Onward are developing a research project on the role of neighbourhood and community incentives in decarbonisation. This research seeks to understand how locally-led change can drive net zero behaviours and, consequently, contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy, an angle which has been vastly ignored in literature and policy-making. The main goal is to prove the efficacy of neighbourhood behaviourial interventions in promoting a faster and more sustainable transition to net zero. The Foundation is funding the whole project with £56,500.
This project aligns with a central goal of our Citizen Engagement on Climate programme, which is to communicate the value of effective public engagement in the transition to net zero. From our initial scoping work with partners in the sector, it is clear that engagement at a local level has real potential for multiplying the impact of climate interventions. Historically, neighbourhoods have been hugely successful in driving a range of pro-social behaviours, a fact demonstrated in force during the pandemic. Yet, we still lack evidence to communicate this value to key stakeholders, particularly local and national policy-makers. Much of the policy analysis to date has focussed on top-down government initiatives, while not enough attention has been paid to the activation strategies to motivate people to adapt their lifestyles in pursuit of net zero. Onward’s research seeks thus to understand how local collective action techniques and neighbourhood-level change can support a more efficient and sustainable transition to net zero.