Over the past few months, the University of Groningen, a project partner with CircEUlar, conducted an initial study on factors that influence whether people engage in circular behaviour related to mobility and housing.

The study also examined circular citizenship behaviours, which are behaviours that aim to influence other actors (such as governments, businesses, and other citizens) to take actions that contribute to systemic change towards a circular economy.

The study was conducted in the Netherlands between November and December 2023. We aimed to get an initial idea of how different values, beliefs and norms that have been shown to relate to various pro-environmental behaviours also predict different circular consumption behaviours.

More specifically, the University of Groningen team investigated factors influencing the following behaviours:

  • not owning a car (carless-ness) and using car sharing instead of owning a car
  • living in a smaller house, or sharing living spaces or tools and appliances
  • circular citizenship behaviours, such as voting for parties that want progress toward a circular economy, participating in business design processes to create better circular products and services, and talking to friends and family to spread knowledge and awareness about the circular economy and motivate them to contribute to a circular economy.

Preliminary analyses show that people are more likely to engage in these different types of circular behaviour when:

  1. They feel more strongly morally obliged to do so (i.e., have a stronger personal norm)
  2. They more strongly believe these behaviours will contribute to a circular economy (i.e., higher outcome efficacy).
  3. They think that others are (increasingly) engaging in these behaviours as well.

Further, values, problem awareness, and ascribing oneself (part of the) responsibility for causing these problems also relate to circular behaviours by strengthening outcome efficacy and personal norms.

The findings of this pilot study and the interviews that CircEUlar project partners conducted in recent months will be used to design a larger questionnaire study in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands that will be conducted soon.

By Isabel Pacheco – RUG