Greening Household Behaviour

Overview from the 2011 Survey - Revised edition

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Developing growth strategies that promote greener lifestyles requires a good understanding of the factors that affect people’s behaviour towards the environment. Based on periodic surveys of more than 10 000 households, this publication presents responses from the most recent round of the OECD survey implemented in 2011, in 5 areas (energy, food, transport, waste and water) and 11 countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The survey provides a common framework to collect unique empirical evidence for better policy design. Analysis comparing the data across countries, policy conditions and household characteristics reveals which measures most effectively change behaviour. Each round of the survey also allows to track changes over time and to explore new emerging issues.

The new survey confirms the importance of providing the right economic incentives for influencing our decisions. The findings indicate that “soft” measures such as labelling and public information campaigns also have a significant complementary role to play. Spurring desirable behaviour change requires a mix of these instruments.

This edition completely replaces the previously posted 2013 edition.

English Also available in: French

General household attitudes towards the environment

This chapter focuses on survey findings concerning households’ attitudes towards the environment and how socio-demographic factors such as age, education or relative income relate to environmental attitudes and values. Involvement in volunteer organisations and trust in different information sources are also examined in relation to environmental attitudes. In addition, the importance of environmental concerns relative to other sets of global issues is examined, as well as the perceived importance attributed to different environmental issues such climate change or natural resource depletion. Variations in respondents’ satisfaction with different attributes of their local environment (air, water, waste, among others) are also examined. Cluster analysis is applied to the survey data revealing that the respondents can be grouped into three large categories: the environmentally motivated, environmental sceptics and technological optimists.

English Also available in: French

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