New Working Paper from the GGKP Behavioural Insights Working Group

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16 April 2018

The Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) Working Group on Behavioural Insights has released the working paper, Changing Behaviours, Changing Policy: Evidence on behavioural insights for green growth.

The working paper reviews some of the key behavioural drivers and policy leverage points for encouraging green growth and recommends steps that decision makers can take to ensure effective planning of behavioural interventions for green growth. These steps include defining the green growth priority for impact; identifying the level of intervention and stakeholder targets; performing a thorough diagnostic of the behavioural context; selecting, implementing and evaluating interventions for the adoption of sustained habits and expanding and scaling up successful interventions.

A number of case studies are presented on initiatives that aim to achieve behaviour change in two key green growth areas: sustainable consumption and resource use. Case studies on sustainable consumption focus on the sharing economy, eco-labelling, food cooperatives and anti-food waste programmes, urban design and data technologies to motivate people to commute via walking and cycling, price incentives or messaging campaigns that encourage consumers to buy imperfect produce, payment-by-results agri-schemes and more. Case studies on resource use focus on national energy efficiency programmes, energy cooperatives in rural communities, smart-grid technologies, energy efficiency interventions led by the privtate sector, a washing machine simulation game and more.

The paper also identifies knowledge gaps for further research, including identifying keystone behaviours for green growth; developing behavioural intervention tools; understanding behaviour change in developing country contexts; determining behavioural tipping points and moving beyond individual to organizational behaviour.

The main policy messages are: 

  • Decision makers should design green growth programmes that not only support green growth behavioural choices, but that make them habitual and automatic;
  • Decision makers must identify the cues, habits and rewards that discourage green growth and design effective policies for changing them; 
  • Local conditions are essential to the success of green growth behavioural interventions and this information can be accessed by researchers and decision makers through the continuous engagement and citizen science approaches.

Read Changing Behaviours, Changing Policy: Evidence on behavioural insights for green growth.



About the GGKP Behavioural Insights Working Group

The Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) Behavioural Insights Working Group explores the state of and gaps in the areas of behavioural economics and social science in order to support further research in this area that will help design robust policies and interventions (sometimes called “nudges”) for instigating positive green growth behaviours among key societal stakeholders. Its membership is drawn from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the University of Oxford and more.

Find out more about the group here