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Watch Our Online Workshop “Nudging & Beyond: Consumers Towards Circular Behaviour”

How to turn existing behavioural science and circular economy know-how into a stepwise process that makes it easier for consumers to take up circular behaviours? Conversely, how to use consumer behaviours to inform decisions at other hallmarks of the value chain? Are you curious about these questions but you missed our online workshop “Nudging and Beyond”? Watch the recording below!

The online workshop, held in November as part of the of 2020 EU Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference: Together for a cleaner and more competitive Europe, focused on how to best close the gap between favourable attitudes and actual consumption of more sustainable products and services. Food, mobility, and housing are the most impactful areas of consumption as well as the ones characterised by less durable products and higher use intensity*. Therefore, the main question is: how can we move from attitude to action and generate actual behaviour change towards more sustainable, circular behaviours? The workshop “Nudging & Beyond: Consumers Towards Circular Behaviours” approached this question from a multi-angled perspective. In a session facilitated by Michael Kuhndt, CSCP Executive Director, an outstanding line-up of speakers discussed how to enable circular behaviours among European consumers through experiments and interventions led by policy makers, business, academia, and civil society.

Speakers and topics:

  • William Neale, Advisor for Circular Economy and Green Growth, DG Environment, European Commission, emphasised the significance of the Single Market in harnessing the collective consumer power of 500 million people in order to make a real difference.
  • Oksana Mont, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, shared inspiring Swedish examples in fostering consumer circular behaviours by tapping into their ability, motivation and opportunity to act.
  • Dagmar Glatz, Product Management, Sustainability and Packaging, DM Drogerie Markt, shared approaches from the retail sector to reduce waste by minimising the usage of plastics.
  • George Bădescu, Executive director of the Association of Large Commercial Networks in Romania highlighted the measure of putting a price on plastic as a potential intervention to disincentivize plastic packaging.
  • Rosita Zilli, Deputy Secretary-General of Eurocoop, looked into consumer cooperative models and their role in fostering circular demand in the market. She spoke about making the more circular choices the easiest to make from the consumer end.

During an exchange between speakers and the participants (not part of the recording), the central question was whether the COVID pandemic has threatened sharing practices among consumers. The consensual view was that, apart from sharing home models, which are largely associated with travelling, all other sharing practices as well as the general willingness to share has either kept the same or even increased.

Reporting on the workshop during the plenary conference, Michael Kuhndt, CSCP Executive Director, emphasised two key challenges: a conceptual and a ‘scale’ one. The conceptual challenge relates to the fact that interventions to engage consumers and foster circular behaviours in Europe are still mostly based on assumptions, leading to interventions that are costly and ineffective. The “scale” challenge refers to the various successful circular economy interventions that still remain a niche. In this sense, Kuhndt underlined, “it’s crucial to normalise such initiatives and help them achieve a greater, larger impact. Ambitious policy making, such as the EU Green Deal, for example, could be a door opener to replicate and scale up such initiatives.”

CSCP’s Cristina Fedato contributed to two other sessions held during the 2020 EU Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference: “Making Textiles & Fashion Last Longer“ and „Circular Procurement“. You can watch the sessions of the conference here.

The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee and it aims to accelerate the transition to circular economy. The CSCP is part of the Coordination Group of ECESP.

For further questions, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

*European Commission Joint Research Centre