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.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Creating a fresh perspective to enhance acceptability

This advert is a great example of presenting a ´controversial´ issue positively without referring to the usual pros, cons and myths. Thought-provoking?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The eight biggest myths about sustainability in business

Myths about sustainability in the businesses world are also interesting although a little different from those that hamper policymakers.  There is some overlap - for example, the belief that ít´s too difficult, or that someone else should be taking the lead.

Sustainable wellbeing and happiness: dispelling myth 9

The Kingdom of Bhutan are working with the UN to set up an expert task force on "Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm". Their website has really useful reading lists and two-page summaries of solutions for promoting sustainability and wellbeing. This important work is also dispelling the myth that people want to earn more money and increase consumption levels to become happier. Here is a facinating 7 minute video giving some background to how Bhutan got started on the path to promoting sustainable happiness.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Sharing Economy: myth 8 dispelled

Many decision makers and consumers are convinced that 1) people in general have a deeply rooted desire to buy and own all kinds of products and services and 2) that sharing access to products or collaboratively using them is not attractive. Watch the video about a new collaborative economy emerging in the USA, where "access trumps ownership", where people make use of idling capacity of many products they have in their possession by improving the utility rate of these products and by learning how to use less and do more. Learn about TaskRabbit; Getaround; AirBnB; Vayable; and many more.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Half of Germany was running on Solar Power

Germany´s solar subsidies not only create record-breaking clean energy generation, they also dispel the myth that people are only motivated by self-interest (e.g. lower energy prices): Germans pay a bit extra for subsiding the solar industry (and this article suggests American citizens would be willing to do the same). It also shows that policies considered ´too controversial´ in some places are already up and running in others.  Good news!

Life lessons from an ad man: Rory Sutherland

This is a hilarious talk with inspiring ideas about how to create intangible wealth instead of consuming ever-more material resources, as well as some memorable examples of how to change behaviour - enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

From behaviour to environmental policy and back

On May 4 2012, DG ENV/DG SANCO organized a workshop “From Behaviour to Environmental Policy, and Vice Versa” with the goal to explore the available scientific evidence about behaviour and the most recent behaviour-driven policy applications with a special focus on the environment. Oksana Mont, representing the European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production at the European Environmental Agency and the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Sweden, contributed to the workshop with presentation. Oksana argued that information provision as the main tool of the current SCP policy is insufficient to affect consumer behaviour. The change has to be systemic lead by pro-active policy making and supported by infrastructure that enables sustainable lifestyles, by business models furthering sustainable consumption patterns and levels and by changes in peoples’ values. In instigating the necessary change, framing of messages of SCP policies is vital: in addition to emphasising the personal benefits of consuming more sustainably, policymakers need to strengthen the appeal of collective, pro-environmental and pro-social goals thereby paving the way for and embedding sustainable societal values. New SCP policies will be more efficient and effective in changing values when introduced within the windows of opportunity offered by the evolving focus of the public debate. Oksana further underlined the importance of dispelling the persistent myths that have penetrated the mainstream policy and discourse on sustainable consumption. She highlighted deliberative democracy, choice architecture and social marketing as essential, but underutilised mechanisms for advancing sustainability. In conclusion, Oksana emphasised the need for strategic roadmaps to operationalise emergent visions of sustainable societies.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The intention with this blog is to create discussion about consumer behaviour and myths that have penetrated modern policy making, collect supporting and opposing evidence and disseminate it , thereby contributing to more effective and efficient policy making for sustainable consumption.