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OECD Publication Highlights Household Environmental Attitudes

OECD5 June 2013: An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publication, titled "Greening Household Behaviour" and published as part of the OECD series on Environmental Policy and Individual Choice (EPIC), highlights household environmental attitudes in 11 survey countries and actions that governments can implement to influence change and increase access to greener choices.

The 2011 survey for this publication looked at attitudes to the environment in 11 countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It also looked at how governments can reduce environmental impacts from their citizens. Information was collected from more than 12,000 households with a focus on energy and water use, transport, food consumption and waste generation.

Among other things, the findings demonstrate the need for appropriate economic incentives to influence people's choices and the need for scaling up services and infrastructure. Key findings include: significant unmet household demand for electricity generated from renewable resources; water charges based on the amount of water used increase household's effort at water conservation; and energy efficiency labels play a role in reducing electricity demand.

The publication highlights: the importance of measures that increase consumer access to greener choices such as public transport and recycling services; higher energy prices are likely to have adverse welfare impacts on low-income households without significantly reducing consumption; and scaling up public information and education campaigns is critical for raising household awareness of costs and charges. [Publication: Greening Household Behaviour] [OECD Press Release] [OECD Book Announcement]