Centre for Behaviour Change


CBC publish evidence submitted to the House of Lords inquiry on Mobilising Action on Climate Change

22 February 2022

CBC publishes evidence submitted to the Environment and Climate Change Committee exploring behaviour change in the context of climate change (mitigation and adaptation) and the environment.


The submission focussed on addressing the following questions:

  • What can be learnt from successful and unsuccessful behaviour change interventions by the UK Government and other government actors (including in other policy or geographical contexts)?
  • What are the pros/cons and limitations of different frameworks and methods for promoting behaviour change?
  • What are the main evidence gaps relating to these frameworks and methods, and how might they be addressed?
  • What should be the respective roles of different actors in delivering behaviour change, including Government, local authorities, businesses, civil society including community groups, and individuals and households?
  • What are the main strengths and weaknesses of current Government policies on behaviour change, and what are the key improvements that could be made?
  • For behaviour change efforts, how effective is the coordination between government departments and the split of Ministerial and departmental responsibilities, and are sufficient resources in place (staff and budgets)?

Summary of key points:

  • Past government interventions have limitations for learning what works, including insufficient use and reporting of behavioural theory and frameworks and systems approaches.
  • Practices associated with successful interventions include: engagement and representation of the people whose behaviour the intervention seeks to change; use of theory and frameworks to understand current behaviour and design interventions; and considering implementation at the outset.
  • Of many existing behaviour change frameworks used in policy contexts, few meet criteria of being comprehensive, coherent, linked to a model of behaviour, and useable without specialist training. The Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) framework meets all of these criteria.
  • Government policies need to target a much wider range of behaviours to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment, be joined-up, and consistently reflect best practice in designing interventions. This is limited by insufficient levels of coordination and resource for behaviour change across Government.
  • Key policy improvements can be made through greater use of co-design and systems thinking approaches and better specification of target behaviours, theoretical and methodological frameworks, and plans for implementation and evaluation.