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Household consumption patterns and behaviour have an impact on stocks of natural resources, environmental quality and climate change. This is expected to increase significantly in the future. In response, governments have introduced a variety of measures to encourage people to take into consideration the environmental impact of their purchases and practices. These may include environmentally related taxes, energy performance standards for homes, carbon dioxide emission labels for cars, and financial support to purchase solar panels, among others. Nevertheless, understanding and influencing household behaviour remains a challenge for policy makers.
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:
1. water use,
2. energy use,
3. personal transport choices,
4. organic food consumption,
5. waste generation and recycling.
Greening Household Behaviour: The Role of Public Policy is an invaluable resource for all those interested by the challenging questions of what promotes “greener” lifestyles, from policy makers to individual citizens.
French version now available: Politique de l’environnement et comportement des ménages (2011).
Chapter 1. Policies, Environmental Norms and Household Characteristics
Chapter 2. Residential Water Use
Chapter 3. Residential Energy Use
Chapter 4. Waste Generation, Recycling and Prevention
Chapter 5. Personal Transport Choices
Chapter 6. Organic Food Consumption
Chapter 7. Conclusions and Policy Implications
Annex A. Methodology and Project Implementation
Annex B. OECD Questionnaire
Annex C. Research Teams Involved in the 2008 OECD Household Survey Data Analysis
Annex D. Key Policy Issues Examined
The full Executive Summary can be downloaded for free in the following languages:
How to obtain this publication
Readers can access the full version of Greening Household Behaviour: The Role of Public Policy choosing from the following options:
For further reading, see www.oecd.org/environment/households
Greening Household Behaviour