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Philip Morris

Nudging for sustainable behavior

In 2014, smoking became illegal inside pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and most workplaces. Smokers were forced out on the streets, resulting in an increase in littering and negative environmemtal impact. How do you change littering behaviour and how can you prove the change is statistically valid?

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There are several reasons why people litter. Littering is a prime example of how people are often inconsistent in what we say we will do and what we actually do – called the intention-behaviour gap. Most people have an intention not to litter, but do it anyway – what could be the reasons for this?

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Littering behaviour, like other human behaviours, is compound and complex, and is influenced by many factors:

  • Habits: The majority of our daily actions and decisions are automatic, unconscio- us and based on our habits. This is especially true for repetitive actions, such as smoking.
  • «The path of least resistance»: Humans tend to do what is easiest. We walk the shortest path instead of following the road and throw the butt on the ground inste- ad of searching to find a trash can. Accordingly, the distance to the nearest bin is an important determinant of littering behaviour.
  • Knowledge and awareness: The knowledge and awareness of the negative con- sequences of littering affect behaviour. This is especially true in combination with personal attitudes and beliefs.
  • Attitudes and beliefs: The attitude towards your own responsibility for reduction of littering, and the belief that that your own personal actions have an impact on the environment affects your behaviour (locus of control).
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Based on knowledge about human cognition, decision making and behaviour, Mindshift conducted a series of experiments done on cigarette butt littering in a crowded urban area. Different measures were introduced to capture the attention of the smokers and to nudge them into the right behaviour.

Mindshift developed a unique methodology for securing validity and reliability in collecting and analyzing data. A huge problem facing experiments performed in natural environments is the huge natural variation due to change in weather, number of poeple present and other circumstances. Our methodology took into account these variabilities and managed us to capture the true effects of the measures. The results displayed an 208 % increase in use of the bin. This implies an estimated reduction of 1.23 million cigarette butts a year*, if the measures had been implemented throughout the city.

Picture: Data collection methods are important. The methodology and analytical approach determines how the data may be used and what explanations they can generate.

The project demonstrates the importance of attention if you want to change behaviour in a busy environment, as well as the effectiveness of nudging techniques - influencing people through targeted behavioural design.

*Estimation based on numbers from Sneipfritt indicating that 2.4 million cigarette butts are thrown on the ground every year in Oslo 

Last ned rapporten (2021) her.

Last ned rapporten fra forrige prosjekt (2020).

Introduction of nudging measures resulted in a 208 % increase in desired behaviour, i.e. share of smokers using the cigarette butt disposal bin. Extrapolating this figure to the whole of Oslo, this would imply an estimated reduction of 1.23 million cigarette butts a year*, provided the measures had been implemented throughout the city. The project demonstrated the importance of attention when change behaviour in a busy environment, as well as the effectiveness of nudging techniques - influencing people through targeted behavioural design.

*Estimate based on figures from Sneipfritt, indicating that 2.4 million cigarette butts end up on the ground every year in Oslo

Sustainability sector

Let's Talk!

Ambitious business manager with a complex issues to solve? Potential colleague who enjoy challenging old habits? Let's talk!

Anne Stokke

Anne Stokke

CEO

anne.stokke@mindshift.no

+4798238713

Andre Ruud

Andre Ruud

CTO

andre.ruud@mindshift.no

+4797569513

Bjørn Hallan

Bjørn Hallan

COO

bjorn.hallan@mindshift.no

+47 917 59 222

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