In December 2015, the European Commission presented an Action Plan for the Circular Economy (CE) that establishes a program to support the transition towards a CE. For this transition, not only manufacturers are called to action but a change in consumers’ attitudes and behavior is needed as well.
Against this background, the European Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) and DG JUSTICE commissioned a behavioral study that centered on consumers’ CE-engagement and aimed at providing policy-relevant insights to assist with the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. The overall objectives of the study were:
- To identify the barriers and trade-offs that consumers face when deciding whether to purchase a more or a less durable good, whether to have a good repaired or to discard it and buy a new one.
- To establish the relative importance of economic, social or psychological factors which determine consumers' degree of engagement in CE practices, in particular purchasing durable products and seeking repair instead of disposing of products.
- To suggest policy tools to facilitate and motivate consumers to engage in CE practices related to durability and reparability.
To reach the study’s objectives, the consortium applied a large variety of research methods such as desk research, semi-structured stakeholder interviews, consumer focus groups, consumer surveys and behavioral experiments. In collaboration with LE Europe, ConPolicy’s role was to design the behavioral experiment and the consumer survey. Furthermore, ConPolicy was responsible for analyzing and interpreting the consumer survey.
The results of the study were published in October 2018 on the website of the European Commission.