BWA Consortium Collaborative Program

Responsible Consumption Mission

The Responsible Consumption Mission led by BehaviourWorks Australia (BWA) and its partners explore how systemic behavioural public policy experiments, that support 'responsible consumption', could have a substantial impact on transitioning Australia's material-footprint*.

It is part of the BWA Consortium, which has a focus on identifying shared policy challenges between partners and tackling them with behavioural approaches. 

This Mission leverages the combined reach, resources and expertise of the following BWA Consortium partners: Sustainability Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Vic), the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water, and Environment, and The Shannon Company.

*Material-footprint is a consumption-based indicator of used raw material extraction to meet the final demand of the economy.


Mission updates

What's happened so far?

In April 2021, BWA and its partners came to an agreement on the Responsible Consumption Mission and its 'problem focus': to reduce Australia's material footprint through responsible consumption. We then worked to define the Mission 'goal' and the 'focus areas': textiles, furniture and electronics/electrical items.

Between July and September 2021 we undertook Phase 1 of the Mission: Behaviour Prioritisation (see below 'Timeline of Mission Activities').

This involved identifying and working with a variety of 77 stakeholders to generate our "long-list" of 84 behaviour change challenges, and prioritising those behaviours to identify a "short-list" to take into the next phase of the mission: Intervention Co-design. The final "short-list" of behaviours were:

  1. Consumers donate/sell pre-owned (usable) fashion items
  2. Consumers swap pre-owned fashion items
  3. Consumers donate/sell pre-owned (usable) furniture
  4. Consumers acquire pre-owned fashion items
  5. Manufacturers design electrical devices for end of life recovery (e.g. disassembly, modularity, repairability, recyclability)
  6. Manufacturers design furniture for end of life recovery (e.g. disassembly, modularity, repairability, recyclability)
  7. State/Federal governments enforce warranty procurement policy for electrical devices

For more information about this see:

Behaviour Prioritisation Summary Report

Phase 2 of the Mission: Intervention Co-design was completed between October 2021 and March 2022. This involved taking a targeted group of stakeholders through a series of four workshops to refine the short-list of behaviours, understand the drivers/barriers of the behaviours, brainstorm potential intervention ideas, and finally prioritise ideas to take forward into Phase 3: Trialling.

The final intervention chosen was:

  • Transforming the concept of second-hand stores to improve customer perceptions and experience, and reduce barriers to purchasing clothing and furniture second-hand by individual consumers.

Whilst this targets an individual consumer behaviour, the intervention is at the level of the retailer, and so attempts to adjust the system in order to create change.

For more information about this, see:

Intervention Co-design Summary Report

What's happening now?

We are currently in Phase 3: Trialling the selected interventions. We are excited to work with Salvos Stores to understand and evaluate their efforts to transform their stores.

For more information, visit the Trialling sub-page.

Help us improve this initiative

Has the BWA Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration made a difference for you?

Please feel free to visit the program web page if you want to refresh your understanding of the program or access key reports (see below) before proceeding.

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