Sustainable society: citizen encouragement or policy?

Policy makers often see laws, restrictions or bans as the ultimate way towards more envrionmental friendly behaviour. Danish behavioural scientist Andreas Maaløe Jespersen believes that giving people options, rather than forcing them is a better way to enhance a change in behaviour. Jespersen, who runs the consultancy iNudgeYou, argues that nudges, through subtle visual cues that work by tapping into the subconscious have much more promising results. In a environmentally conscious sense, Jespersen is convinced that forcing people by means of policy regulations will not pay off – people need to demand to want renewable energy, he says. To nudge people means to subliminally encourage people to act in certain way, without denying them options.

Through incentives and nudges in urban space, like green footprints to a litter bin, people need to be convinced without their lives being interfered. As Jespersen says: “everyone wants to be climate conscious, as long as they don’t have to do anything about it. We have to crack that nut somehow.”


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