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Consumer Behaviour in the Circular Economy

CSCP takes an all-round approach on sustainable consumption. An important ingredient in making circularity work is often overlooked: Human behaviour. It’s citizens that (do not) follow recycling or take-back efforts or consumers that choose/ignore innovative circular products – the human variable plays a key role that we need to integrate in all circular design endeavours. Drawing on its core expertise in behaviour change CSCP works with partners across the board to identify, promote, and leverage consumer behaviours that support the transition to circular economy. Conversely, it analyses behaviours that hamper circularity and tries to address the barriers that people encounter on the way. Its view of behaviour change goes beyond the strict realm of behavioural interventions and towards more systematic ones. This enables CSCP to generate creative solutions that lead to the right interventions at the right stages of the life cycle – sometimes that means engaging directly with consumers in driving behaviour change, other times it means making changes on the product level.

CSCP's Consumer Insight Action Panel (CIAP) is a lighthouse initiative to foster circular behaviours at the European level. With its multi-stakeholder setup, CIAP supports the transition to circular economy by generating, applying and testing consumer behavioural insights in circular strategies for textiles, plastics and electronics. The core question that CIAP explores is: how to enable people to reuse, repair, share, recycle or lease easily and efficiently?

In the electronics sector, CIAP focuses on greater uptake of behaviours that support the lifetime extension of products, particularly take-back and repair practices for smart phones and tablets. Beyond investigating why certain consumer groups avoid take-back schemes, CIAP’s work consists of designing and testing interventions that lead to positive behaviour change. Concerning repair practices, CIAP is testing aspects such as the impact of product repairability in purchase decisions, especially if corresponding labelling is applied across the full product range.

If you are interested in how people’s behaviour influences your organisation’s (municipality, city, start-up, etc.) path to circularity, contact the CSCP. It is a non-profit think-and-do-tank that supports mainstreaming circularity by integrating all relevant stakeholders, behaviour insights and sustainable consumption expertise in the process.

For further questions, please contact Mariana Nicolau.