UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Behavioural Environmental Economics Team

We are a research unit of ISR staff and students who apply behavioural economics theories and techniques to promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly behaviours and choices.

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The natural environment  is in danger, and one of the main threats is our behaviour. The BEE team focuses on behavioural economics to develop solutions in order to support more sustainable behaviours, tackling climate change and promoting conservation of natural resources and biodiversity.

More on our team and activities: 

  • We develop cutting-edge research using behavioural and experimental economics insights, providing insights and guidance for policy markers and private stakeholders.
  • We train and cooperate with professionals, NGOs and policy makers, making an impact with our expertise
  • Our MSc module "Behavioural Economics and Game Theory of the Environment" offers to our students the chance to learn main theories, and then apply them for their original research projects and experiments 
  • We cooperate with UCL's Sustainability Team, developing field experiments across the campus and contributing to make UCL greener. 
Our team

Our work

Dr Lorenzo Lotti and Ms Yang Guanyu teaching training course
Advance Training of Trainers on “Behavioral Economics for the Energy Sector”

In May 2022, Dr. Lorenzo Lotti, Associate professor, program leader for the MSc in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment, and Director of the UCL Behavioural Environmental Economics Team and Ms. Yang Guanyu, PhD. candidate at UCL Energy Institute, delivered advanced training on the topic of Behavioral Economics for the Energy Sector. Twelve Participants selected by our partner, Executive Coaching and Training Institute (ECTI), from different companies, operating mainly in hydroelectric power generation and distribution sectors in Armenia took part in the training.

The training was divided into two parts, the first was about Behavioural Economics in Theory and the second explored the theme of Nudging Energy Use Behaviour, Experimental Evidence & Design. The main purpose and objective of the training was to understand the causes and consequences of human behaviour, internal and external factors impacting the decision-making process, and possible ways of influencing human behaviour.

The models, case studies and intervention toolkits presented in the course will help the participants to design targeted focused customer communication, understand the limitations of standard economic concepts and formulas when applied to real life situations and account for the rational and irrational factors influencing consumer behaviour as it relates to energy efficient and environmentally conscious choices. 

The participants in the workshop provided very positive feedback about the training design and delivery and how to enhance its practical relevance for future iterations. The UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and ECTI will continue to explore further opportunities for professional development and collaboration based on mutual interest in specific areas of the sustainability domain and the successful partnership so far.


Work related learning Lorenzo Lotti
Behavioural Seminar and Experiment at St Augustine's School

BEET organised a seminar for Year 8 students at St Augustine's Federal School which covered common topics in environmental economics from the Tragedy of the Commons to how to manage renewable resources.

Read more about the seminar here

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The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources Behavioural Marathon 2022

In February 2022, the Behavioural Environmental Economics Team ( BEET), University of Warwick and Hubbub will run a behavioural marathon which involved MSc student from UCL to get together to design behavioural interventions for 'sustianable fashion'. 

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A Nudge in the Right Direction

BEET members Dr Lorenzo Lotti and Arianna Buratto speak at the University of Warwick Festival of Social Sciences. Nudge theory is popular with governments as a means to change behaviour without explicit bans or laws. Speakers at the festival explain how it can be used to influence your habits to help save the environment.

Painting of Greta Thunberg on the side of a building
From an economist's perspective, Greta Thunberg is right. Why is it so difficult to understand? Written by BEET member Johannes Schroeten

The COVID-19 crisis has shown that humanity can make painful and impactful decisions to preserve what is at stake. Why is it then so endlessly more difficult to act on the arguably even more threatening climate emergency?

Read the full piece here.

Dr Lorenzo Lotti presents at the SEEDS (Sustainability, Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies) Annual workshop

Generosity and stability of social preferences: the effects of negative socioeconomic shock and framing

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View the slides here. 

UCL BEET is excited to announce a new member

UCL BEET is glad to announce that a new member is joining the team! Dr. Lory Barile, University of Warwick, will join us to develop new research and external engagement opportunities. Thanks to this partnership we will also set-up inter-university experiments and events, which will enrich students' experience.

Dr. Lory Barile is an Associate Professor in the Economics Department at the University of Warwick and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She received her PhD at the University of Bath and her research and expertise are in the field of Behavioural and Experimental economics, and Public Sector economics, with special focus on Environmental Economics. At Warwick, Lory is Director of Graduate Studies (Taught Degrees) and WP Co-ordinator/Lead for which she coordinates outreach activities using classrooms games and experiments to promote Economics to young pupils. Lory has also held academic positions at the universities of Bristol, Chester and Coventry. 

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Behavioural Economics Team Lead Dr Lorenzo Lotti talks at the Bloomsbury Festival: Vision Through Behavioural Economics
Dr Lorenzo Lotti has participated in this year's Bloomsbury Festival with a talk looking at how wat we see affects our aily decisions. How humans look at their futures and presenting evidence from behavioural economics demonstrating that the way in which a problem is presented might change our final answer.

A plastic bottle in the ocean
BEET support the latest Fauna and Flora International report
The Behavioural Environmental Economics Team team have recently supported Fauna and Flora International developing their report on plastic pollution in coastal Cambodia check their executive summary:

EPEE MSc students

Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment MSc students participate in Behavioural Marathon
Our Behavioural Economics and Game Theory for the Environment students participated in a Behavioural Marathon with HUBBUB. Read more here.

"Give it back, that's mine!" Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion and Status Quo blog by Arianna Buratto

How often do we hear kids scream for their toys back? Possessiveness tends to be quite common, and completely normal, among young children. Social psychologists suggest that this is a feeling which is linked to perception of self-efficacy and competence. Read the full blog here.

Behavioural Economics for the Environment presentation

Dr Lorenzo Lotti gives a presentation in Westminster on Behavioural Economics for the Environment. View the viedo here.

Lorenzo presentation
Applying Behavioural Economics to Public Services
On Friday 14th February, Dr Lorenzo Lotti presented the application of Behavioural Economics to a group of delegates from the Indian Government. 

Team member Shanali Pethiyagoda presents research

Friday 18th October: Team member Shanali Pethiyagoda ran a web seminar for the Cambridge Conservation Initiative on "Nudging recreational anglers towards more sustainable fishing (UK)". The presentation was based on research developed together with CEFAS, which sought to address some of the marine resource management challenges in the UK's marine recreational fisheries (UK-MRF). The research examines recreational anglers' behaviours, and adopts a behavioural economics approach to design targeted nudges for British anglers towards more sustainable behaviours and regualtory compliance, thereby enhancing marine resources' sustainability. Listen to Shanali's talk here. 

EPEE & SR student presentation
UCL ISR MSc students present their work at Hubbub

Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment MSc and Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc students present their disserations and Behavioural Economics theories they have learnt about at Hubbub

Hubbub are a charity looking for inspiration on things everyone can do that are good for you and the environemnt. They create environmental campaigns that inspire people to make healthier, greener lifestyle choices. 

Lotti Cambridge

Designing nudges to increase plastic collection in South East Asia (reducing plastic inflow in our Oceans)

UCL ISR Dr. Lorenzo Lotti delievered a talk at the David Attenborough Building for the Cambridge Conservation Institute (Thursday 7th November 2019).

“At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean per minute. This have mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures and damage to critical habitats such as coral reefs. Most of the plastics ending up in the oceans comes from South-East Asia: behavioural economics theories could help for developing effective nudges, enhancing collection and reducing plastics leakage".At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean per minute. This have mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures and damage to critical habitats such as coral reefs. Most of the plastics ending up in the oceans comes from South-East Asia: behavioural economics theories could help for developing effective nudges, enhancing collection and reducing plastics leakage".


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