ECN publication
Beleid voor gedragsbeïnvloeding: nationale studie
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 10-12-2013
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-E--13-023 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
106 Download PDF  

This case study compares policy domains (household energy, food, mobility, household waste) and cases of interventions aimed at more sustainable behaviours in these domains. We address the question how national policy can contribute to sustainable behaviour in these four themes. The study focuses on two exemplary cases per domain, for each of which we analyse lessons learned regarding the implementation of insights from social scientific literature. In this study, individual behaviour is regarded as embedded in institutional, social and physical contexts. As these levels are interdependent, cases are analysed and lessons are drawn along these lines as much as possible. It is investigated how these levels have been addressed in order to enable, support and sustain behavioural changes: the policy environment and institutional environment, individual behaviour, social norms and the physical environment.

Regarding individual behaviour, the main conclusions are that successfully addressing the appropriate behaviour type and drivers of this behaviour requires investigation, using relevant theories or models, prior to intervention development. We also conclude that national policy for behavioural interventions motivating sustainable behaviours could be improved or extended with instruments focusing on the following: (a) when promoting one-shot behaviours, provide a strong/disruptive cue to people to abandon the ‘default’ behavioural option; (b) when promoting new routines, link the desired behavioural change to a desirable outcome from a consumer’s point of view; (c) distinguish between ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’ (e.g. motor skills) routine behaviours and adjust interventions accordingly; (d) when promoting new routines, use ‘nudge’ and ‘learning-by-doing approaches’ (including trials and sampling tactics) to foster adoption of the behaviour and provide continuous personal as well as social feedback to embed the behaviour; (e) allow for sufficient time to let behavioural change diffuse through society and support this process with consistent programmes and policies.

In the wider context, programs and interventions would benefit from a more integrated policy approach to sustainable behaviours across domains. Furthermore, particularly at times when the government is withdrawing and investments in sustainable behavioural Introductie 3 programmes are decreasing, it is vital to allow local governments, intermediary parties, stakeholders and end users as much freedom as possible to link and cooperate as they see fit. Finally, to foster the growth of such local initiatives, there is a need for platforms to facilitate the exchange

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