Campaigning for regenerative cities, supporting migrant entrepreneurship in Malta, or managing EU funds for a cleaner Baltic Sea – a multifaceted engagement for more sustainability sits at the core of Fiona Woo’s résumé. Her dream project: to co-design urban spaces together with local residents and businesses that keep people at the centre. Learn more about the new CSCP project manager in her own words!
How did you come about to join the CSCP?
Since my very first internship in the field of renewable energy, it has been important for me to find meaning in my work and to believe that I am contributing to making the world a better place for current and future generations. I was inspired by CSCP’s projects that tackled a wide range of sustainable consumption and production issues and its hands-on project work. Social and environmental sustainability sits at the core of my professional life, from campaigning for regenerative cities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to supporting migrant entrepreneurship in Malta to managing EU funds for a cleaner Baltic Sea. These experiences share something in common with the CSCP – namely, the motivation to create opportunities for a good life for all people. The interdisciplinary perspective I have from my academic background in economics and political science is also something I see applied by the CSCP in its work.
It is clear that sustainability informs your life and work substantially, can you explain more?
Although my professional experience so far has been mainly in environmental sustainability, my work has always been driven by a passion for social justice. When heavy metals seep into groundwater due to a nearby mine, it is local communities that struggle to access clean drinking water. When climate change causes the annual crop yield to dry up, it is farmers who lose their livelihood. The effects of environmental damage are exacerbated in already vulnerable groups that have neither disposable income nor political clout to improve their situation. Advocating for more sustainable systems in my professional and private life is my way of trying to fight these injustices.
We live in dynamic and unprecedented times. How can we ensure that sustainability is kept high on the agenda in current transformations and transitions?
In democracies, citizens speak with ballots and ballots are the currency that policy makers listen very closely to. Those ballots are informed by public discourse, so we need to inspire broadly – across demographics and communities – to get people in different corners of society and the economy to talk about sustainability in specific contexts, for example, post-pandemic recovery. The more conversations are being had about these topics, the more they gather momentum and become normalised. I think this is how we can try to keep sustainability high on the agenda – by being visible and present.
What is your sustainability dream project?
A large part of valuable real estate in urban centres is distributed disproportionately to motor vehicles – namely, roads and parking spaces. Some cities, like Barcelona, Paris and Ottawa, have run pilot schemes like car-free districts or car-free Sundays. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, other cities like Berlin have experimented with pop-up (temporary) bike lanes. Along with the obvious health and environmental benefits, turning retail areas into pedestrian zones has been shown to direct more customers into businesses, thereby boosting the local economy. My dream sustainability project is to co-design urban space together with local residents and businesses that keep people, not automobiles, in focus. My dream is not to get rid of cars but rather to distribute space more equally for communities – spaces to spend time and play in, safe spaces to walk and bike in, and spaces for public transport.
To wrap it up, what is your favourite sustainable lifestyle choice, habit or hack?
I love the feeling of gliding through the city on a bike – even a city as hilly as Wuppertal. My new route to the office takes me onto the Nordbahntrasse – an old elevated railway that has been converted into a 22km car-free track for pedestrians, cyclists and rollerblades. A dream commute!
For further questions, please contact Fiona Woo.
Collaboration is key to building sustainable businesses that leverage the full power of digitalisation processes and tools. The CSCP trained representatives of the Mittelstand Digital competence centres on how to inspire and empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate for sustainable digitalisation.
As part of Mittlestand Digital, 26 competence centres operate all over Germany. The CSCP co-leads the Competence Centre eStandards with a strong focus on the intersection between sustainability and digitalisation.
As a first step, the training module focused on updating and advancing the participants’ understanding of digitalisation and sustainability as two strongly interrelated topics. Then, the participants were trained to effectively pass on this knowledge to the SMEs that they work with.
With SMEs in mind, the workshop offered hands-on advice that can be easily replicated at an SME level. Key fields of action were described based on the following principles:
The second step was sharing practical tools in understanding specific value chains and identifying strengths as well as weaknesses with respect to sustainability. Through this exercise, the participants were trained to carry “hot and sweet spot” analyses with SME’s and thereby increase the understanding of sustainability aspects within their value chain.
Following the workshop, the participants not only have a framework to make sustainable digitalisation tangible for SMEs, but also hands-on tools to increase the sensitivity for sustainable digitalisation.
For further questions, please contact Thomas Wagner.
The intersection between digitalisation and sustainability is the centre of many discussions. While there seems to be a consensus on the need to think of the two as complementary and intertwined, it is less clear what this means for specific actors or how it can be implemented in practice. It all becomes even more complex when additional topics such as the circular economy come into play. In this short video, Patrik Eisenhauer from the CSCP and Bettina Bartz, leader of Competence Centre eStandards explain how sustainable digitalisation can enable sustainable business.
The focus of the video are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and how they can take advantage of digitalisation as a driver for more circularity.
Watch the video by scrolling down on this page (in Germany only), get inspired and become engaged!
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The video is part of a series carried out by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederafbau (KfW) bank in collaboration with the Competence Centres of the Initiative Mittelstand 4.0. The series covers topics such as, digital business models, digital processes, and artificial intelligence.
For further questions, please contact Patrik Eisenhauer.
What do consumers do with their electronic gadgets once they no longer use them? Store them in a drawer? How can we empower and enable consumers to bring their old gadgets back to the cycle? As part of the Consumer Insight Action Panel (CIAP), we have been working with three organisations that are on a journey to test circular electronics interventions in practice.
The organisations, who are members of the CIAP Electronics Club, have been working with the CSCP to gather insights on particular consumer behaviours related to their contexts and from that develop interventions and test them in the coming months.
How can we enable consumers to give back their devices, thereby increasing the device collection rate?
In the first experiment, together with refurbished electronics retailer Refurbed, we explored this question through a set of interventions related to their new device sell-back online platform. Our survey conducted with German consumers revealed that interesting areas to test and explore included the framing of the opportunity, either for its environmental benefits or for the financial benefit to the seller. Another key outcome was the need to simplify and optimise the process of preparing the gadget for return and completing the take-back process. By conducting A-B testing (a method of comparing two versions) on the first visuals that consumers see on the company’s website, we will assess which framing leads to greater smartphone returns. A new infographic will be used to assess how making it easy and fun can impact how many consumers take up the offer.
The second experiment, with producer responsibility association WEEE Forum’s member RENAS, looks at the same question, but from the approach of testing improvements to an easy and secure take-back of devices in the Norwegian market.
How can we enable consumers to prioritise repairable products, thereby supporting the rights to repair?
The third pilot host, the French organisation HOP, is focusing on a new repairability index. This index, displaying a score for how repairable a product is, is now mandatory for a range of electronic products across France. In this CIAP pilot with HOP, we are looking at the extent to which the index is influencing consumer product purchase choices and how its impact could be increased.
Through these experiments, CIAP is combining consumer insights with practical tests to explore the steps that can be taken to increase the circularity of electronics across the EU. Are you curious to hear more and exchange with us on how to pilot and upscale efficient interventions for more circularity in the electronics sector? Join us at the E-Waste World Conference in Frankfurt, on 30 November 2021!
The Consumer Insight Action Panel (CIAP) is a European multi-stakeholder initiative designed to support the transition to the circular economy by generating, applying and testing consumer behavioural insights in circular strategies on three strands of products: textiles, plastics and electronics. CIAP is a collaboration of the CSCP with Sitra and Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).
For further questions, please contact Imke Schmidt.
Photo by Andrew M on Unsplash
As the VALUMICS project comes to its end, the project team, partners and other stakeholders, came together to share and reflect on four years of joint work. The final event held in September 2021 was an opportunity to think about how to upscale the positive impact of VALUMICS beyond the project’s life cycle.
Throughout the last four years, the VALUMICS project has worked toward providing European decision makers with approaches and tools to evaluate the impact of policies and strategies for enhancing the resilience, integrity and sustainability of food value chains in Europe.
It took a holistic and causality-based system approach to capture and understand the dynamics and interactions in the food system from farm to fork actors, including other supra positioned ones, such as policy makers. If you would like to learn more about the project and its outcomes, please have a look at the diverse set of outputs on its website.
As part of VALUMICS, the CSCP has worked on analysing consumer behaviour and its role in the food system as well as find pathways for shifting consumption towards healthier and more sustainable patterns. Food is the number one driver of negative sustainability impacts generated by household consumption in the EU today, of which animal-based products, such as meat, dairy and eggs, account for more than 50% of most of these impacts, including toxicity to human health, climate change and land use.
While the majority of people declare their intention to eat healthier and more sustainably, the share of sustainable food consumption is still very low in Europe. There is a clear intention-action gap, thus the question remains: how can we close it and generate real behaviour change?
A four-part publication series authored by the CSCP and other project partners tries to answer this question by forging a better understanding of the nature, role, and peculiarities of consumer behaviour:
Would you like to take a glance at the VALUMICS publication series? Check out the video below!
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So, what’s next? The transition towards fair, healthy, and sustainable food systems is more urgent that ever. This requires solutions that are built on holistic, systemic and multi-stakeholder principles. We are actively engaged in the conversation and committed to make this transition happen quickly and on a great scale. You too? Reach out to us and let’s drive positive change together!
If you are keen on engaging in a discussion with us or have further questions, please reach out to Cristina Fedato.
Food is an essential part of our lives. Despite improvements in the quality and variety of food available to Europeans, consumption patterns still have a negative impact on the environment, the climate, and our health. Current food consumption is responsible for at least 25% of the overall carbon footprint per capita and unfair trading practices lead to economic and social imbalances.
More than ever we need to take action and move toward healthier and more sustainable food systems. To accelerate this transition, it is crucial to better understand the context and motivations behind consumer behaviour and how this may be addressed by key actors like retailers, the food industry and policy makers.
Our VALUMICS publication series focuses precisely on this. The first report focuses on food consumption behaviours and offers insights and evidence on why European consumers buy food the way they do. The second report looks at effective behavioural insights and behaviourally-informed interventions. The third report discusses learnings from three behaviour change case studies conducted by the retailer REWE. The fourth and final report discusses a set of multi-stakeholder recommendations to support consumers to behave and consume more sustainably. Watch the video for a summary of our reports!
The VALUMICS project provides key actors like European decision-makers with approaches and tools to evaluate the impact of policies and strategies for enhancing the resilience, integrity, and sustainability of food value chains in Europe.
Are you interested to read further? Then, go to our library and download the reports.
If you are keen on engaging in a discussion with us, please reach out to Cristina Fedato.
What hinders people from living up to their good intentions to eat more plant-based foods, drive less or reduce waste? Questions like this are ever relevant when it comes to endorsing more sustainable lifestyles. As part of the final event of the first round of our weiter_wirken project, 50 representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the scientific community discussed how findings from behavioural research can contribute to close the intention-action gap.
Dr. Heinrich Bottermann, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) opened the event with a welcoming speech. The panel included: Prof. Dr. Christoph Harff (Hochschule Hamm-Lippstadt), Bernd Draser (Ecosign – Akademie für Gestaltung), Manfred Belle (Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen / Eine Welt Netz NRW e.V.) and Dr. Jacinta Kellermann (Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) Landesverband Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.)
The expert panel addressed questions such as, how the intention-action gap occurs in the first place, what methods are available to overcome it, and what are the main challenges from the perspective of CSOs.
The second half of the event was used to deep-dive into the topics of behaviour change models and evaluation of behaviour change interventions. Dr. Konrad Götz (ISOE – Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung) introduced the audience to the behavioural model COM-B and demonstrated how it can be applied in practise, using the example of sustainable mobility. Erik Schäffer (ISPO – Institut für Sozialforschung, Praxisberatung und Organisationsentwicklung) explained how organisations can best measure the success of their behaviour change interventions and which aspects to consider.
Are you a CSO looking to increase your positive impact toward a sustainable, fair, and inclusive future? Behaviour change knowledge might be just the right asset for that!
To keep up to date with the latest weiter_wirken news, including information about the 2022 round, make sure to sign up to our newsletter or check the weiter_wirken website.
weiter_wirken is a cooperation project between the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), ecosign / Akademie für Gestaltung and the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen.
For further questions, please contact Jennifer Wiegard.
Although many people declare that they want to eat healthier and more sustainably, the proportion of sustainable food consumption is still shockingly low. How can we move from attitudes and intentions to actual action? How can we bring about the necessary behavioural change for more sustainable food consumption in Europe?
The VALUMICS report From Intention to Action investigates multiple options to close the intention-behaviour gap and provides behaviourally-informed recommendations for policy makers, businesses, and civil society organisations (CSOs).
Drawing on the latest research and insights on consumer evidence, including those of behavioural science, the report puts forward 14 recommendations for supporting the shift toward more sustainable and healthier food consumption patterns. The recommendations are potential actions and ideas that the targeted stakeholders could consider and build upon in their strategies.
Based on the angle of influencing and shaping food choices, the recommendations are organised into four main clusters: ‘choice environment’, ‘choice expansion’, ‘choice editing’, and ‘beyond choice’. For example, ‘choice environment’ brings together recommendations that influence choice by creating a favourable environment for sustainable food purchase, often nudging consumers in a desired direction. Recommendations in the ‘beyond choice’ cluster include broader, more systemic influences that stretch beyond the specific point and time of food purchase, for example, to financial, education, and time incentives.
Targeting food industry actors and policy makers, ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ is a choice expansion recommendation that calls for the investment, innovation and introduction of better-performing and more sustainable food options, such as plant-based proteins, insect-based products or lab-grown / 3D printed meat. On the other hand, ‘off the list’, a choice editing recommendation, boldly suggests experimenting the complete removal of products with poor sustainability performance from product portfolios and markets.
The recommendations contribute to supporting the EU in achieving its targets and goals as defined in its Farm to Fork strategy. More prominently, they support the strategy’s specific goal to ‘promote sustainable food consumption and facilitate the shift to healthy, sustainable diets’.
This report is the fourth and last in a series of VALUMICS publications focusing on food consumption analysis. The first report brings together information about the determinants that influence or drive European food consumption patterns; the second report looks into behavioural evidence that supports the shift towards more sustainable and healthy dietary patterns; while the third one outlines the learnings collected from behaviour change interventions at a retail store.
To learn more about the recommendations, please read the full report here.
For further questions, please contact Cristina Fedato.
What does it mean to live sustainably or how do sustainability goals intersect with future career choices? Over 70 teenagers and young adults engaged with these questions during our BOOM career orientation camps held in summer 2021.
The participants of the food camp built a clay oven from scratch – a new asset for the Jugendakademie Walberberg, the camp venue. During a visit at an organic local farm they collected plants, herbs, and vegetables and tried out sustainable cooking.
As part of the camp on energy and mobility, the participants were able to take home self-made solar power banks for their smartphones and built a solar charging station for e-bikes at the Sport- Natur und Erlebniscamp Edersee, the location where the camp took place.
During the camp on daily consumption, a creative and functional waste separation system was built out of scrap materials, such as pallets, pipe cuttings and waste wood. The system will now be used at Camp Edersee. In addition, the participants coloured T-shirts with turmeric and designed their own jute bags.
“The Camp was a great experience for me. After many conversations about sustainability in everyday life, I now have an idea of my path into the future.”, noted one of the participants. “I have learned more about myself and others at the camp and found my own strengths.”, said another.
The BOOM holiday camps are a creative type of job orientation camps with a strong focus on sustainability. The dates for our BOOM Camps 2022 have been set – check them out here and spread the word!
BOOM is a joint project of the CSCP and its partners Provadis GmbH and Sportjugend Hessen e.V and it is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
For further questions, please contact Marius Mertens.
What is the impact of green horticultural practices on local farmers and how does it affect the wider supply chain? How can green public procurement support farming communities but also speed up the transition to more sustainable food supply chains in general? These questions will be at the core of our GOALAN final project event on 6 October 2021 – meet us there!
During the half-day online event, the GOALAN project team together with project partners will share details on the positive impacts that sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices have had for farmers and the supply chain in Kenya.
The event will also provide a platform to discuss how green public procurement can be used as a tool to foster sustainable local development and increase the uptake of SCP practices.
Join us by registering here now!
Date: 6 October 2021
Time: 09:00-12:30 CEST
Costs: Free of charge
The GOALAN project (Green Horticulture at Laike Naivasha Project) is funded by the EU Switch Africa Green Programme and implemented by the CSCP and WWF-Kenya. The project’s focus has been the promotion of sustainable consumption and production along the Kenyan horticultural sector.
For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.