How new number plates could green Britain’s roads

Yesterday Chris Grayling announced a consultation on green number plates as part of efforts to increase ownership of zero emission vehicles and cut Britain’s carbon emissions. The idea, already implemented in countries like Norway, Canada, and China, would make electric and hydrogen cars much more visible on our roads. We at the Behavioural Insights Team […]

September 10, 2018

One letter that triples energy switching

In the UK, 9.5 million households can save over £300 a year by switching energy supplier. For many people that is a substantial boost to their household budget, and yet in a survey of UK consumers, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that 34% of respondents had never considered switching supplier. This can be […]

February 12, 2018

The case for turkey sandwiches, and other food for thought this Christmas

With Christmas around the corner, many of us in the UK find ourselves frantically purchasing vast amounts of food. Turkeys, Christmas puddings, mince pies – all must-haves for Christmas day. Unilever estimated that during Christmas, on average, 263,000 turkeys, 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding and 7.5 million mince pies go to waste in the UK. […]

December 22, 2017

The Nest Learning Thermostat: Making energy savings easy

How many of us have our heating programmed to automatically come on when we get home? In which case, how often do we come home late, to find the heating has been on unnecessarily? Or perhaps we find ourselves watching TV, suddenly a little hot, realising we could have turned the thermostat down half an […]

November 30, 2017

The secret cost of laundry

Purchasing a laundry appliance, such as a washing machine, can be a complicated choice involving lots of different factors. However, consumers may be surprised to find out that the cost of using the appliance is not one of the factors often taken into account. Annual energy consumption, which relates to the appliance’s efficiency, incurs continual […]

September 3, 2014

Reducing food waste

The Behavioural Insights Team recently met up with GreeNudge, a Norwegian organisation that researches behavioural approaches to encouraging environmentally friendly choices. Among other things, we discussed their latest study on food waste. GreeNudge conducted randomised controlled trials in hotel restaurants with food buffets. They found that reducing plate size and communicating that it’s ok to […]

April 15, 2013

Reducing disposable shopping bag usage

In her new paper, Tatiana Homonoff from Princeton University shows that small incentives can have a larger effect than the simple cost/benefit calculation would suggest, but how these incentives are framed matters. Her findings accord with the idea of loss aversion – that people value losses more than the equivalent gain: a five-cent tax on […]

December 12, 2012