Research 238: Identifying, Reviewing and Testing the Factors that Drive the Sustainable Behaviour and Transition of Communities, Groups and Individuals

Authors: Vincent Carragher and Sarah McCormack

Summary: This research critically reviewed community interventions and sustainable-behaviour change programmes identifying drivers (enablers) adopted by those interventions. The aim was to distinguish key characteristics of success while also identifying barriers to sustainable transition and change.

Research 238 thumbnail

Published: 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84095-758-7

Pages: 58

Filesize: 2,032 KB

Format: pdf


Identifying Pressures

This research identified pressures firstly through white and grey literature review and secondly through stakeholder outreach using Discourse Based Approaches. This research engaged a broad range of stakeholders who critiqued the identification of pressures such as academics, policy makers,resource-use specialists, community practitioners and community. Focus Groups were hosted and facilitated in communities throughout the country and the learnings were bought to a policy design event in January 2017. The research identified significant policy pressures as the efficiency gap, the attitude behaviour gap, government alignment and generally low engagement of communities in meaningfully contributing to sustainability solutions which impact them. These have the effect of disconnecting the sustainability policy maker from the environment to which the policies must impact and taken together with the rebound effect, the complexity of behaviour change and sustainable transition add pressure to effective policy formation.

Informing Policy

This research informs policy by providing an understanding of the actors and drivers of sustainable behaviour change and sustainable transition which impact individuals, groups and communities. In total 17 actors and 92 drivers were identified by the research review. These were taken, tested andprioritised by various communities in Ireland in Focus Groups providing a granular perspective on what uniquely drives sustainable transition in each. Results for each community were clearly visualised in actor-driver profile charts and these provide a useful communication of the diversity of factors which uniquely drive sustainability within each community.

The research communicated its findings to policy makers, resource-use specialists, academics, community practitioners and communities at its Roundtable policy co-design event. All stakeholders were provided with an understanding of what drives sustainable transition and strong discussion critiqued the diversity of sustainability ideas and policy solutions required.

This Report provides novel and practical guidance for communities, community actors, academics, resource-use specialists, and policy makers involved in sustainability interventions.

Developing Solutions

This research built a novel sustainability co-design model which identified and critiqued sustainable solutions and their policies. In this, six communities were facilitated within the Roundtable co-design event to explore sustainability solutions for their settlements. Using Discourse Based Approaches, stakeholders expert in various sustainability themes representing academia, policy makers, resource use specialists, financiers and community practitioners, discussed and critiqued sustainability solutions for each community. A total of 215 sustainability ideas together with policies were harvested for the 6 communities. This novel facilitated co-design approach gained commitment from the stakeholders and communities to develop the co-design approach and support and co-produce sustainability projects within each community. The approaches here attempt to co-create sustainability solutions for and with these six communities.

The 109 actors and drivers represented inform the co-creation activities as they identify what can work in each community. Due to the community critique of the Focus Groups they alsoidentify where there are gaps and where and how perhaps sustainable solutions should be developed and deployed. This report is Report lays open the methods used and intends to impact similar method and activities in other communities in Ireland and beyond.[1].jpg