Sustainability

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Research for more sustainable choices

Many people nowadays are concerned about environmental problems such as climate change, pollution, and the growing waste flows. They find it important to protect the environment. However, this environmental awareness is not necessarily converted into everyday actions. To encourage people to make sustainable choices, they must first of all understand what makes one choice more sustainable than another. And this isn’t always obvious. Besides, other factors such as ease and expense can be more persuasive at the moment of making a choice, and it’s never easy to change ingrained habits.

How can we encourage people to nevertheless make sustainable choices in such situations? How and at what moment can we best inform consumers about the ecological footprint of certain choices or behavior? How can we motivate them (intrinsically) to change their behavior in order to protect the environment? We are eager to help answer such questions.

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Why work with Centerdata?

With our extensive expertise in the field of sustainability and behavior, we can contribute to identifying potential solutions to your sustainability issue and will choose the most suitable research method to measure their effectiveness.

We have ample experience with research into promoting sustainable behavior. Examples are: encouraging consumers to choose eco-friendlier product alternatives, reducing food wastage, and countering polluting and littering behavior.

Our projects contribute to providing clear and transparent sustainability information to consumers. For example, we examined for the European Commission whether standardized information about the ecological footprint of products motivates consumers to make more sustainable product choices. And also, how such information can best be presented. We also developed the new EU energy labels.

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How do we work?

In our research projects, the first step is always to thoroughly understand the problem. After all, in order to arrive at the best possible solutions, we need to know what drives or inhibits consumers from choosing the more sustainable option in specific situations.

Next, we choose the research method that is best suited to the issue at hand. There are many possibilities to choose from: from experiments and surveys within our own LISS panel and qualitative studies (e.g. using focus groups, in-depth interviews), to innovative data collection methods and (big) data analyses, or a combination thereof. The research project is always specifically tailored to your needs.

The research is performed by experienced (and mostly postdoctoral) researchers who not only draw on the scientific literature but also actively contribute to the literature. Our research combines scientific profundity with practical application. We present the research results in an accessible manner and convert these into specific (policy) recommendations that you can put into practice straight away.

Further information? Please contact us.

Meet our team
dr. Millie Elsen
dr. Millie Elsen
Head of Consumer Research
dr. Roxanne van Giesen
dr. Roxanne van Giesen
Senior researcher
dr. Karolien van den Akker
dr. Karolien van den Akker
Senior researcher

What have our research projects achieved?

Some of our achievements:

  • From March 2021, the new EU energy labels for domestic and electronic appliances, which we developed for the European Commission (DG Energy, DG Environment), can be found in shops in all EU countries.
  • Our large-scale European research into methods of informing consumers about the ecological footprint of products provided the European Commission (DG Environment) with significant input for the further development of EU policy in this area.
  • We developed effective interventions to counter food wastage. Thus, our interventions ensured that the purchase of suboptimal fruits and vegetables increased by 40%, without lowering the prices of these products. Our campaign aimed at discouraging ‘best-by stooping’ (that is, the tendency of some consumers to reach to the back of a shelf for products with a longer best-by period – achieved a 50% reduction of this behavior.
  • We investigated for the European Commission (DG Environment) whether labels pasted on disposable products containing plastic help to encourage consumers to dispose of these products properly, and what would be the most effective design for such a label. From July 2021, this label can be found on all packaging of moist wipes, sanitary towels, tampons, cigarettes and disposable cups that are sold within the EU.