Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Carrot or The Stick?

How do you change behavior on a long-term basis? Are rewards for new behavior important? Should personal and business behavior be addressed simultaneously?

A recent study by the European Commission, Environment DG asked these questions and looked at fourteen policies and incentive schemes in the UK aimed at promoting environmental behavior. The study suggests that future policy-makers can learn lessons from past successes and failures by understanding barriers and ways of overcoming these.

It provides seven key recommendations for encouraging environmentally responsible behavior:

1. Target audiences are more likely to adapt in line with a policy when they have been involved in its development
2. Policies need to pull in the same direction and convey a consistent message to appear legitimate to their target audience
3. Organisations need to have the relevant skills, resources and capacities to take on additional duties resulting from new policy initiatives
4. Policies are more effective when responsibility for delivery is given to locally accountable bodies
5. Policies are most effective when they simultaneously tackle several aspects of behaviour at multiple levels (a whole systems approach)
6. Effective policies must be context specific, while recognising the bigger picture
7. It is important to lead by example

For further information:

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