Incentives for Changing Behaviour


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Using Community-Based Social Marketing Techniques to Enhance Environmental Regulation (23 page pdf, Sustainability 2010, 2(4), 26 April 2010)

Does the publicity from “world” days change how individuals treat their environment? Or does strict regulation followed up with fines?  Or are economic tools such as road tolls or fines needed to change behaviour or comply with regulations? This article examines how tools used for marketing goods might be applied at the community level  to produce changes in behaviour which would improve the quality of the environment.

Key Quotes

“Community-based social marketing.. behavior change initiatives are most effective when they are delivered at the community level using personal contact [57]. It focuses upon removing barriers to behavioral change while concurrently promoting the benefits of change“

“Public commitments are particularly significant. .. (residents were told that their names would be publicized with the results of the program).. In the group from which a public commitment was sought, a decrease of approximately 10–20% of energy usage was reported.“

“attention must be captured to initiate behavior change.. an estimated 60% of homeowners implementing improvements  “

“Incentives are most effective where the incentive and the behavior are closely paired, and where they are visible ….the group provided with incentives increasing its recycling by 54%.“

“Prompts can remind people to engage in activities that they might otherwise forget (such as bringing recyclable bags to the supermarket) “

“narrow educational approaches (such as telling people what behaviors are environmentally beneficial, or simply that environmental disaster is looming) have not proven overly effective“

“Law is particularly effective in doing so when it requires disclosure of specific information targeted at personal beliefs, which may in turn activate personal norms “

“It is difficult to change individual behavior with information alone where barriers exist to less environmentally harmful alternatives, or where it is more convenient to engage in the harmful behavior “

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