Enabling sustainable choices in everyday life: 12 strategies to promote behaviour change

Solvning interlinked challenges posed by climate change, growing demand on resources as energy, water, and food requires changes in people’s behaviour and lifestyle. Here we present 12 strategies that can be used to promote sustainable behaviours in people’s everyday life including both what is commonly called nudge and think strategies. Read more about the background or jump right into the strategies below.


1. Green by default
Purpose: To enable behaviour change by making sustainable choices easy and/or by making unsustainable choices difficult.


2. Use social norms
Purpose: To encourage sustainable behaviour by informing people about the action of others.


3. Attract attention
Purpose: To use new smart/inventive ways to attract attention and remind people of the behaviour that is desired.


4. Give feedback
Purpose: To explore new and creative ways to reward people and show them why their actions matter.


5. Smart incentives
Purpose: To understand why and when incentives can be an effective way to make people start acting green.


6. Gain commitments
Purpose: To seek ways that encourage people to make a promise about changing their behaviour.


7. Create new habits
Purpose: To help people change their habits by breaking them down in smaller parts and to plan how, when and where to make changes.


8. Form teams
Purpose: To motivate people to change behaviour by working together with others towards a common goal.


9. Trigger reciprocity
Purpose: To encourage pro-social and environmental acts and commitments by giving people something unexpected.


10. Engage values
Purpose: To strengthen values that have shown to correlate with sustainable attitudes and behaviour.


11. Connect to nature
Purpose: To increase people’s motivation to act and live sustainable by strengthening their connection to nature.


12. Avoid denial
Purpose: To avoid spreading information that triggers negative attitudes towards sustainability.

This collection is a product of GAIA and was written by Caroline Petersson, who is one of the founders of Camino, a Swedish sustainable lifestyle magazine. Caroline is specialised in the psychology of sustainable behaviour.

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