Islamic Identity and Pro-Recycling: The Role of Spirituality in Sustainability Message Communications

Normalisa Md Isa, Norkhazzaina Salahuddin, Amr Mohammed Nasser Al-Ganad
Department of Marketing, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia

Maya Vachkova
College for Social and International Sciences, University of Exeter

Rana Muhammad Ayyub
Department of Economics and Business Management, UVAS Business School, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences


The environment’s health has deteriorated from widespread deforestation to unprecedented global warming. Numerous studies have investigated the impact of pro-environmental campaigns on public concern, but they have had limited success in explaining attitudes toward pro-environmental behaviours such as recycling. The current study examined if moral and Islamic identity framing can influence pro-recycling attitude formation among young Muslims. The primary study comprised a 2 x 2 x 2 experimental study to assess the influence of moral and Islamic framing on gain or loss framing effects on ad attitude, recycling attitude, ad believability, and recycling intention. MANOVA, individual ANOVA, and paired comparison of means were used to test the hypotheses. The study’s results indicated that Islamic framing had the most substantial influence on the dependent variables, followed by morality for both loss and gain-matched messages. Moreover, combining moral and Islamic identity framing did not have the expected cumulative effect hypothesised. The main contribution of this study lies in shifting the focus of sustainability communications from the dominant scientific view of environmentalism to the New Environmental Paradigm, specifically in testing spiritually rooted message frames to foster recycling attitudes. Despite numerous spiritual framing messages being used in global sustainability contexts, this domain remains largely unexplored in the extant literature, so this study serves as an initial foray into this promising research stream.

Keywords: Message framing, Moral identity, Recycling, Religious identity, Spiritual paradigm