Research 311: Behavioural Change Tools to Promote Going Beyond Compliance in the Regulated Community

Authors: Niall Keely, Myles Kingston and Ken Stockil

Summary: The environmental compliance and enforcement landscape has evolved significantly over the last number of decades, with policy and legislation serving as a key driver. The nuances and complexities of compliance and enforcement have also evolved, as they now require a better understanding of the barriers and challenges, drivers and incentives, and the behavioural and contextual factors at play among regulated communities.

Research 311

Published: 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84095-892-8

Pages: 69

Filesize: 1,662 KB

Format: pdf


This research critically reviewed contextual, motivational and operational aspects that influence organisational environmental regulatory compliance behaviour and performance among regulated communities. The report provides a better understanding of what barriers and drivers exist and what factors, characteristics and tools help promote “going-beyond” compliance behaviour.

Identifying Pressures

New compliance and enforcement approaches are needed to keep pace with evolving standards and best practices, resource pressures, additional complexities, increasing knowledge and expertise gaps, and sundry other environmental/economic/societal demands. Limited resources need to be utilised more efficiently and more intelligent and targeted approaches are needed. Globally, there is a critical need to transition beyond “business-as usual” mindsets and practices in order to remain competitive, resilient and sustainable into the future. However, the organisational and behavioural changes required are challenging and complex and require long-term perspectives and perseverance.

Informing Policy

This research contributes to the body of knowledge and provides insight on the current compliance landscape and trends in terms of strategies and models of enforcement, adoption of technology and incorporation of behavioural aspects and “softer” interventions in compliance and enforcement (including policy development). Following extensive desk research and a process of national and international actor consultations, the report helps define the key challenges, barriers and drivers to (going-beyond) compliance and highlights contextual, organisational and behavioural complexities and nuances involved in addressing the topic. With a better understanding of the underlying barriers, drivers and factors influencing organisational regulatory compliance, the most appropriate policy instruments and tools can be chosen or developed to target that aspect and help deliver a desired outcome. In practice, it is a combination of different instruments, incentives and tools operating together that exerts an effect and leads to complexity.

Developing Solutions

The report outlines several recommendations to help promote greater adoption of going-beyond compliance culture and practices. There is a need to set out a clear definition and vision of what going-beyond compliance means for Ireland and how it might be implemented. There is also a need for collaboration, information sharing and knowledge transfer activities across actors to raise their capacity and capability to deliver on this vision and provide long-term value across the triple bottom line. Appropriate instruments and incentives are necessary to remove barriers and support drivers in order to drive commitments, engagement and adoption of a “going-beyond compliance” approach. Existing case studies and lessons learned from different programmes and approaches highlight key success factors and core foundational elements from which to build on in terms of compliance and enforcement policy development and the design of interventions and support tools to promote the adoption of going-beyond compliance culture and practices.