Communication tools can foster greener behaviour

News Published 14 Jun 2016 Last modified 22 Feb 2017
1 min read
Photo: © John Englart, Takver Flickr
Communication has a key role in supporting the implementation of environmental legislation, spurring public participation and can help foster environment-friendly behaviours to build a sustainable future. A European Environment Agency (EEA) study published today explores how communication can support legal and economic policy tools.

The EEA report ‘Communication, environment and behaviour,’ acknowledges that integrating communication in environmental policy processes could improve implementation of legislation and ultimately contribute to facilitating a transition to a resource-efficient, green economy. Used alongside other policy tools, communication can prove to be a very effective — and in many cases, cost-efficient — policy tool.

Effective communication approaches can lead to higher trust in public institutions and can enhance public engagement in environmental decision-making. A better understanding of behaviour can help improve communication by public authorities and induce people to make more environment friendly choices.

Building public trust and support is essential to the success of European environmental policies, including the European Union’s long-term objective of living well within the limits of our planet  which involves building a sustainable, low-carbon economy by 2050. The ambitious objective will require a large scale societal transition and behaviour changes.

The study, which draws on communication experiences and best practices used by the network of communicators in environmental protection agencies across Europe, explores the role of communication in environmental policy, identifies emerging tools and approaches to communicate policy messages, and looks at recent research in behavioural science to assess how it can assist in communicating environmental policies. The study also includes a set of recommendations on how public policy communication can be improved for more effective results on the ground.


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