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Projects and activities | 31 July 2020

Behavioural experiment on product sustainability labelling

Context

As consumers, we can choose more or less sustainable products. For instance, we may select a washing machine that will last a long time, or buy a smartphone that will not and contains minerals obtained illegally from conflict zones.

To make more sustainable choices, we need to know which options are more or less sustainable. The European Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan aims to empower consumers to this effect, by giving them trustworthy and relevant information.

How this information is presented is crucial for ensuring that consumers move towards more sustainable choices.

Goals

The objective of this project is to test 3 different approaches to sustainability labelling for products:

  1. Only labelling products that are very sustainable

  2. Labelling all products with information on their relative sustainability

  3. Only labelling very unsustainable products.

Methods

We use an online behavioural experiment in which EU consumers have to choose between different smartphones and microwaves.

Expected outcomes

The findings from this experiment should inform the European Commission's Impact Assessment 'Empowering the consumer for the green transition'.

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