Pollution Prevention Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those who encourage behaviours that prevent pollution. See also our topic pages on waste, transportation and energy. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.

 

Latest News

May 6, 2021 We've added four new case studies and a guide on countering misinformation

During the past year, we've added four new pollution prevention case studies plus four other Topic Resources. The case studies, accessible using the left hand column below, include two American municipal program that reduced local car use dramatically, a Norwegian program that enabled it to achieve the highest penetration in the world of near-zero-emission vehicles, and a German opt-out program for greener home energy. The other Topic Resources, accessible using the right hand column below, include a study on the relationships between three types of nature contact and pro-environmental behaviours, a study on the impact of high-profile public advocates in shaping collective efficacy beliefs and motivating collective action, and a debunking guide.Let us know what you think

 

Most Recent Pollution Prevention Resources Case Studies

Landmark Case Study Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

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Norway’s Promotion of Electric Vehicles  Environment

Several policies / incentives, in place over an extended period, have made Norwegians more likely to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) than people in any other country. These incentives have included: exemption from vehicle registration and high purchase taxes, reduced road tolls, free parking, and access to some bus lanes. A similar long-term approach could be adapted for other big-ticket purchasing behaviors where the impact justifies the expense – for example energy-efficient home / building retrofits and appliances. Norway's electric cars are close to zero-emission as 98% of its electricity came from hydropower.

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Landmark Case Study Seattle’s Just One Trip Phase II  EnvironmentHealth

Just One Trip Phase II illustrates the use of Propensity Modelling / Predictive Analysis, Street Ambassadors, Quality Online User Experience (UX), and trip planning to reduce the proportion of single-occupant car trips in Seattle WA, USA. It engaged over 21,000 people and on average participants reduced four drive-alone trips per week per person. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study City of Austin’s Leave Time Travel Incentive  EnvironmentHealth

The City of Austin reduced employee commute travel by one million vehicle miles within six months of making its Leave Time Reward (LTR) a permanent incentive. During this period, the percentage of drive-alone trips fell from 53% to 41%. Attribution of these impacts to the City’s time off incentive policy is strengthened because that policy was introduced in the pilot study, then withdrawn after the pilot, then later reintroduced for the permanent program (Reversal Design.) Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study ClimateSmart Home Service, Queensland, Australia  Environment

Once a resident signs up for Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, a licensed electrician visits the home, installs a variety of energy-efficiency products, conducts an energy audit, provides recommendations, and leaves behind materials and prompts. The information collected is then used to create a customized plan that is sent to the homeowner approximately six weeks after the visit, with different audience segments receiving different messaging. A voluntary household energy challenge, wireless power monitors and an on-line portal help motivate and empower participants. ClimateSmart was designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Landmark Case Study LEED  EnvironmentHealth

2019 Youtube Program Update Video from USGBC

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a tremendously successful program that engages builders and owners in designing, building, selling / buying and operating more energy-efficient buildings. It awards points for meeting targets and doing targeted behaviors like benchmarking and tracking energy and water consumption, using specific types of materials, and recycling waste materials. It has become the most used green building rating system out there, adopted in more than 150 countries and territories worldwide. The program received Landmark designation in 2015.

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Landmark Case Study Ohm Connect’s #OhmHour Peak Time Energy Conservation Program  Environment

OhmConnect pays participants to save energy when it’s most beneficial to the grid and their wallets. On average, participants save 50-100 kWh at peak times per year per household. This case study highlights three innovative elements of the program: a focus on reducing peak demand with remarkable frequency, flexibility and precision; rich gamification features that encourage user participation; and an option to automate energy savings that was not available until the recent installation of smart meters and widespread availability of smart devices. Designated in 2017.

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Landmark Case Study Stockholm Congestion Pricing  EnvironmentSafety

The Stockholm congestion charge is a tax levied on vehicles entering and exiting the inner city. After a seven-month trial, followed by a referendum, the charges were made permanent and the traffic reductions of 20% have held constant ever since. This case study features strong, ongoing impact data. It is a rare example of introducing then removing and then reintroducing an intervention. It speaks to the importance of timing referendums after rather than before trials or pilots, and to the dynamics of shifting public opinion. It also shows that congestion pricing can be popular, work well, and generate significant additional funds for municipalities. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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Landmark Case Study GCC EcoDriver Program  Environment

Green Communities Canada’s EcoDriver program promotes fuel-saving behaviours in three core areas: fuel-efficient driving, purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, and driving less. Participants attend driver-to-driver-format workshops, indicate the specific changes in driving habits they will make and the number of people they will tell about what they learned, and attend special events such as tire clinics where they are given free pressure gauges and can learn to test their tire pressure.  This program was designated a Tools of Change Landmark case study in 2011. A webinar on the program will be held in February 2011. About half a year later, this case study will be updated and the webinar recording, transcript and handouts will be posted. 

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Save The Crabs - Then Eat 'Em  Environment

To reduce nutrient pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, this media-based campaign convinced area residents to fertilize their lawns in the fall rather than spring. For those hiring lawn services, it promoted partner lawn services that were Bay-friendly. The 2004 campaign was framed not as an environmental appeal, but as a way to ensure the continued availability of Chesapeake Bay seafood. It was followed in May 2011 with legislation that limits both the content and the application of fertilizer for urban and suburban lawns.

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Fork It Over!  EnvironmentHealth

Fork it Over! is a peer-to-peer initiative that helps food businesses in Portland Oregon to donate surplus prepared, perishable foods that have not been served, by showing that it is safe, simple and the right thing to do. It recruits food businesses to make written, public commitments to donate food regularly, reinforces and publicizes those commitments, and prompts action at the moment when donations are available. It also leverages partnership support from key industry leaders and associations to reinforce the social and cultural value of food donation, and provides regular reinforcement for participating through free advertising.

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Ozone Action Program  EnvironmentHealth

In Southeast Michigan, the Clean Air Coalition runs a program to help reduce the formation of ground level ozone, which is a threat to environmental and human health and is one of the primary contributors to smog. The Ozone Action Program educates households and businesses, and encourages participation in voluntary ozone reduction activities. A key component of the program involves Ozone Action alerts which are issued when ozone levels are expected to exceed federal standards the following day.

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Spare the Air  EnvironmentHealth

When air pollution concentrations approach unhealthy levels, people living and working within the San Francisco Bay Area are notified, and encouraged to avoid activities that pollute the air. Partnerships with local businesses and public agencies allow the program to target commuters at work, and offer information, incentives and services to help them choose less polluting alternatives.

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Oregon's Air Quality Public Education and Incentive Program  EnvironmentHealth

This ongoing program educates the public and provides incentives to improve air quality in Portland. It uses non-regulatory approaches that target vehicles, lawnmowers, paints and certain consumer products - to reduce emissions from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

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Turn it Off  EnvironmentHealth

Turn it Off is a community-based initiative to encourage individuals to avoid idling their vehicles while waiting at such places as school pick-up areas and transit Kiss and Ride parking lots. Replicability: high.

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Most Recent Pollution Prevention Resources Resources

Emissions Disclosure Requirements Lower CO2 Output  Environment

When large power plants were required to disclose their carbon dioxide output, emissions fell by more than 7%, while at some small plants, exempt from disclosure, emissions rose at least 25%. This illustrates the Hawthorne Effect and the power of Norm Appeals.

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Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Impact of Comics vs Photographs on Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioural Intentions  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This 2017 study compares two modes of visually presenting information  - one using photographs and the other using cartoons - on audience's knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions.

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Impact of Voluntary Programs on Polluting Behavior: Evidence from pollution prevention programs and toxic releases, The  Environment

Reports on the impacts of pollution prevention (P2) programs on toxic pollution.

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Community Toolbox  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Includes many annotated links to other web-based resources supporting social marketing and social change

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Program Evaluation Methods; Measurement and Attribution of Program Results  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A good, detailed, freely accessible overview of program evaluation and attribution methods.

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National Center for Safe Routes to School  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This site helps community leaders, parents and schools develop programs and strategies that encourage and enable more children to safely walk and bike to school. It offers news, state contacts, a 'how-to' manual, and extensive resources for marketing, engineering, education, evaluation, enforcement, training and program development. Publisher: National Center for Safe Routes to School within the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

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Nature Contact, Nature Connectedness and Associations with Health, Wellbeing and Pro-Environmental Behaviours  EnvironmentHealth

This 2020 study investigated the relationships between three types of nature contact, psychological connectedness, health, subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours. It suggests that interventions increasing both contact with, and connection to nature, are likely to be needed in order to achieve synergistic improvements to human and planetary health.

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Should You Target Disposable Bags or Plastic Bags?  Environment

This 2021 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper makes the case that the regulation of goods associated with negative environmental externalities may decrease consumption of the targeted product, but may be ineffective at reducing the externality itself if close substitutes are left unregulated.

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Collective Efficacy Beliefs and the Greta Thunberg Effect  EnvironmentHealth

This study indicates that high-profile public advocates like Greta Thunberg can shape collective efficacy beliefs and motivate collective action, but their effect is likely stronger among those with a shared political ideology.

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Engaging Teachers to Communicate Scientific Consensus on Climate Change and Other Topics  EnvironmentHealthSafety

When consensus about a risk or mitigating behavior is newly developed and/or not clearly understood, communicating that consensus through teachers / instructors can be critical. While this blog entry focuses on climate change, it may also apply to new understandings in many topic areas.

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