Consumption, innovation and the environment


  • Report: Tackling Environmental Problems with the Help of Behavioural Insights

    This report reviews recent developments in the application of behavioural insights to encourage more sustainable consumption, investment and compliance decisions by individuals and firms.

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  • Programme: Behavioural and Experimental Economics for Environmental Policy

    This project investigates how behavioural economics can inform the design of “norm-based” environmental policies and “behaviourally robust” markets for ecosystem services. This work is part of a broader effort of a project that seeks to identify areas where behavioural economics can have the greatest impact on environmental policy design.

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  • Programme: Household Consumption

    A ground-breaking OECD survey offers new insights to policy-makers on the factors that influence household behaviour towards the environment. It provides answers to the key question: How can the impact of policies encouraging greener behaviour be heightened? It also provides a deeper understanding of behavioural responses to measures and how these may differ across households and regions.

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Tackling Environmental Problems with Behavioural Insights

Green talks live Behavioural InsightsWatch the video - On 17 May, Elisabetta Cornago of the OECD Environment Directorate responsed on how governments have leveraged behavioural insights to encourage more sustainable consumption, investment and compliance decisions by individuals and firms.

Insights from the behavioural sciences – behavioural insights – can help policy makers obtain a deeper understanding of the behavioural mechanisms that contribute to environmental problems, and design and implement more effective policy interventions.

How have behavioural insights been used by governments to tackle environmental problems and which behavioural interventions have been shown to work in practice?

The presentation is based on the OECD report Tackling Environmental Problems with the Help of Behavioural Insights published on 10 May.


PUBLICATIONS and working paper

2016 The Rebound Effect in Road Transport: A Meta-analysis of Empirical Studies, Environment Working Paper

Greening Household Behaviour

Greening Household Behaviour: Overview from the 2011 Survey

Developing growth strategies that promote greener lifestyles requires a good understanding of the factors that affect people's behaviour towards the environment. Recent OECD work based on periodic surveys of more than 10 000 households across a number of countries and areas represents a breakthrough by providing a common framework to collect unique empirical evidence for better policy design.

This publication presents a data overview of the most recent round of the survey implemented in five areas (energy, food, transport, waste, and water) and 11 countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Energy and Climate Policy

Energy and Climate Policy: Bending the Technological Trajectory

Technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving environmental objectives, so it is important to understand how environmental policy design and technological innovation are linked. This is particularly true in the area of climate change where the estimated future costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are affected greatly by the technological trajectory of the economy. While we suspect that public policy can play an important role in accelerating the development and diffusion of climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies, empirical evidence in this area remains scant. This book presents a series of papers that explore the extent to which technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving climate change mitigation objectives.

Invention and Transfer of Environmental Technologies

Invention and transfer of environmental technologies

Inducing environmental innovation is a significant challenge to policy-makers. Efforts to design public policies that address these issues are motivated by the fact that innovations can allow for improved environmental quality at lower cost.

The work presented in this book is brought together in five substantive chapters: environmental policy design characteristics and their role in inducing innovation, the role of public policies (including multilateral agreements) in encouraging transfer of environmental technologies, followed by three ‘sectoral’ studies of innovation in alternative fuel vehicles, solid waste management and recycling, and green (sustainable) chemistry.

Greening Household Behaviour

Greening Household Behaviour: The Role of Public Policy

This publication presents the main results and policy implications of an OECD survey of more than 10 000 households in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.  It offers new insight into what policy measures really work, looking at what factors affect people’s behaviour towards the environment in five areas: water use, energy use, personal transport choices, organic food consumption, waste generation and recycling.