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Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development



Human impact on the planet is intensifying due to rapid globalization, economic and population growth, and changing lifestyles. In addition to technical and regulatory solutions, sustainable development must include a transformation of human consumption behaviors.
Behaviour Change for
Sustainable Development
Kathleen Klaniecki
, Katharina Wuropulos
Caroline Persson Hager
Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University
Lueneburg, Lueneburg, Germany
Faculty of Social Sciences, Bundeswehr
University Munich, Neubiberg, Germany
Oslo, Norway
Human impact on the planet is intensifying due to
rapid globalization, economic and population
growth, and changing lifestyles. In addition to
technical and regulatory solutions, sustainable
development must include a transformation of
human consumption behaviors.
Human effects on the environment are so signi-
cant that some scholars propose we have entered a
new geological epoch called the Anthropocene,
where humans are now the dominant driver of
earth system processes at a planetary scale
(Steffen et al. 2011). Climate change, biodiversity
loss, ecosystem degradation, and ocean acidica-
tion are undoubtedly caused and accelerated by
unsustainable human activity. While humans
throughout history have modied the natural envi-
ronment to meet their needs, human impact on the
planet is now exponentially greater due to rapid
globalization, economic and population growth,
and changing lifestyles (IPCC 2014). Current
demands on Earths resources far outpace what
the planet can produce, absorb, and neutralize,
leading to widespread environmental depletion
and degradation (UNDP 2012).
An increased awareness of the scale and scope
of human impact on the planet has led to interna-
tional efforts to curb environmental degradation
and promote sustainable development. Policies
and regulations, technical solutions, international
agreements, economic tools, and informational
tools have been applied to facilitate transitions
towards sustainability. While regulatory and
technical solutions have been benecial in
addressing signicant cases of environmental pol-
lution (e.g., regulations on CFC emissions and
DDT pesticides), widespread environmental
destruction continues due to unsustainable and
intensifying human consumption behavior (Steg
and Vlek 2009).
Given the magnitude of todays environmental
challenges, sustainable development must include
human dimensions of change, specically behav-
ior change for sustainable development. Since the
1992 Rio Earth Summit, there has been increased
focus on the role of individual consumption pat-
terns and production systems for sustainability.
Achieving the sustainable development goals
requires a critical understanding of how people
#Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
W. Leal Filho (ed.), Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education,
make decisions and act on them, how they think
about, inuence, and relate to one another, and
how they develop beliefs and attitudes(UNDP
2016, pp. 12).
Behavioral science theories and behavior
change tools inform the creation of behavior
change interventions for sustainable develop-
ment. Such interventions are coordinated sets of
activities designed to change specied behavior
patterns(Michie et al. 2011, p. 1) and can focus
on increasing, decreasing, or maintaining behav-
iors, as well as enhancing or improving behaviors
(Morra Imas and Rist 2009).
This article addresses three main elements of
behavior change for sustainable development:
theories and models of human behavior and
behavior change, behavior change intervention
tools and methodologies, and selected examples
of successfully implemented behavior change
interventions. The article ends with a brief discus-
sion of critiques of the behavior change approach
and conclusions.
Understanding the Need for
The impact of individual consumption behaviors
can be traced to increasing demands for natural
products and services such as food, water, timber,
minerals, and fuel. The intensity of resource use
and environmental degradation is responsible for
fundamentally and irreversibly changing the
planet. Household consumption contributes to
more than 60% of global greenhouse gas emis-
sions and between 50% and 80% of total land,
material, and water use (Ivanova et al. 2016). The
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations estimates that one-third (~1.5 billion
tonnes) of all food produced for human consump-
tion in the world is wasted (FAO 2013). More-
over, water demand will surpass supply by 40%
within 15 years as populations and demands on
resources increase (UNEP 2017).
Curbing unsustainable behavior can reduce the
acceleration of environmental degradation and
contribute to sustainable development. For
instance, the adoption of sustainable energy
behaviors has the potential to reduce US house-
hold direct emissions by 20% (Dietz et al. 2009)
and transitions towards environmentally sustain-
able diets could reduce food-related GHG emis-
sions by 2970% (Springmann et al. 2016).
An understanding of the impact of human
activity on the planet gave way to programs
designed to shift human impact through behavior
change. Many of these programs relied on theo-
ries of human behavior and behavior change to
inform the structure and aim of the program and to
effectively target behaviors.
Theoretical Approaches to Behavior
This section gives an overview of theories and
models on behavior and behavior change relating
to pro-environmental behavior. The rst group of
theories explains behavior as a result of individual
motivational factors, the second group includes
contextual factors to explain behavior, and the
third group explains permanent behavior change.
Behavior Theories and Models Focusing on
Motivational Factors
The roots of many human behavior modelling
approaches lie within economic theory and the
assumption that human decisions are a result of a
rational consideration of available alternatives to
increase benets and reduce costs (e.g. Consumer
Preference Theory). Behavioral economists, such
as Simon (1982) and Tversky and Kahneman
(1992), have shown that behavior is not necessar-
ily rational, by revealing how mental heuristics
and cognitive biases often make choices predict-
ably irrational (e.g., Prospect Theory and
Bounded Rationality Theory).
Specic concepts, such as information, values,
beliefs, attitudes, norms, and agency, have played
an important role in social-psychological behavior
theory. The concepts of attitudes, social norms,
and agency informed Ajzens Theory of Planned
Behavior (TPB) (1991), which is the most used
theoretical framework in environmental behavior
research (Klöckner 2015). TPB explains behav-
iors mainly as a result of individual intentions.
2 Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development
Behavior intentions are formed by a rational
choice weighing of the three factors: attitudes
toward the behavior, perceptions of social
norms, and perceptions of behavioral control. Tri-
andisTheory of Interpersonal Behavior (1977)
includes habits as an additional variable to explain
why behaviors do not always align with behav-
ioral intentions.
The concepts of social comparison, norms, and
identity form the basis of theories such as
Schwartzs Norm Activation Theory (NAM)
(1977). NAM explains positive social behavior
through personal norms, which are rooted in the
feeling of a moral obligation to help. Such norms
are activated by awareness of consequences of
performing or withstanding a particular behavior
and the perceived responsibility of the behavior
and its consequences. Value Belief Norm Theory
(VBN) by Stern is an extension of NAM and also
explains behavior as determined by a moral obli-
gation to act, but includes the individuals degree
of ecological worldview as a contributing factor
(2000). Noteworthy is also the decision-making
context of Goal-framing Theory (Elliott and Fryer
2008), which states that an individual will have
several different, hierarchically ordered goals at
the same time and their behaviors can be under-
stood as result of trying to achieve their most
prioritized goal at that point in time. Cialdini
et al.s Focus Theory of Normative Conduct
(1990) looks at how social norms, i.e., descriptive
and injunctive norms, inuence behavior. The
norms ability to affect behavior depends on their
salience in the consciousness of the individual at
the time of the behavior.
Behavior Theories and Models Focusing on
Contextual Factors
Contextual factors are important in explaining
pro-environmental behavior, but these variables
are often overlooked (Klöckner 2015) and are
not as extensively examined for their effect on
behavior as individual motivational factors (Steg
and Vlek 2009). One theory that includes contex-
tual variables as an explanation of behavior is
Vlek et al.s Needs Opportunities Abilities
Model (2000). It portrays consumer behavior as
inuenced by societal factors and vice versa. The
Comprehensive Action Determination Model of
ecological behavior (Klöckner and Blöbaum
2010) combines TPB and NAM, including the
concepts of context and habits for better predict-
ability of pro-environmental behavior. Similarly,
Kollmuss and Agyemans Model of Pro-
Environmental Behavior (2002) takes a holistic
approach and includes both internal and external
factors to explain pro-environmental behaviors.
Theories and Models Focusing on Behavior
In addition to understanding behavior, scholars
have also developed theories and models to under-
stand changes in behavior. Lewins Change The-
ory (1951) was created around habits dened as
resistance to change, in relation to behavior in
groups. More permanent individual change and
new habits will primarily occur if the whole social
eld adjusts. Lewins Change Theory conceptual-
izes change as a process, instead of an event.
The Transtheoretical Model of Health Behav-
ior Change (or Stages of Change Model) sees
behavior change as a process of six different
stages of change that an individual must go
through for lasting behavior change (Prochaska
and Velicer 1997). Bamberg adds that people can
proceed from one stage to the next based on varied
intentions and suggests different variables that
contribute to forming the intention of each respec-
tive stage (2013).
The abovementioned theories each seek to
explain behavior change at the individual level.
To contribute to sustainable development, there is,
however, a need for behavior changes to happen
across large populations. In order to achieve this,
RogersDiffusion of Innovations Theory and
Model (2003) integrates the impact of social net-
works and interactions within the networks to
develop more effective behavior change
Planning Successful Behavior Change
Behavior change theory provides important
insight into the accumulated knowledge of
Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development 3
human behavior and behavior change. This sec-
tion describes recommended steps in planning
effective and efcient behavior change programs
and presents some of the most effective interven-
tion tools. In general, behavior change programs
should: (1) identify and analyze suitable behav-
iors for change, (2) choose and implement suitable
intervention tools, and (3) evaluate the effective-
ness of the program (McKenzie-Mohr 2011; Steg
and Vlek 2009).
Identify and Analyse Suitable Behaviors
Identifying suitable behaviors and target groups is
crucial to maximize a behavior change programs
impact. The most suitable behaviors to target are
those with (1) a large environmental impact,
(2) that are performed by many, and (3) where
people are willing to change (McKenzie-Mohr
and Schultz 2014). Environmental impact assess-
ments such as life-cycle assessment and input-
output analyses can be used to identify and prior-
itize behaviors based on environmental impact.
Behavior plasticity the proportion of people
who could be convinced to adopt a given
behavior can be used to rank and prioritize target
behaviors (Dietz et al. 2009). Target group seg-
mentation can be useful to identify populations
most receptive to change or groups that require
different types of interventions (Klöckner 2015).
Additionally, measuring baseline levels of
selected behaviors i.e., current penetration
rates can aid in further identifying which popu-
lation to target (Steg and Vlek 2009).
Behavior Change Tools
There is a wide range of behavior change tools
used to foster behavioral changes (see Table 1).
Tools are segmented into antecedent tools those
changing factors that precede a behavior and
consequence tools those changing the conse-
quences of a behavior (Lehman and Geller
2004). An additional distinction is made between
informational and structural intervention tools:
the prior seeks to change perceptions, motiva-
tions, knowledge, and norms, while the latter
changes the circumstances under which behav-
ioral choices are made (Steg and Vlek 2009).
Nudges, which can be both informational and
structural, are aspects of the choice architecture
that alters peoples behaviour in a predictable
way without forbidding any options or signi-
cantly changing their economic incentives
(Thaler and Sunstein 2008, p. 6).
Informational Intervention Tools
One of the most common informational tools is
providing information or education. These tools
may lead to changes in attitudes and motivation;
however, merely providing information does not
often result in behavior change (Steg and Vlek
2009). Informational interventions tailored and
framed to the needs, worldviews, and perceived
barriers of the targeted population are more effec-
tive (Abrahamse et al. 2007; Nisbet 2009).
Balancing the need for urgent action with emo-
tions such as optimism and hope can also increase
the effectiveness of information (Moser 2007).
Providing information as a prompt is also used
to induce behavioral change. Prompts informa-
tional cues that draw attention to a desirable
behavior are most effective when the targeted
behavior is easy to perform and when the prompt
is in close proximity to where the behavior is
performed (see Lehman and Geller 2004, for a
Another informational tool is the use of
descriptive norms. Descriptive norms provide
information on how most people in a situation
behave and inform individuals of the most effec-
tive or appropriate behavior (Cialdini 2003).
Social role models, individuals demonstrating or
communicating how a particular behavior should
be performed, can be used similarly (Lehman and
Geller 2004). The use of norms is most effective
when social proof the number of other people
performing the desired behavior is high or the
number of people behaving in an undesirable way
is low (Cialdini 2003).
Goal setting, commitment, and feedback are
also informational intervention tools. Goal setting
is a tool where individuals set goals for future
behavior and is most effective when used in com-
bination with commitments and feedback
(McCalley and Midden 2002). Asking individuals
to commit to performing certain behaviors has
also been shown to be an effective intervention
4 Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development
tool (Lehman and Geller 2004). Public and writ-
ten commitments are more effective than personal
and oral commitments (Bell et al. 2001). Feed-
back, information on the effects of a behavior
provided after the behavior is performed, has
also shown positive results, especially in regard
to energy savings (e.g., Van Houwelingen and
Van Raaij 1989). Feedback is most effective
when individually tailored and given frequently
(Abrahamse et al. 2007).
Structural Intervention Tools
Structural tools change the costs, benets, and
availability of different behaviors by modifying
physical, technical, and organizational systems,
legislation, and price mechanisms (Steg and
Vlek 2009). These tools impact perceptions of
control (Klöckner and Blöbaum 2010) and may
play a role in changing attitudes and motivation.
Structural tools are most effective with behaviors
that are costly and difcult to perform (Steg and
Vlek 2009) and when dealing with habits
(Verplanken and Wood 2006).
Structural tools often use reinforcements such
as rewards or punishment to promote behavioral
change (Lehman and Geller 2004). However,
reinforcements can reduce intrinsic motivation
related to the behavior and have negative conse-
quences for the long-term effects of an
intervention (see McKenzie-Mohr and Schultz
2014, for review). Interventions rewarding pro-
environmental behavior are generally more effec-
tive than those punishing environmentally harm-
ful behavior (Geller 2002).
A nudge can be both an informational and a struc-
tural intervention, but it does not include eco-
nomic incentives or the banning of behavior.
Four of the most common and effective nudging
tools are (1) deliberate use of default settings,
(2) considerate simplication and framing of
information, (3) changes in physical environment,
and (4) eliciting of social norms (Lehner
et al. 2015).
Evaluating Behavior Change Programs
The effectiveness and efciency of behavior
change interventions is measured using the fol-
lowing indicators: changes in behavioral determi-
nants, changes in behavior and associated
environmental impact, and the resource use of
the program (McKenzie-Mohr 2011; Steg and
Vlek 2009). A key for successful behavior change
programs is nding the right tools for the targeted
behavior and population. When there are both
motivational and contextual barriers to behavioral
adoption, combining several intervention tools
Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development, Table 1 Intervention tools and empirical applications
Intervention tool Case example
Prompts Recycling (Austin et al. 1993)
Commitment Transportation habits (Matthies et al. 2006)
Goal setting Energy savings (Becker 1978)
Social model Energy conservation (Nolan et al. 2008)
Feedback Energy conservation (Abrahamse et al. 2007)
Change in physical, technical or organizational systems Cycling rates (Pucher and Buehler 2008)
Legislation Plastic bags (Ritch et al. 2009)
Price mechanisms Public transport (Fujii and Kitamura 2003)
Default settings Green electricity (Pichert and Katsikopoulos 2008)
Simplication and framing of information Food choice (Wansink et al. 2012)
Changes in physical environment Food waste (Kallbekken and Sælen 2013)
Eliciting social norms Hotel towel use (Goldstein et al. 2008)
Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development 5
may result in the most impact (Klöckner 2015).
New technological tools such as persuasive tech-
nology also hold promise, as they combine infor-
mational and structural tools and tailor
interventions to specic target groups (Steg et al.
2012). Smartphones apps and games, for instance,
can reach large numbers of individuals and poten-
tially increase the effects of behavior change inter-
ventions (Klöckner 2015).
Successful Behavior Change
Government agencies, businesses, universities,
and intergovernmental organizations have used
behavioral science theories and methodology to
design effective behavior change policy and pro-
grams. Until recently, most behavior change inter-
ventions were applied in developed counties with
high per-capita consumption rates. More recently,
interventions have been applied in developing
country contexts to increase effectiveness of sus-
tainable development projects (World Bank
2015). Interventions have targeted a range of
behaviors, including water and energy consump-
tion, green purchases, waste generation, and trans-
portation (Table 2). In the next section we discuss
how and where behavior change interventions
have been applied and highlight examples of suc-
cessful interventions.
Interventions in Governments and
Governments, municipalities, and public organi-
zations are increasingly incorporating behavioral
science into policy making and regulations
(OECD 2017). The government of the United
Kingdom has an institution dedicated to the appli-
cation of behavioral sciences and similar initia-
tives exist in Denmark, Australia, the United
States, Singapore, and Canada (UNEP 2017). In
California, the US Environmental Protection
Agency used behavior change tools (including
norms and addressing barriers) to reduce health
effects associated with the consumption of a con-
taminated sh species (McKenzie-Mohr and
Schultz 2014). In Toronto, Canada, a multi-
agency partnership launched anti-idling programs
that employed personal contact, prompts, and
commitments to reduce emissions associated
with vehicle engine idling. These strategies
reduced idling by 32% and the length of idling
by 73% (McKenzie-Mohr et al. 2012). In the
USA, over 6.2 million households have received
the Opower reportthat uses personalized feed-
back, social comparisons, and energy conserva-
tion information to reduce residential energy use
(Allcott and Rogers 2012).
Interventions at Higher Education Institutions
Higher education institutions play a crucial role in
fostering sustainable development and have
implemented behavior change interventions
(Filho 2011). Higher education institutions imple-
ment behavior change interventions through
resource use competitions and campus-based sus-
tainability programs. Nationwide competitions,
such as RecycleMania, and university-organized
energy and water conservation challenges, target
resource consumption by employing public com-
mitments, prompts, and social norms to promote
sustainable behaviors. These types of competi-
tions have seen reductions of 28% of electricity
use and 36% of water consumption (Petersen
et al. 2015).
Interventions at Businesses and Organizations
As companies and organizations increasingly pri-
oritize corporate social responsibility and organi-
zational sustainability, there has been an increase
in efforts to engage employees and customers in
behavior change programs (see Young et al. 2015,
for a review). Organizations use behavior change
strategies to address issues related to material use
and disposal, commuting to work, and water and
energy use. Energy conservation behaviors in the
workplace have been targeted through online
feedback and controls (Yun et al. 2017),
gamication (Gandhi and Brager 2016), and
goal setting and information (Mulville et al.
2017). Businesses have also applied behavior
change tools to encourage resource conservation
among customers and guests. Norm-based
reuse messages in hotel bathrooms, for instance,
6 Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development
led to a 2540% increase in towel reuse by hotel
guests (e.g., Goldstein et al. 2008).
Interventions at Intergovernmental
Behavior change theories and approaches have
also been employed by intergovernmental organi-
zations. The United Nations Environment Pro-
gramme (UNEP 2017), the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD 2017), the World Health Organization
(Jenkins 2003), and the World Bank (World
Bank 2015) have reports on the use and applica-
tion of behavioral insights for sustainable devel-
opment. The United Nations engages several
Behavioral Science Advisors and launched the
UN Behavioural Initiative (UNBI) to integrate
behavioral science into UN programming and
operations (UNDP 2016). UNBI has applied
behavioral science in China to increase e-waste
recycling (norms and commitments were used)
and in Bangladesh to increase use of public bus
transportation during peak commuting hours
(using electronic prompts) (UNDP 2016).
Critiques of Behavior Change for
Sustainable Development
While behavioral science can successfully inform
interventions for sustainable development, there
can be unintended consequences on behaviors
outside the scope of the intervention. Negative
spillover effects occur when interventions have
counterproductive effects or when the adoption
of one pro-environmental behavior is associated
with a reduction in a different pro-environmental
behavior for example, when the purchase of a
fuel-efcient vehicle results in more overall driv-
ing (Klöckner et al. 2013).
The ethicality of some interventions has also
been debated. Nudges receive criticism for
lacking transparency, as nudges seek to inuence
thinking and choice making without awareness of
the individual (Lehner et al. 2015). This tool is
viewed as more ethical when individual choice is
not restricted and when individuals are able to
identify when and how nudges are applied.
Additionally, some scholars deem the individ-
ual behavior change approach too simplistic to
Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development, Table 2 Examples of successful behaviour change interventions
Intervention tools
used Results
Costa Rica Household
prompts; social
3.75.6% reduction in monthly water consumption
Denmark Mobile phone
Nudging 20% point increase in mobile phone repair; 7x increase
in purchase of second-hand mobile phone
Smart Grid
Default settings 2.5x more likely to accept Smart Grid installation in the
opt-out condition
Kenya Water
Nudges Uptake rates rose from 10% to 60%
India Daily
Incentives 13% point increase in commuters traveling before peak
Japan Sustainable
Feedback; goal-
7.5% reduction in car use; 68.6% increase in public
transportation use
United States Recycling Commitment;
25.440% increase in paper recycling
South Africa Ofce energy
13.5% reduction in energy use
Denmark Vegetable
Nudges 61.3% increase in sales of pre-cut vegetables
OECD (2017), UNEP (2017)
Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development 7
solve complex environmental problems at the
scale required. Scholars have questioned whether
individual behavior change can effectively tackle
problems like climate change or whether these
problems require more systemic and structural
transformations of society (Csutora 2012). Others
argue that voluntary behavior change is too gentle
and does little to change the status quo of
unsustainable consumerism (De Young 2014).
Nevertheless, many point out that small behavior
changes accumulate, create demand for systemic
change, and can lead to bottom-up momentum for
sustainable development (Stoknes 2015).
Solving todays environmental problems will
require large-scale shifts in human behavior.
McMenzie-Mohr and Schultz state that behav-
iour change is central to the quest for a sustainable
future(2014, p. 35). Behavioral theories and
models focused on motivational and contextual
factors provide structure to the eld of behavior
change for sustainable development by providing
explanations and rationale for how people make
decisions and act on them. These theories inform
experiments on pro-environmental behavior
change and the development of informational
and structural tools that foster the adoption of
sustainable behaviors. Behavior change programs
that reference behavioral theory, carefully
research selected behaviors, and utilize a range
of tools to target barriers and benets will be
most successful for fostering behavioral change
for sustainable development.
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10 Behaviour Change for Sustainable Development
... Similarly, Jackson (2002) reviews a great number of behavioral science models but from a consumer behavioral perspective. Other literature (Bögel & Upham, 2018;Klaniecki et al., 2018;Schill et al., 2019;Steg & Vlek, 2009;Wallnoefer & Riefler, 2021) that reviews and clusters behavioral science approaches have been added through Google Scholar searchers. ...
... They distinguish between 1) homo economics and quasi rationalityfocused approaches (linear), 2) context-focused approaches, and 3) adaptive systems approaches (closed). Klaniecki et al. (2018) focus on behavioral change interventions and categorize those into three types; information, context, and nudging. Though they state that nudging can contain elements of information and context. ...
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Interdisciplinary research is becoming increasingly important to tackle complex problems such as climate change. Human behavior is one key factor that needs to be considered to find solutions to these complex problems. Working in an interdisciplinary field requires scientists to engage in tedious studies of disciplines that are beyond their core expertise. This is also true for the selection of behavioral science approaches best suitable for the research question at hand. To provide a concise introduction to behavioral science, this article provides four clusters of behavioral science approaches. These four clusters, in conjunction with the further developed 4 DBC framework, can assist the analyst in systematically selecting the most suitable behavioral science approach. To illustrate the application of the framework, the examples of cycling and Practice Theory are used.
... Across decades, science has revealed some of the more detrimental effects that climate change has already caused as well as generated predictive theoretical models that showcase or suggest what might happen in the future if the global temperature continues to increase. Human activity and industry have clear and measurable impacts on oceans, ecosystems and biodiversity (Klaniecki, Wuropulos & Hager, 2019), and this impact is extremely negative in natureleading to abnormal alterations in oceanic life and acidity (IPCC, 2019;Lejeusne, Chevaldonné, Pergent-Martini, Boudouresque & Pérez, 2009;Pörtner & Peck, 2010;Wrona et al., 2006), a decline in or extinction of important keystone species in a variety of ecosystems and biomes (Maxwell, Fuller, Brooks & Watson, 2016;Redpath et al., 2018;Salafsky, Margoluis, Redford & Robinson, 2002), glacial melting (IPCC, 2013) and increased rates of extreme nature events such as forest fires (Lenihan, Drapek, Bachelet & Neilson, 2003) and flooding (Christensen & Christensen, 2002;Ely, Enzel, Baker & Cayan, 1993;Milly, Wetherald, Dunne & Delworth, 2002). ...
... Across decades, science has revealed some of the more detrimental effects that climate change has already caused as well as generated predictive theoretical models that showcase or suggest what might happen in the future if the global temperature continues to increase. Human activity and industry have clear and measurable impacts on oceans, ecosystems and biodiversity (Klaniecki, Wuropulos & Hager, 2019), and this impact is extremely negative in natureleading to alterations in oceanic life and acidity (IPCC, 2019;Lejeusne, Chevaldonné, Pergent-Martini, Boudouresque & Pérez, 2009;Pörtner & Peck, 2010;Wrona et al., 2006), a decline in or extinction of important keystone species in a variety of ecosystems and biomes (Maxwell, Fuller, Brooks & Watson, 2016;Redpath et al., 2018;Salafsky, Margoluis, Redford & Robinson, 2002), glacial melting (IPCC, 2013) and increased rates of extreme nature events such as forest fires (Lenihan, Drapek, Bachelet & Neilson, 2003) and flooding (Christensen & Christensen, 2002;Ely, Enzel, Baker & Cayan, 1993;Milly, Wetherald, Dunne & Delworth, 2002). ...
This thesis serves as a contribution towards the general understanding of how, when, and why environmental and sustainability-oriented games affect their players, and how they can be utilized as tools for increasing environmental literacy. It consists of three qualitative empirical research papers, where the overarching purpose has been to gain an understanding of how games can be used in strengthening the environmental literacy of their players. The results overall show that games can be effective tools for environmental education, especially regarding their innate ability to simplify and visualize complex systems and environmental issues that otherwise appear distant or invisible.
... Recently, Sustainable Development (SD) and its Goals (SDGs) [18] have been on the agenda of nations committed to achieving development without compromising the needs and the availability of resources (be it energy, materials, or water) of future generations [19]. The first step to achieving SD is to empower and build the capacity of the present and future professionals [20], be it through the lifelong learning of active professionals, be it through the inclusion of formal or informal courses that allow the young professionals to gain the required knowledge and understanding of the high multidisciplinarity and diversity of issues that must be taken into consideration and need behavioral adaptation from the stakeholders involved [21]. Thus, an interdisciplinary approach has been advocated to achieve the SDGs [22]. ...
The 10th edition of the Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality (TEEM 2022) brings together researchers and postgraduate students interested in combining different aspects of the technology applied to knowledge society development, with particular attention to educational and learning issues. This volume includes contributions related to communication, educational assessment, sustainable development, educational innovation, mechatronics, and learning analytics. Besides, the doctoral consortium papers close the proceedings book from a transversal perspective.Keywordscommunicationeducational assessmentsustainabilityeducational innovationengineeringlearning analyticsdoctoral thesis
... The emergence of blockchain technology and its cryptotoken capabilities has amplified the capacity to use these tools at scale (Lee, 2019). The potential opportunities from using cryptotokens as behavior change tools to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN General Assembly, 2015) must be explored fully (Wuropulos and Hager, 2016). Many current blockchain projects critically lack usage of existing social impact evidence in design and management, posing a threat to inflict significant harm. ...
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To be successful and sustainable, social impact programs require individuals and groups to change aspects of their behavior. As blockchain-based tokens are increasingly adopted to target social outcomes, it is important to properly define these activities as “behavior change interventions” and assess their design and management as such—otherwise, there is significant risk of possible unintended consequences. Designing tokens as behavior change interventions requires new constructs beyond those currently in use to model the interdependence of digital and social ecosystems, and integration of token engineering, cryptoeconomics, and behavioral skill sets to test token designs within various ecosystems. New token design and testing protocols that integrate behavior measures around the targeted social outcomes are needed, to fill a critical gap in current practice. Hence, new standards, operational frameworks, and ethics are needed to guide the use of tokens at scale, as tools to achieve social impacts such as attaining the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Meeting these needs requires a collaborative approach between token design actors (computer scientists, cryptoeconomists, token engineers, etc.) and social impact practitioners who will be increasingly called upon to use tokens as behavior change tools. This paper begins to identify common ground and address areas to further develop research and practice of tokens being used for social impact.
... Globally, government authorities, intergovernmental organisations, educational institutions, businesses and organisations have begun to adopt behavioural science theory and methodologies to design and implement effective behaviour change policies and programmes (Klaniecki et al 2018). Most behaviour change interventions have primarily been applied in developed countries with high per-capita consumption rates. ...
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The construction industry is one of the largest consumers of natural resources. Improving the sustainability of construction industry activities is therefore key to mitigating the negative impact of the industry on the environment. Given the extent of the environmental challenges faced by many countries, the transition towards the adoption of sustainable alternatives in the construction industry must include dimensions of changing human behaviour. These dimensions include influencing the capability, opportunity, and motivation to adopt the desired change in behaviour. In order to improve the adoption and implementation of sustainable practices within the construction industry, the behaviour change processes of stakeholders need to be considered. This study describes how the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model and Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) were used to identify the barriers to and drivers of sustainable construction practices by construction industry stakeholders. The study included a structured questionnaire survey completed by 108 construction industry stakeholders and indicated a need to improve the capability, opportunity, and motivation amongst construction industry stakeholders to facilitate the adoption of sustainable construction practices. The questionnaire identified that an increase in the awareness, knowledge, interest, and demand for sustainable construction will facilitate the adoption thereof. Additionally, providing training and access to education on best practices for sustainability can positively influence the behaviour of stakeholders and improve their confidence in implementing sustainable construction practices. Economic factors such as the cost of implementing sustainable solutions and the perception of the economic and social benefits of sustainable construction were identified as the critical barriers. These barriers and drivers are mapped to five TDF domains (knowledge, skills, social influences, beliefs about capabilities, and beliefs about consequences), which can be targeted for behaviour change amongst construction industry stakeholders in future interventions.
... Through these models, behavior can be defined as a movement that is exhibited in response to an intention affected by internal or external influencing factors such as attributes, norms, and control. Thus, behavior, which includes motivational intention, is different from habit, which proceeds unconsciously without being adjusted by behavioral intention [33]. In MOA and NOA, consumer motivation is explained as an influencing factor in embodying behavioral intention [31,32]. ...
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A sharing economy is an alternative system that enables pro-environmental behavior by improving efficiency through product-sharing. However, some motivations and requirements for doing laundry can increase the environmental burden, which suggests that the laundry machine (LM) sharing is not necessarily sustainable. This study clarifies consumer motivations for laundry usage and assesses the feasibility of environmentally sustainable laundry behavior through LM-sharing. Consumer surveys were conducted in Tokyo and Bangkok with different LM-ownership proportions. Single-person households were targeted, reflecting Tokyo’s demographic situation. A scenario analysis was conducted to evaluate the effect of routine laundry behavior changes on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Three main results emerged. First, Tokyo respondents used a coin-operated laundry machine (CL) for convenience, which private washers cannot provide, while Bangkok respondents used it for basic laundry needs. Consequentially, the Tokyo respondents, who used CLs, were responsible for more than three times the GHG emissions of Bangkok respondents. Second, the group using both private LM and CL was the least GHG-efficient group, regardless of region. Third, laundry behavior can reduce GHG emissions if consumer requirements are decreased. The results show that there is environmental significance in adopting LM-sharing for sustainable consumption and production systems that reflect regional characteristics.
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Purpose This study aimed to assess whether sociodemographic variables explain significant differences in attitudes towards transforming academic conferences into more sustainable events. Design/methodology/approach An analytical model of participants' attitudes towards sustainable conferences based on literature review as well as the theories of reasoned action and planned behaviour was developed and applied to a sample of 532 surveyed individuals from 68 countries who regularly attended academic conferences in the last five years prior to 2020. The results were refined using statistical and computational techniques to achieve more empirically robust conclusions. Findings Results reveal that sociodemographic variables such as attendees' gender and age explain differences in attitudes. Women and older adults have stronger pro-environmental attitudes regarding event sustainability. On the other hand, attitudes towards more sustainable academic conferences are quite strong and positive overall. More sustainable events' venues, catering, conference materials and accommodations strongly influence attendees' attitudes towards more sustainable conferences. The strength of attitudes was weaker towards transportation. Research limitations/implications First, the analyses focused on only aspects related to the attendees' attitudes. Assessing their real behaviour would complete this research. The geographical areas defined by the U.N. and used in this study have the limitation of combining highly developed countries and developing countries in the same geographical area, for example, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific. Practical implications Specific socio-demographic variables' effects on attitudes towards sustainable academic conferences can indicate how organisers can best promote these events according to attendees' characteristics and develop differentiated marketing campaigns. For women and older adults, event sustainability should be emphasised as a competitive strategy to promote events and attract these audiences. Marketing strategies for younger attendees (under 30 years old) could focus on technology, networking or attractive social programmes. Sustainable venues, catering, conference materials and accommodations are easier to promote. Event organisers should encourage participants to make more environmentally friendly decisions regarding more sustainable event transport. Social implications A strategy based on promoting the event as contributing to sustainable development could educate attendees and put them on the path to developing stronger positive attitudes regarding sustainability and more sustainable behaviours. Sustainable academic conferences can educate students, organisers, service providers and delegates through their involvement in sustainable practices. Originality/value To our best knowledge, this research is the first to assess whether sociodemographic variables explain significant differences in attitudes towards the sustainable transformation of academic conferences.
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When looking for energy-saving solutions, one should bear in mind the savings that can be obtained through behavioral changes. The article shows that a simple incentive can have a statistically significant impact on employees’ pro-ecological behavior. First, the introduction refers to the general perspective of striving for a global implementation of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). Additionally, the stakeholders’ point of view is presented, based on reports submitted to the Responsible Business Forum competition (Poland). The two motivating trends are referenced, which include increasing the contribution of powering office buildings to the overall energy demand and increasing the appreciation of behavioral changes as alternatives or complements to technological solutions in pursuit of the SDGs. The following sections of the article present an experiment carried out at one faculty of the University of Warsaw, which consisted of checking the effect of the incentive to lower the temperature in offices after working hours on the actual change in the behavior of the employees. After several weeks of observation of end-of-day thermostat settings in several dozen offices, a statistically significant effect was found. This proves that even simple incentives can lead to pro-ecological behavioral changes.
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Participation has been touted as a critical instrument for both citizen empowerment and responsibility-sharing in sustainability. In architecture, participation allows for the progression of green building to sustainable habitation that integrates environmental, economic, and social dimensions. However, participation in practice rarely delegates meaningful decisions to marginalized groups and is mostly a one-sided process. This study seeks to investigate which factors of the participatory method afford both empowerment and behavioral change to a sustainable lifestyle in low-income groups. To do so, a case study of designing a social housing estate in Hungary is presented, where participatory design was used to codevelop a building that considers and adjusts to the sustainable lifestyle envisioned by the future residents. A coding engine based on the concept of pattern languages was developed that places conditions and experience of everyday activities at the center of design, translating them to spatial features. As a result, a focus group of social housing tenants and cohousing experts were able to define explicit shared spaces, allocate square meters to them, and articulate legible design criteria. Of the early-stage design decisions, 45% were made with or by the participants, and the bilateral process made it possible to convince the tenants to adopt a more sustainable habitation format.
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Urbanization is increasingly compromising residents’ connection to natural habitats and landscapes. With established relationships between human–nature connection (HNC) and pro-environmental behaviour and human well being, there are calls for effective interventions to strengthen HNC in urban settings. However, much of this research has operationalised HNC in narrow psychological terms. Based on an embodied framework of urban human–food connection (HFC) as a specific dimension of HNC, this article explores the role of active urban gardening in promoting different types of internal and external HFC and their link with pro-environmental food behaviour (PEFB). Based on a quantitative survey in Germany addressing vegetable gardeners in Munich ( N = 254), a principal component analysis extracted four components of HFC comprising external body-related HFC (i.e. immediate urban garden-body activities: food harvesting and experiential food interaction) and internal mind-related HFC (i.e. immediate urban garden-mind activities including food discovery as well as food consciousness). These were found to be statistically related to one another. Furthermore, regression analysis revealed that food consciousness through concerns on food consumption and environmental impacts as well as food as part of life attitude as an internal HFC is the sole predictor of PEFB. The study suggests an embodied HFC model emphasizing the need for local body- and mind-based nature connections for fostering earth stewardship. Future research should explore the relationship between inner dimensions of nature connectedness and external behavioural change to enable transformations towards sustainability.
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Office workers tend to waste energy at work due to little motivation for saving energy. This study investigates the effectiveness of online feedback (e.g., self-monitoring, advice, comparison) and control strategies (e.g., online remote control, scheduled control) that can promote voluntary energy conservation in the workplace. Eighty office workers were divided into four groups, and feedback and control interventions were field-tested for 9 months. Baseline data was collected for 14 weeks; different interventions were given to the four groups for 13 weeks and then removed from the groups for 11 weeks. During and after the interventions occurred, the groups that had online controls achieved more energy savings than the groups that had no online controls. While there were no statistical energy savings with computer usage before and after the intervention, the monitor, light, and phone devices showed significant savings as a result. Surveys and interviews were also conducted after the experiment to learn the participants’ behavior and intentions. The findings discussed are based on their responses.
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Significance The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions while unhealthy diets and high body weight are among the greatest contributors to premature mortality. Our study provides a comparative analysis of the health and climate change benefits of global dietary changes for all major world regions. We project that health and climate change benefits will both be greater the lower the fraction of animal-sourced foods in our diets. Three quarters of all benefits occur in developing countries although the per capita impacts of dietary change would be greatest in developed countries. The monetized value of health improvements could be comparable with, and possibly larger than, the environmental benefits of the avoided damages from climate change.
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Available for free at: We analyze the environmental impact of household consumption in terms of the material, water, and land-use requirements, as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, associated with the production and use of products and services consumed by these households. Using the new EXIOBASE 2.2 multiregional input-output database, which describes the world economy at the detail of 43 countries, five rest-of-the-world regions, and 200 product sectors, we are able to trace the origin of the products consumed by households and represent global supply chains for 2007. We highlight the importance of environmental pressure arising from households with their consumption contributing to more than 60% of global GHG emissions and between 50% and 80% of total land, material, and water use. The footprints are unevenly distributed across regions, with wealthier countries generating the most significant impacts per capita. Elasticities suggest a robust and significant relationship between households’ expenditure and their environmental impacts, driven by a rising demand of nonprimary consumption items. Mobility, shelter, and food are the most important consumption categories across the environmental footprints. Globally, food accounts for 48% and 70% of household impacts on land and water resources, respectively, with consumption of meat, dairy, and processed food rising fast with income. Shelter and mobility stand out with high carbon and material intensity, whereas the significance of services for footprints relates to the large amount of household expenditure associated with them. Read the full text article at:
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"Campus Conservation Nationals" (CCN) is a recurring, nation-wide electricity and water-use reduction competition among dormitories on college campuses. We conducted a two year empirical study of the competition's effects on resource consumption and the relationship between conservation, use of web technology and various psychological measures. Significant reductions in electricity and water use occurred during the two CCN competitions examined (n = 105,000 and 197,000 participating dorm residents respectively). In 2010, overall reductions during the competition were 4% for electricity and 6% for water. The top 10% of dorms achieved 28% and 36% reductions in electricity and water respectively. Participation was larger in 2012 and reductions were slightly smaller (i.e. 3% electricity). The fact that no seasonal pattern in electricity use was evident during non-competition periods suggests that results are attributable to the competition. Post competition resource use data collected in 2012 indicates that conservation behavior was sustained beyond the competition. Surveys were used to assess psychological and behavioral responses (n = 2,900 and 2,600 in 2010 and 2012 respectively). Electricity reductions were significantly correlated with: web visitation, specific conservation behaviors, awareness of the competition, motivation and sense of empowerment. However, participants were significantly more motivated than empowered. Perceived benefits of conservation were skewed towards global and future concerns while perceived barriers tended to be local. Results also suggest that competitions may be useful for "preaching beyond the choir"-engaging those who might lack prior intrinsic or political motivation. Although college life is distinct, certain conclusions related to competitions, self-efficacy, and motivation and social norms likely extend to other residential settings.
As regulated energy consumption in buildings is reduced; the proportional importance of unregulated energy consumption increases. Reducing unregulated energy use in the commercial office requires an understanding of the factors that influence workplace behaviour. To date these factors have been assumed to be similar to those that influence behaviour in the home. However, the social dynamics of the workplace are different to that in the home. This study examined the degree to which theories of behaviour change generated largely in a domestic building setting could be used as the basis for designing interventions to reduce unregulated energy consumption in the workplace. The study examined the unregulated energy consumption of 39 workers engaged in office type activities in two separate locations. Following a 100 day monitoring period, three behaviour change interventions were developed and their impact measured over a 100 day period. Results from the study found, on average, an 18.8% reduction in energy use was achieved. Furthermore, by comparing pre and post intervention responses to an environmental questionnaire it was evident that savings were realised without significant changes to pro-environmental attitude or perceived social norms, which may have implications for energy saving interventions in the commercial sector.
If one does not look into the abyss, one is being wishful by simply not confronting the truth about our time. … On the other hand, it is imperative that one not get stuck in the abyss. Robert Jay Lifton (1986) Introduction Listening to climate change communicators, advocates, and scientists, there is a growing frustration that politicians and the public don't pay more attention to the issue. In their attempts to ring the alarm bells more fiercely, many are tempted either to make the issue scarier or to inundate people with more information, believing that if people only understood the urgency of global warming, they would act or demand more action. When the desired response then fails to materialize, they get disappointed, yet plow ahead undeterred. Surely, if people aren't getting the message, we must give it more loudly! Yet is “not getting the message” really the problem? And is scarier and more information the answer? Almost every new story about global warming brings more bad news. In 2005 alone, people opened the morning papers to stories that warming could be far worse than previously projected, that our emissions are committing us to warming and sea-level rise for decades to centuries even if we could stop all of them point-blank, today. Increasingly urgent is the news about the rapidly accelerating melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice shields.
This study evaluates the energy patterns of 137 individual plug loads (desktops, laptops, monitors, and task lights) collected in a California office building over two years, and the effects of a behavior-based intervention on a subset of these devices to reduce plug load energy consumption. An analysis of the data reveals that desktops consume the most power per person and demonstrate the widest range of power consumption, and that occupants are more likely to turn equipment off before a longer break from the office than overnight during the week. Much of the literature on reducing commercial plug loads is focused on technology-based solutions, while the literature on changing occupant behavior is focused on residential occupants. Multiple studies show that non-financial incentives, such as games, can motivate behavior change. An online sustainability game, Cool Choices, was initiated on-site with 30 occupants, where players competed on teams to earn points for completing resource-saving actions. The analysis revealed that because occupants were already engaging in relevant energy saving behaviors (e.g. turning equipment off at the end of the day), there was limited opportunity for further behavior-based reductions. This study highlights the need for additional research in commercial buildings examining how to motivate occupant behavior change through non-financial incentives.
The environment is part of everyone's life but there are difficulties in communicating complex environmental problems, such as climate change, to a lay audience. In this book Klöckner defines environmental communication, providing a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the issues involved in encouraging pro-environmental behaviour.
Success of strategies for solving problems of climate change, resource efficiency and environmental impacts increasingly depend on whether changes in public behaviour can and will supplement the technical solutions available to date. A renewed perspective on existing policy tools and potential strategies for behaviour change are entering public debate that have implications for behaviour of individuals, but that also raise critical questions about the role of the government in the society and transition to sustainability.
Most programs to foster sustainable behavior continue to be based upon models of behavior change that psychological research has found to be limited. Although psychology has much to contribute to the design of effective programs to foster sustainable behavior, little attention has been paid to ensuring that psychological knowledge is accessible to those who design environmental programs. This article presents a process. community-based social marketing, that attempts to make psychological knowledge relevant and accessible to these individuals. Further, it provides two case studies in which program planners have utilized this approach to deliver their initiatives. Finally, it reflects on the obstacles that exist to incorporating psychological expertise into programs to promote sustainable behavior.