader context about the different forms of support they receive from their networks.  The limitation of using the “name generator” approach to gather network data is that it produces a restricted ego-centered network from survey respondents, rather than a whole network (i.e. we only have the five most commonly consulted network ties for each organization as identified by a single individual representing that organization). To compensate for this limitation, and get a broader picture of the network supporting carbon neutrality, network data were also collected from annual reports. This coding was done in conjunction with the coding of practices and logics described in Chapters 4 and 5, and used the same set of 115 CNARs from 2008, 2010 and 2012 (as described in section 4.1).  Any mention of other organizations in the annual CNARs was coded, aided by the software package NVivo (QSR, 2012). This generated a longer list of organizations that are involved in carbon neutral efforts.  However, because these reports did not ask about networks in a systematic fashion, the list of network ties generated from this coding should be considered a qualitative supplement to the more rigorously collected survey data.  86  6.2.2 Analysis technique Network analysis techniques were used to describe and depict the relationships between public sector organizations and the other organizations in the field shaping carbon neutrality (Borgatti, Mehra, Brass, & Labianca, 2009; Wasserman & Faust, 1994). The data collected from the “name generator” survey question were input into a two-mode affiliation matrix (Public Sector Organizations x Organizations they work with to achieve carbon neutral goals), where 1 = a tie between a PSO and named organization, and 0 = no identified relationship. This information was turned into a network diagram using the software packages UCINet and NetDraw (Borgatti, 2002; Borgatti et al., 2002).  The network was visualized as a directed, unweighted matrix (Figure 5).  Nodes in the diagram represent the Public Sector Organizations (PSOs, placed in the center of the diagram) and the organizations they turn to for support (placed on the outside of the diagram). While some PSOs were named as network ties, there was no overlap between survey respondents and those placed in the outer section of the diagram.    Organizations were categorized based on organization type (PSO; Government; Consultant / Engineering firm; Industry association or network; BC PSO Network; NGO / Trust; Research & Education; Suppliers), and nodes were denoted by different shapes to distinguish categories. Where a named organization could conceivably fit in more than one category, qualitative data from network questions was used to determine the appropriate primary type of categorization for this network relationship.  A secondary diagram (Figure 6) was produced that included all of the additional organizations coded from annual reports on the outside of this network (because no information was available about ties, these were 87  not depicted in the diagram).  This provides a visual representation of the broader organizational field supporting carbon neutrality.   To identify which organizations named in the network were most important in the field, two measures of centrality were calculated: degree centrality and eigenvector centrality (Faust, 1997). Centrality measures can be used to examine the relative influence or importance of an actor in a network based on the number of nodes a given actor is connected to (Freeman, 1978). Centrality measures were calculated using the two-mode centrality function in UCINet (Borgatti et al., 2002). In this case, high degree centrality represents being named more frequently by PSOs as a key supporting organization. Eigenvector centrality is a weighted measure that takes into account the degree centrality of the alters that the node is connected to, based on the idea that nodes that are tied to more central organizations are more central in a network themselves. These two centrality measures provide a means of identifying who the key actors are in the field supporting attainment of carbon neutral goals.  To examine whether shared networks are related to the types of practices organizations considered or adopted in response to the carbon neutral mandate, a quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) regression analysis was conducted, comparing shared network ties with similarity of practices reported in CNARs. QAP regression is a method designed for looking at relationships amongst one or more matrices. In this case, it allowed the comparison of a one-mode matrix of common network ties with a matrix of shared practices, controlling for similarity of GHG emissions and sector. For this analysis, QAP regression was conducted using the Double-Dekker Semi-Partialling linear regression function in UCINet (Borgatti et 88  al., 2002). This type of analysis proceeds in two steps. In the first step, a standard multiple regression was conducted comparing corresponding cells across four matrices: 1. Co-occurrence of practices (from CNARs, previously outlined in Ch.4; data used in matrix was 2008, -10, and -12 combined) – the dependent variable. 2. Shared networks (from survey data, number of ties reported in common in Q13). 3. Similarity of GHG emissions (calculated using the identify co-efficient function in UCINet, a similarity measure for continuous data. Cells in the matrix represent relative similarity of GHG emissions for a pair of organizations). 4. Same sector (coded 1 if organizations were in the same sector; 0 if different sector). In the second step, the algorithm in UCInet generated 2000 random permutations of the rows and columns of the dependent matrix and re-computed the regression for each, in order to generate coefficients and R2 values which can be used to estimate the standard errors and statistics for the model (Borgatti et al., 2002). This approach allows presentation of results that approximate a standard linear regression using networked matrix data. For this study, it allows examination of whether the shared practices discussed in Chapter 4 are related to the networks in which organizations are embedded.  6.3 Findings 6.3.1 Networks as a key source of information Carbon neutral program managers rely heavily on their networks to learn about strategies to reduce their emissions.  When asked the open-ended question “What are the main sources of information that you use to gain information about carbon neutral strategies?” survey participants responded most frequently with network sources of information (Figure 4). 89  Program managers are most likely to turn to colleagues in the government, similar public sector organizations, internal colleagues and others in their network for information on how to attain their carbon neutral goals. While networks were the dominant source of information, organizations also rely on a variety of other sources, such as government publications, technical documents, and conferences to learn about carbon neutrality.   Figure 4: Sources of information about carbon neutral strategies Note: Coded from qualitative responses to the open-ended survey question: “What are the main sources of information that you use to gain information about carbon neutral strategies?”  N = 53 respondents. Data were proportionally weighted to ensure responses were representative of the full field based on organizational sector and GHG emissions.  051015202530354045NetworksGovernment,Collegues, OtherPSOs, Utilities,Industryassociations,Consultants,Suppliers,ResearchInstitutesDocumentsGovernmentpublications,CNARs,Newsletters,Utility bills,Technical articlesInternet sourcesGovernmentwebsites, Emaillistservs, SearchenginesEventsConferences,Webinars,Training events,Trade shows,WorkshopsPersonalknowledge% of Organizations90  6.3.2 The networks supporting carbon neutrality When asked specifically about their networks, 49 survey respondents provided a network of 42 organizations that they work with most closely to achieve their carbon neutral goals (Figure 5).  These include government agencies, consulting and engineering firms, industry associations, PSO networking groups (such as BC Health Greencare Network), suppliers, researchers, and utility companies.  91                   KEY:   Survey respondent N =  49  Government N =  7  Consultant / Engineering firm N = 12  Industry association or network N = 6  BC PSO Network N = 3  NGO / Trust N = 1  Research / Education N = 5  Supplier N = 6  Utility company N = 2 Figure 5: Network of organizations supporting the implementation of carbon neutral goals. Note: Based on responses to survey question “Please name the five organizations you work with most closely to achieve your carbon neutral goals.” Nodes represent organizations. Node sizes are scaled based on in-degree centrality (larger nodes represent organizations with more ties). Node placement is not meaningful. Symbol represents organization type.  Organizations with high degree centrality (≥0.6) are labelled. N = 49 respondents with 187 network ties to 42 organizations. BC Hydro (Electric Utility) Fortis  BC (Gas/Electric Utility) BC Climate Action Secretariat 92  The network depicted in Figure 5 shows that three organizations featured most prominently in this organizational field: the BC Government’s Climate Action Secretariat, the publicly-owned BC Hydro and Power Corporation, and Fortis BC (a natural gas and electricity utility). To demonstrate how just how central these three actors were compared to all other named organizational ties, two measures of network centrality were calculated: degree centrality and eigenvector centrality (Table 4). In Table 4, higher degree centrality scores represent organizations that were more commonly named as network partners by survey respondents. High eigenvector centrality scores similarly represent organizations who are named most frequently as network ties, but it assigns more weight to organizations who are connected to more central PSOs. Table 4 shows that the three key actors identified in Figure 5 (the BC Climate Action Secretariat, BC Hydro, and Fortis BC) had far higher degree and eigenvector centrality scores than all the other named organizational ties, and thus at least in terms of network centrality, can be defined as the most influential organizations in the field.  Table 4: Network centrality measures for key organizations that PSOs work with to achieve carbon neutral goals Organization Degree Centrality Eigenvector Centrality BC Hydro 0.71 0.62 Fortis BC 0.61 0.56 BC Climate Action Secretariat 0.63 0.49 All other organizations Degree and eigenvalue centrality values of <0.15 Note: Based on responses to survey question “Please name the five organizations you work with most closely to achieve your carbon neutral goals.” N = 49 respondents with 187 network ties to 42 organizations.  93  When we look at the broader network of actors (using the survey data depicted in Figure 5, and the additional actors named in annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports), we see that the public sector organizations in BC interact with a wide group of organizations to implement carbon neutral plans (Figure 6 – note that because the document analysis data does not provide any indication of direction or strength of tie, this analysis doesn’t indicate how organizations are interacting with this broader network). This investigation highlighted a network of 131 organizations that have some involvement in carbon neutrality in BC. There are more non-profit organizations, industry associations and suppliers in the broader network than in the ego-network depicted in Figure 5. It is evident the field of carbon neutrality extends well beyond the PSOs that were the focus of this study. There are a large number of organizations, from a variety of sectors, supporting the BC PSOs in reaching their carbon neutral goals.  94                   KEY:   Survey respondent N =  49  Government N = 19  Consultant N = 19  Industry association or network N = 23  BC PSO Network N = 3  NGO / Trust N = 25  Research / Education N = 12  Supplier N = 28  Utility company N = 2   Figure 6: Representation of the broader network of organizations supporting implementation of the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative Note: The central region (reproduced from Figure 5) represents the network of organization named in the survey data. The region outside the circled area incudes all additional organizations named in annual Carbon Neutral Action Reports (2008, -10 & -12). 95  6.3.3 Relationship between shared networks and shared practices To examine whether the adoption of practices is related to organizational network ties, a (QAP) regression analysis was conducted comparing the number of network ties a pair of organizations share (from the survey data) and the number of practices organizations commonly reported on in their CNARs (data previously discussed in Chapter 4). This analysis included controls for organizations having similar GHG emissions and being in the same sector. The QAP analysis (Table 5) shows that organizations who share similar networks also tend to report on similar practices in their CNARs. Organizations with more shared networks have greater similarity in the practices they have considered or adopted.  Table 5: Results of quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) regression analysis of shared practices  Unstandardized coefficient S.E. Shared network ties 2.27** 0.28 Similar GHG emissions (Identity coefficient of logGHG) 53.30*** 11.95 Same sector -1.12 -0.06 Intercept -1.35*** 0.00 R-Square 0.399***  # of Permutations 2000  Note: N = 48 organizations; 2256 shared practices. Significance codes:    * p ≤ .05   ** p ≤ .01   *** p ≤ .001. In QAP analysis, p-values represent the proportion of random trials with an absolute value as large or larger than the observed value. ≤0.5 is considered significant.   96  6.3.4 Types of support received from networks Organizations rely on their networks for different forms of support to reach their carbon neutral goals. Figure 7 gives an indication of the types of support that public sector organizations receive from their networks. For each of the network ties depicted in Figure 5, organizations were asked to denote the type of support provided. Thirty-five percent of organizations said financial support was the primary form of help received from network ties, and a further 30% said information and expertise was the main type of support received. It is important to note that in qualitative comments associated with this question, organizations highlighted that these categories were not mutually-exclusive, and that they often received multiple forms of support from their network partners.    Figure 7: Primary type of support given to PSOs by each of the organizations in their network Note: Based on categorical survey responses to the question “What type of support does this organization provide?” Responses given for 176 network ties (as depicted in Figure 5).  N = 49 respondents.  353017135Financial supportInformation or expertise in GHG emissionsreductionNetworks to other useful individuals orother organizationsInfrastructure (e.g. tools and technologies)Human resources (e.g. additional staff)97  6.4 Discussion This analysis demonstrated that the organizations working towards carbon neutrality did not simply absorb a similar set of strategies from an inert institutional environment.  There is a broad network of organizations working to educate, finance, and provide support for transitions towards a low-carbon future.   However, not all actors in the network had the same influence – several organizations play a central role in the organizational field, specifically the BC Climate Action Secretariat (provincial government), BC Hydro, and Fortis BC (utility companies). The core role of the BC Climate Action Secretariat in the network is readily apparent.  This provincial government department manages the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative, and organizations rely on this department to interpret and administer regulatory requirements.  The central role of utility companies can be explained by the fact that these organizations administer multiple programs related to energy efficiency on behalf of the provincial government, and also provide funding and staff support for energy efficiency programs (Government of British Columbia, 2016c). Public sector organizations utilize the knowledge and resources of these companies to meet their carbon neutral goals.    The coherence of logics and practices of carbon neutrality in BC (outlined in Chapters 4 and 5) can be explained in part by the fact that PSOs rely heavily on these few key actors to guide appropriate responses to legislation. Fields tend to be hierarchical spaces, where dominant actors control resources and framing of issues, thus shaping the cognition and behaviour of actors within them (Fligstein & McAdam, 2011, 2012).  Field theory suggests 98  these dominant actors generally tend to be organizations with greater access to resources and decision-making processes (Fligstein & McAdam, 2011, 2012).  This holds true in this case – the key actors hold financial resources and data, and also control policy making, thus reinforcing their dominance in the field.  Network theory suggests there is a trade-off in relying on a limited group of organizations to guide action: more tightly interwoven networks help build trust and shared cognition, aiding the implementation of new practices, but they can also insulate organizations from alternative approaches and logics that exist outside the network (Brass, Galaskiewicz, Greve, & Tsai, 2004; Uzzi, 1997). This may lead to “lock-in” to particular pathways of low-carbon development (Foxon, 2002; Unruh, 2002); whereby the dominance of particular actors, their logics and their preferred practices ties the field into one given path of action on climate change, limiting the feasibility of alternative pathways.   It is difficult to discern the extent to which the network expands or restricts the scope of carbon neutral practices considered by the field without considering how this organizational field fits within a broader climate change landscape.  Rather than limiting the types of practices or logics considered within the field, the dominant organizations in the network may provide links to other organizational fields, and thus provide a bridge to new ideas and practices.  The diagram below (Figure 8) depicts the central actors in the network as fulfilling a bridging role, linking PSOs to higher-level climate and energy policy fields.    99                           Figure 8: Network bridges to broader climate and energy fields  For example, utility companies sit within industry and national-level fields focused on energy management.  They are exposed to new logics and practices related to reducing emissions through these fields, and may bring this knowledge back into the field of carbon neutral actors in BC. Decisions made within the BC field may also filter up to broader policy networks and reshape climate policy perceptions and preferences, through key policy actors such as the BC Secretariat (Compston, 2009; Knoke, 2011). Further research is needed to explicate how logics and practices move through these nested fields, and the role that bridging organizations play in filtering and disseminating ideas between fields.  Field of carbon neutral organizations in BC Energy conservation field National and international energy policy fields Climate Action Secretariat Utility Companies Sub-national climate policy field National and international climate policy fields 100  The approach used here highlights the utility of thinking about the organizations as part of both a field and network in tandem.  In this case, network analysis provides tools for recognizing key actors within the field, and for gathering data about the variety of organizations that make up the field.  Field theory provides a lens for thinking about the substance of these relationships, and how these networks link actors within the field to proximate fields and broader social contexts.   101  7. Discussion and Conclusion 7.1 Summary of Findings The reality of climate change means that society needs to move away from carbon-intensive modes of production and consumption (IPCC, 2014). This work looked at an example of organizations attempting to achieve this feat, examining how 132 organizations came to terms with a new imperative to become carbon neutral, after the introduction of the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative (Government of British Columbia, 2008). Using a field-level analysis, this dissertation shows that organizations acted in concert with one another, quickly settling on a similar group of carbon neutral practices (Chapter 4: Table 2; Figure 3).  Drawing from theories of organizational field dynamics, I posit that a number of factors drive organizations to adopt similar strategies.  First, as outlined in Chapter 4, isomorphic tendencies of organizational fields are at play (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). Namely, the tendency of organizations within the field to adopt similar responses to a given situation.  The Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate was implemented quickly – organizations had just two years from the introduction of the mandate to achieve carbon neutrality (Government of British Columbia, 2008). Consequently, organizations that were uncertain about how to respond looked for cues within the field. They drew from government documentation, and the actions of their peers when identifying the appropriate response to the mandate.  Thus, over time, organizational strategies coalesced around a similar set of carbon neutral practices.    102  Second, as outlined in Chapter 5, organizations are working under a similar set of institutional logics (Thornton et al., 2012), or cultural assumptions about why carbon neutrality should be pursued, and what carbon neutrality entails.  Qualitative analysis of annual reports and survey responses identified five key logics that underpin organizational responses to the Carbon Neutral Public Sector initiative: efficiency, compliance, leadership, responsibility, and co-benefits. These logics guide the practices adopted in the field, influencing organizations to deem similar practices appropriate for meeting the goals of the mandate.  Finally, as discussed in Chapter 6, a few key organizations dominate the field. Analysis of the networks organizations draw upon to achieve carbon neutrality highlighted the fact that three organizations provide significant support to organizations (the provincial government’s Climate Action Secretariat, and two utility companies: BC Hydro and Fortis BC). Similarity of organizational approaches can be explained in part by the fact that organizations are drawing from the same sources of information and resources to meet carbon neutral targets.  In sum, this work demonstrates that organizations bound by the Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate did not necessarily act independently to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint; rather, they formed responses in congruence with others in the organizational field to reduce carbon emissions.   103  7.2 Research Contributions This work makes two important contributions to literature on organizational fields. First, it provides a contrasting case to many existing field studies, which suggest contestation is to be expected in new or unsettled fields. This research demonstrates that under the right conditions a relatively stable field can relatively emerge around a new issue. In this case, the field converged around a similar set of logics and practices because key actors (the government and utility companies) held a dominant role in the field. Organizations looked to these key actors for cues to achieve carbon neutrality, and the field stabilized around the logics and strategies promoted by these actors. These dominant actors also established institutional infrastructure needed for organizations to quickly come to terms with new carbon neutral imperatives, such as reporting tools for tracking emissions, and conferences and networking opportunities for public sector organizations to learn about what carbon neutrality involved.  The second contribution of this work is the application of network analysis methods in a relatively novel way to understanding the co-occurrence of practices within a field. Studying shared practices between organizations using network methods enabled clear mapping of increasing centralization of the field around a similar set of practices. The use of network analysis to map co-occurrence of practices also opens up the opportunity to use more sophisticated network analyses in the future, using techniques such as exponential random graph methods (Snijders, van de Bunt, & Steglich, 2010). Ideally, such techniques could enable data from a longer time period (beyond the early agenda-setting years of policy implementation) to be used to study how practices within the field evolve as 104  organizations become more familiar with carbon neutrality, and as climate policy shifts over time.  In addition to contributing to literature on organization fields, this work can also be viewed as a piece of environmental sociology research. In that regard, this research contributes to a theoretical perspective known as “ecological modernization”, namely a body of work that examines how societies can transform economic growth and development towards environmental ends (Spaargaren & Mol, 1992). Ecological modernization theory posits that industrialized societies have come more cognizant of the need to protect ecological functions that form our sustenance base, and that environmental concerns are leading to a fundamental restructuring of society. While ecological modernization theory was not the driving thrust of this research, this study provides another demonstrative case that societal transition towards ecological modernity may be underway. Indeed, the positive response from organizations to the survey questions about the carbon neutral program (Chapter 3; Figure 1) suggests that organizations were readily willing to adjust to new requirements to reduce their environmental impact. However, as will be noted in the remainder of this chapter, it is important to acknowledge that this study did not look at environmental effectiveness of the practices adopted, and was conducted on a field of public sector organizations in a relatively environmentally progressive region. Comparative analysis of carbon neutral programs in other regions is necessary to see whether this support for climate policy holds other types of organizations (such as private firms) or in other regions.  105  7.3 Research Implications The broader implications of this research can be divided up into two categories: implications for climate change mitigation, and theoretical implications for the study of field dynamics.   In terms of implications for climate change mitigation, this study demonstrates that organizations rather quickly came to terms with new requirements to become carbon neutral. This transformation was supported by an organizational field with strong coercive pressures (regulatory requirements to report on actions each year, and to purchase offsets for unmitigated emissions), good frameworks for encouraging normative and mimetic pressures (such as publishing annual reports publicly so that organizations could see what their counterparts were doing, and online forums and conferences where practices were encouraged to share practices), and a coherent set of logics guiding practices.   Other regions pursuing strong climate policies could draw from this research the types of institutional infrastructure needed to help organizations quickly come to terms with new climate policies. These included enacting public reporting (to enhance transparency, and provide an opportunity to learn about peer actions), creating regular opportunities for organizations to network and learn about carbon neutrality (such as conferences), and providing guidance documents about the types of strategies that might be appropriate for meeting carbon neutral goals.  106  An optimistic reading of this work is that low-carbon transitions can be achieved relatively quickly if the right dynamics are in place to support this transition.  However, it is important to recognise that fields dynamics can facilitate maladaptive responses to climate change just as easily as they can foster low-carbon transitions. This work did not explore whether the types of practices promoted by organizations within this field were effective in reducing emissions. Therefore, it is not yet evident whether the practices described here will lead to transformative environmental change.    As noted in Chapter 4, this work also provided an useful empirical case for examining processes of field emergence, thus this research also has implications for field theory more broadly. Extant theory on field emergence suggests that fields tend to follow a path whereby early stages are marked by contestation, as key players vie for control over the resources and logics of the field, followed by a period of relative stability while dominant actors retain control over the field (Fligstein, 2013).  This case doesn’t appear to follow this typical pattern. Indeed, despite this being a newly formed field, centered around a highly uncertain issue, it is relatively stable. It is interesting to consider why this may be the case.  One possible reason is that the stakes are quite low in the emergent phase of this field – the early stages of carbon neutrality typically involve dealing with “low hanging fruit” – relatively low-cost, simple measures to reduce emissions (Bertels, Papania, & Papania, 2010; Webster & Moore, 2009).  In later stages, as emissions reductions activities become more complex and the stakes are higher, we might expect to see a more diverse set of actors vying for control, and more contestation within the field.   107   A second explanation is that the some of the key actors within the field were already working together on cognate issues.  In particular, the government and utility companies had been working together for a long period on energy efficiency programs.  Thus, many of the logics and relationships formed while working on energy efficiency were transferred over to the new field of carbon neutrality.  Therefore, the field began in a relatively stable state. This highlights the fact that stability and contention in organizational fields relates, to some extent, to the positioning of the field in relation to other similar fields. Further work on nested and overlapping fields (outlined in section 7.4) would help to illuminate how related fields shape emergence processes.  7.4 Strengths and Limitations of Research Approach The key strength of this research was the ability to look at the adoption of carbon neutral practices from a meso-level perspective, that is at the level of an organizational field. The choice of case (the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate) represented a unique opportunity to study a relatively large pool of organizations transitioning to carbon neutrality at the same time.  The transition was well documented (through the requirement for annual reports), providing an excellent data source for analysing organizational responses to the policy.  The use of mixed methods (survey and document analysis) and mixed analytical techniques (qualitative and network approaches) in this study yielded much richer data and insights than if each had been used alone. The documents provided a longitudinal perspective on 108  policy implementation.  The survey provided insight into the mechanics of carbon neutral transitions that was missing from the public-facing annual reports.  The combination of methods helped overcome the weaknesses inherent in each.  With any research approach, however, there are trade-offs. Here I discuss some of the limitations of this study based on the scale at which practices were examined, the time-period of the analysis, and the case chosen.   First, with regards to scale, the choice to focus on meso-level interactions in this dissertation means that important factors influencing carbon neutrality at the organizational-level and the societal-level are missing from this analysis. Within organizations, a number of factors influence responses to climate change, such as availability of resources to pursue given strategies (e.g. financial and human resources), or the presence of “environmental champions” to advocate for climate action (see for example Gliedt, Berkhout, Parker, & Doucet, 2010). By focusing on the field, rather than conducting in-depth analysis within organizations, we miss the opportunity to examine how organizations strategize and make sense of logics internally. Likewise, the societal context influences the development and implementation of climate policies, and consequently the responses organizations may take to the issue (Wittneben, Okereke, Banerjee, & Levy, 2012). Field-level dynamics are one piece of the puzzle, in amongst factors that exist at multiple scales influencing organizational responses.  109  The time-period studied also limits the scope of this analysis.  This study examined the first five years of carbon neutrality in British Columbia.  However, as mentioned previously in Chapter 3, many carbon neutral practices take time to bear results, so organization strategies may evolve over a longer time period as organizations learn more about carbon neutrality. Additionally, the shifting nature of national and international climate policy, and increasing climate impacts, means that the rationale for pursuing carbon neutrality will likely change over time. Thus, we can expect the field to change. Looking at the transition to carbon neutrality over a longer timescale would likely yield more sophisticated insights about field dynamics. However, the limitation of available time and documentation for this research restricted this analysis to the first five years of policy implementation.    Finally, the choice of case (namely, the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector mandate) brings some limitations to the generalizability of the findings. For example, because these are public sector organizations, it is reasonable to conclude that the government can exert more coercive pressure than would be expected if we were to study the same policy applied to the private sector. Though, it is worth noting that a number of the organizations in this study were crown corporations, and so behave somewhat similarly to private sector organizations. Likewise, because British Columbia is an environmentally progressive province; it was an early adopter of a number of climate policies, including North America’s first carbon tax.  We might expect to see more contention within the field in areas where there is less support for climate action, and where organizations are less committed to government policies. Comparative analysis of a related policy in another region, or in an area targeting the private 110  sector (such as Costa Rica’s nationwide carbon neutral program, or California’s cap-and-trade approach) would provide a useful complement to the work described here.  7.5 Future Research This study points to a number of interesting avenues for future research.  First, as alluded to in the discussion of Chapter 6, there is a need for further research to consider the logics and practices of carbon neutrality in the context of multiple nested fields. Organizations often sit in multiple organizational fields, and these fields are typically nested in higher order fields (see Figure 8 for an illustrative example, and Fligstein & McAdam, 2012 for a discussion of vertical and horizontal linkages amongst fields). How do logics and practices formed in higher level fields (such as the transnational climate regime) filter down to lower order fields, such as the field of carbon neutrality in BC? At the organizational level, how do organizations make sense of the logics and practices coming from the multiple fields in which they sit? While this is captured implicitly in this study, it would be a good addition to this work to examine some of the cognate fields in which this field is nested, to see how carbon neutral practices move vertically and horizontally between fields.  Several studies provide guidance as to how this research could be situated in a multi-level perspective. Hoffman (2001) outlines the varied constituents and pressures that influence environmental practices at an organizational level, and suggests that ethnographic research on a single organization would provide insight into the way field level dynamics play out within an organization. Indeed, an ethnographic study of the way a single organization 111  makes sense of the practices and logics of carbon neutrality would be a good complement to the research described here.  Similarly, Vasi (2007) provides a model for looking at the way practices filter up or down between nested fields.  He studies the way field processes at an international, national and sub-national level influence the adoption of a single program (the Cities for Climate protection program), and demonstrates that both bottom-up and top-down field dynamics shape program adoption. Drawing from this example, future research could trace the diffusion of particular carbon neutral practices and logics (outlined in Chapter 4 and 5), to understand their origins, and the way they move between nested fields.  This would involve a more in-depth look at a single logic or practice, rather than the holistic view taken here.  A second research stream would involve looking at the relationship between the practices and field dynamics described in this dissertation and actual greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Prior research indicates that field level processes may lead to a decoupling of practices and environmental outcomes (Hironaka & Schofer, 2002; Veal & Mouzas, 2012).  This can be due to a number of factors, such as organizations pursuing strategies with a goal of appearing legitimate to others within the field, rather than to reduce emissions.  It can also be due to cooptation of the field by actors focused on outcomes other than emissions reduction.  To explore this empirically in the context of the BC Carbon Neutral Public Sector, it would be necessary to take a more fine-grained look at each of the practices (described in Chapter 4, Table 2), to see which ones are leading to actual emissions reductions, and which are being adopted symbolically.  This would be somewhat 112  challenging, because it is not always easy to trace emissions to a given practice (especially behavioural practices), and the emissions reductions associated with some of the practices pursued by organizations in this study may take time to materialize. Assuming these data challenges could be managed, this would make a significant contribution to understanding how field dynamics link to tangible climate change mitigation outcomes.  7.5 Conclusion Tackling climate change necessitates a transition towards a low-carbon future. This requires organizations to take on a new challenge to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their activities. This study examined the field dynamics associated with a low-carbon transition, and demonstrated that an organizational field can relatively quickly settle on a cohesive set of practices and logics that guide carbon neutrality. 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Initial contact email:   Dear (name),  I am writing to invite you to participate in a survey on carbon neutrality.  This survey is being conducted as part of a PhD research project looking at the implementation of carbon neutral programs in organizations.    The survey is available at: (survey link). This survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. You can complete this survey any time before 5pm on July 3rd, 2015.   I am interested in your perspective as the manager of the carbon neutral program in (organization). If you think someone else in your organization could provide better insight into carbon neutrality in your organization, please forward this email to them.  Your participation is completely voluntary.  The first page of the survey contains a consent form that outlines the purpose of the study, and your rights as a research participant.  A copy of this consent form is also attached to this email for your records.  If you have any questions about the survey or this research project, please contact me at by email at or by phone at 778-938-5152.  Thank you for your time and consideration.   Reminder email (sent one week after first contact to non-respondents):   Dear (name),  I am writing to follow up on an email I sent last week regarding a survey on carbon neutrality.  I am very interested in your experiences turning (organization) into a carbon neutral organization.  I hope you will take the time to compete this survey.  The survey is available at: (survey link). The survey will close at 5pm on July 3rd, 2015.  If you have any questions about the survey or this research project, please contact me at by email at or by phone at 778-938-5152.  Thank you for your time and consideration.  (initial email message included underneath)    133   134   135    136    137      *NOTE: Question 9e had 13 different variants to collect data on a range of practices. Statements replacing {{ collector.strategy }} in this question included:  completed an evaluation of overall building energy use  created a community garden  developed or linked into a district energy system  implemented a system to track individual printing  installed a solar hot water system  installed a solar wall  installed a water bottle filling station  installed electric vehicle charging stations  installed geoexchange systems  installed new recycling bins or stations  replaced a boiler with a more efficient option  reserved car sharing spaces in carpark  utilized daylight design features to minimize energy use 138      139      140     141    142        


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