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BehaviourWorks Collaboration Program

A multi-phase program of work designed to bring leading government and industry partners together to identify and apply new behaviour changes approaches to sustainability challenges.

Description of step2

A PARTNERSHIP APPROACH TO PROBLEM-SOLVING

BehaviourWorks Australia has been collaborating with some of Australia’s leading government agencies and The Shannon Company since 2011. These partnerships have helped to change the way Australians go about their lives and make decisions that benefit themselves, their families and the community as a whole.


While we have tackled a wide range of policy problems over the years, most of these behaviour change projects have been with single organisations. 


In December 2018, members of the BehaviourWorks Consortium agreed to trial a new way of working; one that would allow them to tackle larger policy problems together. At the time, Australia was in the middle of a waste crisis, so the partners agreed to focus on waste as the first priority project. 


The overarching aim of the Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration (below) is to support good public decision-making through strengthening, sharing and applying the evidence base in waste-related behaviour change.


The program, which is coming to conclusion, has demonstrated the power of the new model and several other ‘mission-based’ projects are now in development. 

Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration

Insights from 40 waste projects conducted within the partnership since 2011 (see panel right learn how you can gain access to reports on these projects) underpin the Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration.


The overarching aim of the program is to identify which behaviour change approaches will be most effective in encouraging households, businesses and the whole Australian community to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste.


Partners

The Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration involves five partners that are largely responsible for developing and implementing policy in the sector:



  • Sustainability Victoria

  • Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria

  • Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

  • NSW Environment Protection Authority (with contributions from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment).


Project team

The core current project team and contributing BehaviourWorks staff are:



Other contributors include Dr Jim Curtis, Abby Wild, Dr Brea Kunstler, Dr Julia Meis-Harris, Dr Peter Slattery, A/Prof Peter Bragge and Kim Borg.


Specific projects and current status

Three project streams (see right) are being conducted between July 2019 and December 2020, with each project drawing on elements of the BehaviourWorks Method.  


Rapid Evidence Reviews on all three research topics are now complete and can be accessed via the panels on dropdown panels on the right.


Trials

The team has engaged over 20 local governments and 12 business field trial partners to deliver recycling and CE trials. The purpose of the trials is to test ideas on what works to change behaviour, where, and for whom.


Updates will be provided as soon as possible, but if you have any questions, please contact program founder Stefan.Kaufman@monash.edu or trial leader, Jenni.Downes@monash.edu 

Program overview

Listen to a 15 minute excerpt (Mp3) from a podcast interview conducted by the Collaborating Centre for Sustainable Consumption’s Academy of Change, EU, wth program founder, Stefan Kaufman.

Research streams and outputs

Toggle the banners below to learn more about the three research streams and how to access publicly-available research outputs. 


Those with an interest in learning more about the 40+ waste projects completed by BehaviourWorks over the past 10 years, please register your interest by visiting THIS PAGE.

Kerbside Recycling Contamination

Contamination of household recycling is a persistent problem. It generally occurs when non-recyclable items are put in the recycling bin, where they can clog up recycling machines, degrade the value of recycled materials, increase the amount of waste going to landfill and the cost of recycling.


This project stream focuses on gaining a better understanding of why contamination happens in the first place and what interventions are effective.


The project began with a Stakeholder Workshop, followed by a Rapid Evidence and Practice Review (accessible below) to understand both the barriers to correct recycling and interventions that are likely to work.


Supplemented with interviews with policymakers in the partner agencies, evidence from the reviews was fed into a co-design process to select and refined a series of interventions to be tested through field trials and online experiments with local councils.


Results from the online experiments are expected in September 2020, while field trial results are expected in Dec 2020.

Rapid Evidence Review Summary

Who’s this for? Anyone who has a few minutes to discover the topline findings from the full Rapid Review. 2-page summary here.

Policy brief

Who’s this for? Policy and program analysts who want to know ‘so what’? 8-page analysis here. 

Full Rapid Review

Who’s this for? Technical and research advisors who need all the detail. 63-page review (with appendices) available here.

Business Barriers to a Circular Economy

Policymakers, businesses and researchers are increasingly recognising the opportunities – and need – to move towards a Circular Economy (CE), whereby discarded products are designed out or re-introduced into the economic system.


Economic transformation needs business innovation and there is a growing appetite to support CE business innovation in Australia.


This project focuses on building a better understanding of the characteristics of business actors along the spectrum of innovation diffusion and what may help them shift towards adopting CE behaviours and business models.


A rapid evidence review on the barriers to adoption (accessible below), and interventions that may help, were completed in 2019, along with a series of interviews with Australian policymakers and industry stakeholders (see tabs below).


This identified that business innovation in this area is a system change challenge, requiring changes along the supply and value chain and inside firms.


The field trial, which is currently underway, sets out to investigate:



  • Can evidence-based tools for circular economy business innovation (“Circular Strategies”) help businesses overcome barriers to CE activities?

  • Can these tools build “collaborative capacity” to make CE activities self-sustaining?

  • How can the tools be adapted for use in policy interventions to promote CE activities (e.g., at scale)?


Results from the trial are expected in August 2020.

Rapid Evidence Review Summary

Who’s this for? Anyone who has a few minutes to discover the topline findings from the full Rapid Review. 2-page summary here.

Policy brief

Who’s this for? Policy and program analysts who want to know ‘so what’? 8-page analysis here.

Full Rapid Review

Who’s this for? Technical and research advisors who need all the detail. 113-page review (with appendices) available here.

Consumer Labelling

Many consumer product labels in Australia claim environmental benefits and/or pro-social outcomes, such as fair trade.


The focus of this project stream is to understand whether such labels are effective, and to what extent labels promoting circular economy outcomes (such as the use the recycled content, or reparability features) might help increase producer and consumer adoption of more circular products and services.


A rapid evidence review was conducted on the potential effectiveness of labelling schemes to support circular economy outcomes, supported by policy stakeholder interviews. 


Throughout the project, the team engaged with state and federal collaboration partners, label owners, community groups, business producers and retailers to:



  • identify significant consumer product labels targeting circular economy outcomes

  • build an understanding of what determines the effectiveness of labels

  • evaluate the performance of current labels and possible improvements

  • agree on desirable improvements.


A key result of this process was identifying the need to understand what circular characteristics a hypothetical CE label should target for maximum behaviour change.


This included recyclability, recycled content, re-use and repair, as well as consumer interest and willingness to pay for circular products and services, trust in existing schemes and links to pro-environmental values as a precursor to any label scheme exploration.


A large online experiment was designed, with Results expected in August 2020.

Rapid Evidence Review Summary

Who’s this for? Anyone who has a few minutes to discover the topline findings from the full Rapid Review. 2-page summary here.

Policy Brief

Who’s this for? Anyone who has a few minutes to discover the topline findings from the full Rapid Review. 8-page analysis here.

Full Rapid Review

Who’s this for? Anyone who has a few minutes to discover the topline findings from the full Rapid Review. 48-page report here.

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