Motivating Low Carbon Behaviours

The Scottish Government has published a document summarising insights from research into behaviour change and communication, which have been used to inform their social marketing campaigns encouraging people to adopt low carbon behaviours.

Published on 8 November, Motivating low carbon behaviours – insights from the Scottish Government, additionally presents some results from the attitude and behaviour tracking work carried out alongside each of the Government’s social marketing campaigns.


The key findings include:

- Climate change is not the main motivator behind the adoption of low carbon behaviours. People often perceive climate change to be a distant, global problem, not relevant enough to their everyday lives to warrant continued attention and effort.

-  To influence people, you have to appeal to their immediate concerns. Health, financial gains, and improvements to the local environment should be emphasised alongside, or instead of, carbon savings.

- A wide range of influences govern each behaviour. The fewer the external influences on a  particular behaviour, such as the availability of seasonal food or bus routes, the easier that behaviour will be to adopt. Campaigns focused on behaviours with comparatively few external influences, such as saving energy or walking instead of driving for short journeys, are likely to be more successful.

- Framing behaviours within a wider picture of collective action and shared responsibility can inspire individuals to act. People are more likely to buy into green communications if the focus is on creating change together, as a community or nation. It makes individual actions seem more effective and more meaningful.

SSN is funded by the Scottish Government to promote the Low Carbon Scotland: Behaviours Framework (the Framework) and provide support to the public sector and network members with understanding and using the Individual, Social and Material (ISM) approach to help deliver carbon emission reductions as part of carbon management plans and strategies.

15 November 2016


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