Monday, September 23, 2013

Final report and policy brief are available

We are delighted to announce the publication of the final report for the project "Improving Nordic policymaking by dispelling myths on sustainable consumption” in both English and Swedish.

The Policy Brief is also available in English, Swedish, Icelandic and Danish, using the link above.

We hope you enjoy reading the reports and find them useful for your work.

We would like to thank all of you who have contributed to this project through participation in interviews, webinars, feedback at conferences etc. – your input has been invaluable. And of course thank you to the Nordic Council of Ministers for supporting and promoting this work.
Proejct team:
Oksana Mont, Eva Heiskanen and Kate Power

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Key messages from the study are published!

Lessons from Nordic Council of Ministers study “Improving Nordic policymaking by dispelling myths on sustainable consumption” are published as Policy Brief that summarises the key messages.

Reports in English and Swedish are on there way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reflections on the webinars by the WorldWatch Institute

Dear readers,
Please have a look at an interesting reflection on our webinars about "Dispelling the myth on sustainable consumption" in the blog of the WorldWatch Institute written by Alison Singer. She raises the issue that the focus on sustainable consumption, while being neccesary, is still limited and needs to be complemented by the "deep-seated" behavioural shift towards downsizing and degrowth.

Although we absolutely agree with this suggestion, as researchers we feel that we still need to develop robust theories and models and test different macro-economic scenarios in order to provide policy and decision makers with evidence-based alternatives and solutions so that they could initiate the shift to the economy and society that is less dependent on unfettered economic growth.

You will find more fascinating ideas and on-going projects about alternative ways for societal development on the homepage of "Research & Degrowth" - an academic association dedicated to research, training and awareness raising around degrowth.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Webinars have taken place Jan 22 and Feb 12

Dear all participants of the webinars
Thank you for your participation and contribution to chat.
Hope you enjoyed our presentation.
We are planning to make it available on the Internet in due time.
You are welcome to use this blog to provide your ideas, comments and recommendations.
Best, Oksana and Kate

Friday, August 31, 2012

The surprising science of motivation

The myth that appealling to people´s self-interest is the key to motivating sustainable behaviour is dispelled in this fascinating TED talk by Dan Pink. This gives a great explanation of research showing that extrinsic motivations (e.g. money) only improve performance for a certain type of mechanical tasks with clearly defined end goals. For tasks involving any level of cognitive skill or creativity, extrinsic goals will either not work or hinder performance; that means for most tasks we are faced with today, instrinsic motivations - such as autonomy, mastery and purpose - are far more motivating. Here Dan Pink talks about this research in relation to the mismatch between the 40 years of evidence from social science research and how businesses motivate performance, although the prinicples also apply to motivating changing behaviour to more sustainable lifestyles. "This is one of the most robust findings in social science, and also one of the most ignored." The good news is that linking sustainable actions and lifestyles to people´s existing values of autonomy, mastery and serving a purpose larger than ourselves is an immediately accessible way of helping to promote more successful behaviour change.

Dieticians in supermarkets help consumers make changes

Sometimes the right type of information at the right time and place can really assist consumers in changing their habits and lifestyles. This New York Times article reports on the work of dieticians in supermarkets across the USA, who assist shoppers who want to improve their health or learn how to shop and cook for specific conditions such as gluten intolerance. Dietitians give in-store consultations and store tours with customers, hold cooking classes, prepare take-home meals e.g. for dieters, take biometric screenings of customers and staff, give presentations in schools, businesses and civic events, work with merchandisers, help set up community gardens, assess products for nutritional value and provide in-store information to explain nutrional information on packaging. The service helps consumers to acheive their health goals and the supermarket chain consider the scheme invaluable to their business model. It is well known that providing generic information to the population about what they "should" do to live more healthily and sustainably is largely unsuccessful; this scheme is an example of how specific, timely, tailored, practical guidance from a trusted expert can enable real positive change (and the goals of eating healthily and maintaining healthy body weight are very relevant for sustainability too - see "Obesity as a sustainable consumption issue" for more info). This is also a great model for how businesses can help lead the shift towards healthy and sustainable lifestyles, as part of a successful business model.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The power of clear communication

In a Swedish retail shop ICA in Nyköping store manager Magnus Åberg came up with an idea to describe conventional bananas in a more precise manner. So now customers can choose between organic bananas, fair trade bananas and sprayed bananas. The sign has been there for three years, but have recently been posted on Facebook and distributed almost 4 000 times and 13 000 people liked the idea. According to Magnus Åberg the sign does influence ecological purchases.

Photo by Jens Alvin
Original article in Swedish can be found here.