Support behavioural changes through clear and consistent policies and investment
Behavioural changes are ultimately enacted by citizens and companies, but facilitated, incentivised or mandated by clear and consistent government policies and investment.
Behavioural changes do happen: from stopping smoking to limiting single-use plastics, experience demonstrates that new habits can be adopted. However, policy makers often hesitate to mandate behavioural changes for fear of public opposition or vested interests. However, public support can follow effective policies, as seen for example in Stockholm, where support for congestion charging grew from 40% to 70% in the five years following its introduction, as the availability of public transport increased.
Similarly, consumer attitudes towards sustainability can motivate the decisions of businesses concerned about public image. The private sector has significant potential to influence behavioural change through self-driven commitments and investment decisions. Ultimately, behavioural changes emerge in different contexts from a complex push-and-pull between governments, private companies, groups and individuals.