The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 209

Environmental leapfrogging to pro-environmental behaviours. A case study of a structural strategy in Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

2 September 2021

By Jessica Clifton

It is now commonly agreed that low carbon living will be a future requirement for all countries across the globe. Anti-environmental behaviours continue to be one of the biggest barriers to transitioning to low carbon practices and therefore it is important to consider how pro-environmental behaviours can be encouraged in the early stages of development. Most research has focused on environmental values as the main driver of pro-environmental behaviour.

However, there is increasing recognition of the role that external factors play. This working paper explores to what extent structural strategies, which change the external factors influencing behaviour, can increase pro-environmental behaviours and help achieve environmental leapfrogging for low carbon cities in the Global South. By exploring a case study of a waste management strategy in Taipei, Taiwan, this paper analyses the potential impact of changing external factors on the level of pro-environmental behaviours using a behaviour science framework.

Following this, the paper uses regression analysis to model business-as-usual scenarios to analyse whether the city avoided environmental degradation and moved towards low carbon living, as defined by the circular economy framework. It was found that changing external factors increased pro-environmental behaviours, and that through this structural strategy environmental degradation was potentially avoided as the city was accelerated closer to a circular economy.

These preliminary findings suggest that changing external factors could be beneficial in encouraging pro-environmental behaviours in Global South countries. However, structural strategies might encounter significant barriers such as knowledge development on these topics in such contexts, and a greater understanding of the influence of global systems is essential to further investigate the premise.

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