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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

A sustainability evaluation of behavioural interventions for users of consumer goods

Influencing consumers through intervention is an important aspect of promoting sustainable behaviour. Behavioural Interventions are designed to influence and impact the decision-making process of an individual and how they interact with consumer goods.

Following implementation, interventions are not always studied. There is a lack of public data on the effectiveness of interventions. According to the literature, while there are frameworks focused on the design of products promoting behaviour change, no framework for the analysis of the success of failure of an intervention exists.

Consumer goods producers, policymakers, and marketers would benefit from a tool to assess an intervention’s success in promoting sustainable behaviour and how effectively it has been implemented. Such a tool will increase the likelihood of an intervention’s success and repeatability.

This study aims to discover the properties and requirements for an effective behavioural intervention by investigating and interrogating 15 examples of interventions collected through keyword search and by a desktop review of literature. These steps subsequently informed the development of a four-part cyclical framework which was tested on existing interventions to assess their efficacy at any point of their lifecycle.

The framework developed in this dissertation enables the study of an intervention’s attributes, such as the presence of properties needed for consumer adoption, the depth of planning and whether the correct context has been targeted. The framework can be applied to assess the efficacy of different interventions from conception to end-result, to improve the chance of promoting individual responsibility and behaviour change. It is a viable tool for the evaluation of behavioural interventions for users of consumer goods.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.