Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

330 I Global biosphere policy

means of which changes in the actions of groups and

societies can be ‘triggered’ (Homburg and Matthies,

l998; Mosler and Gutscher, 1998).These measures are

‘change techniques’ and cover a broad spectrum that

goes beyond the simple communication of information.

Communication of information and acquisition of

knowledge are necessary measures, but are in no way

sufficient to change complex patterns of behaviour.

The techniques described in more detail below for

explicitly changing behaviour can be applied at different

levels in collaboration with various players.

They can be conducted in large national ‘programmes’,

in smaller programmes for example at the

level of the town or municipality or as programmes

for special institutions such as schools, hospitals, etc.

The German Federal Government should be an initiator

of this type of programmes and as required

also provide funding. Furthermore, it must be

ensured that the necessary parameters are created at

federal and state level to allow the envisaged changes

in action patterns. The programmes should be

planned and implemented by local players who aim

to collaborate with research institutions in order to

ensure scientific follow up and evaluation. The first

step is to decide what area of activity is to be changed

(buying decisions, mobility decisions, energy consumption,

etc) and what influences on those actions

are considered relevant. By way of example, in this

section we shall explore buying decisions in relation

to food. The following describes various principles

that are significant in planning and carrying out this

type of measures.

Changing environmentally relevant actions

Using the example of the consumption of food from

organic cultivation, we shall present the steps and

measures that must be taken in order to promote this

more sustainable form of land use. Since there are

hardly any empirical data available specifically for

this area of consumer behaviour, the results from

other, well researched areas (recycling and avoidance

of waste, energy saving, traffic avoidance) will be

transferred (Schahn and Giesinger, 1993; Geller,

1995; Schultz et al, 1995).Two principles in particular

should be respected (Kotler and Roberto, 1991):

1. A package of different measures must always be

applied; isolated activities are not sufficient to

change stable patterns of behaviour.

2. The measures must, wherever possible, be

designed in a target-group specific way since this is

the only way one can expect to achieve efficient

effects. Matching measures to the target group can

be ensured in particular by using participatory

options (Geller, 1989; Matthies and Krömker,

1999). Precise proposals of how to achieve target

group specificity are made, for example, in the

context of participatory social marketing (Prose,


In the following, the factors will be enumerated that

have an impact on the consumption of the products

of ‘organic’ (as opposed to ‘conventional’) farming.

After that, measures will be listed that lead to a

change in the respective influencing factors and thus

ultimately to a change in behaviour. The attribution

of particular measures to certain influencing factors

is not definitive, since they may relate to several

influencing factors.

Options for action

Consumption of organic products can only be

increased if they are easily available to consumers. It

is not sufficient for example for one or two specialist

‘organic shops’ to be located in a given community

that can only be reached with increased input of time

and organization. These products would need to be

available for purchase at every normal supermarket.

The diversity and quality of the products on offer

must also be ensured, since one cannot assume – as is

clearly sometimes the case in marketing resourcefriendly

products – that the consumers are prepared

to accept lower quality, less choice and higher prices

(Schneider, 1998).

Measures to improve the options for action are:

• Change the situation. Enhancement of the range

available in normal supermarkets or the association

of different producers to ensure sufficient

supply capacities and a uniform product presentation

are examples.

• Information and labelling. Clear labelling of products

(eg green ecolabel) must be created and any

confusion of the consumer as a result of a plethora

of perhaps contradictory information must be

avoided. Clear indications within shops through

signage and corresponding shop design is also relevant.

Attitudes, values, norms

Influence on consumer decisions comes from positive

or negative attitudes towards a product. Positive

attitudes to environmental protection promote the

readiness to take corresponding action. The attitude

that biodiversity conservation is worth pursuing can

lead to consumers being prepared to assume greater

efforts and costs in order to be able to act accordingly

(Bamberg and Kühnel, 1998). If no positive attitudes

are present actions that call for greater effort will be

even more unlikely. Values and attitudes lead also to

persons seeking out further information and corresponding

options for action. Membership in a certain

reference group plays a key role in the emergence of

values and norms (Fuhrer and Wölfing, 1997) since

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