The value behavior gap in sustainable development a review of the evidence
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The Value-Behavior Gap in Sustainable Development: A Review of the Evidence. Robert Kates Kennedy School, Harvard University November 4th, 2004.

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The value behavior gap in sustainable development a review of the evidence l.jpg

The Value-Behavior Gap in Sustainable Development: A Review of the Evidence

Robert Kates

Kennedy School, Harvard University

November 4th, 2004


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“Most advocates of sustainable development recognize that for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)


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The Great Transition Scenario for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • <www.gsg.org>


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Four Visions of the Future for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

Market Forces

Market optimism, hidden and enlightened hand

Policy Reform

Stewardship through better technology and management

Fortress World

Social chaos, fragmentation, authoritarian “solutions”

Great Transition

Progressive social evolution, human solidarity and the art of living


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Great Transition for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • In Great Transition, a connected and engaged global citizenry advance a new development paradigm that emphasizes the quality of life, human solidarity, and a strong ecological sensibility – new values shape the planetary transition.

  • Great Transition includes the rapid penetration of environmentally benign technologies, as does Policy Reform, but at a more rapid pace. A second major feature also supports environmental sustainability – the shift toward less materially-intensive lifestyles. Resource requirements decrease as consumerism abates, populations stabilize, growth slows in affluent areas, and settlement patterns become more integrated and compact. At the same time, poverty levels drop, as equity between and within countries rapidly improves.


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Values, Attitudes, and Behavior for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Values are expressions of, or beliefs in, the worth of objects, qualities, or behaviors. Values define or direct us to goals, frame our attitudes, and provide standards against which the behavior of individuals and societies can be judged.

  • Attitudes refer to the evaluation of a specific object, quality or behavior as good or bad, positive or negative. Attitudes often derive from and reflect abstract values

  • Behavior refers to concrete decisions and actions taken by individuals and groups, which are often rooted in underlying values and attitudes


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Sustainable Development Values for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)Documentary Evidence

  • Historical Chronology

  • Sustainable Development Taxonomy

  • The Earth Charter

  • The UN Millennium Declaration

  • The Great Transition Scenario


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Historical Chronology for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Peace [1945]

  • Freedom [1950s]

  • Development [1960s]

  • Environment [1970s]

  • SustainableDevelopment [1980s]


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Sustainable Development Taxonomy for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)


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The Earth Charter for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)


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The UN Millennium Declaration for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)


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The Great Transition Scenario for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)


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Values Comparison for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Values come in many shapes, sizes, and guises

  • Values are ordered, but not consistently so

  • Key value themes

    • 20th Century concerns: peace, freedom, development, and environment

    • Three pillars of sustainable development—environment, economy, and equity

    • Sustainability Transition: meeting human needs, reducing hunger and poverty, while preserving the life support systems of the planet .


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Sustainable Development Attitudes and Behavior for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)Survey Evidence

  • Sustainable Development: No data, but…

  • Development

  • Environment

  • Driving Forces (I=PAT, D=PAE)

    • Population

    • Affluence, consumption, poverty

    • Technology

    • Entitlements


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Multinational Surveys for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)[Dates] N=Number of countries

  • One time

    • Health of the planet [1992] N=24

    • Pew Global Attitudes Project [2002]N=41

    • International Social Science Program[2000]N=26

    • Eurobarometer[2002] N=16

  • Multiple

    • GlobeScan Int’l Env’t Monitor [1997-2003] N=35

    • Demographic and Health Survey[1986-2002] N=17

    • OECD [1990-2002] N=23

    • World Values Survey[1981-1998] N= 68


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Development for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Surprisingly little data on attitudes towards human development, economic development, and development assistance.

  • Despite remarkable increases in human well-being globally pervasive sense that human well-being has recently been deteriorating.

  • Economic prosperity valued but little data on end points or distribution

  • Strong popular support but poor understanding of development assistance to poor countries.

  • Official national support much less


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Environment for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Strong global environmental concern

  • Priority given to environment over economic growth

  • Support strong national efforts, taxes, regulations, but less for international action

  • Half report some pro-environment purchase or recycle; but only 10-15% activist action


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Source: Leiserowitz 2003 for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)


Population l.jpg
Population for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Number of children desired declining almost everywhere

  • Two-thirds support and use family planning and contraception

  • Yet large unmet need for contraception, 20-25% births undesired


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Affluence, Poverty for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Dramatic rise in aggregate affluence and consumption but 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 per day

  • Two-thirds say more poor in last decade and poverty is primarily caused by unfair treatment by society

  • But large majorities of Japan, China, USA, Phillipines,Taiwan and Puerto Rico Believe that Poverty due to Laziness and Lack of Will Power of the Poor


The new east west divide percent blaming poverty on laziness and lack of will power of the poor l.jpg
The New East-West Divide: for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)Percent Blaming Poverty on Laziness and Lack of Will Power of the Poor


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Consumption for it to be realized would require changes in human values, attitudes and behaviors…Despite the importance of such value changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both help or hinder a sustainability transition.” (Akin Mabogunje 2004)

  • Majorities agree that, at the societal level, money, material and status consumption are threats to human cultures and the environment

  • Majority thought “less emphasis on money and material possessions” would be a good thing and more time for leisure activities or family life is their biggest goal.

  • But two thirds say that the spending of money on themselves and their family represents one of life’s greatest pleasures


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Spending Money on Self and Family is One of Life’s Greatest Pleasures

Percent

Source: GlobeScan 2000



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Subjective Well-Being by Level of Development Greatest Pleasures

Source: Inglehart 2000


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Technology Greatest Pleasures

  • Public has very positive attitudes towards science and technology

  • Dramatic differences in technological optimism regarding environement between richer and poorer countries

  • Strong support for renewable energy especially in Europe, hostility to nuclear, split between rich and poor countries on chemical pesticides, and biotechnology


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Equity and Entitlements Greatest Pleasures

  • Large majorities think equity has gotten worse

  • Majority (58%) agree “most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.”

  • Access to entitlements declining — the bundle of income, natural resources, familial and social connections, and societal assistance that are key determinants of hunger and poverty (Sen, 1982).

  • Two-thirds think government doing too little to help people in poverty within their own country


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Millenium Declaration Values Attitudes Greatest Pleasures

  • Freedom [no data] & Democracy

    • Strong support for democracy

  • Equality

    • 2/3 for eliminating inequality, for gender equality, less clear for income equality

  • Solidarity [no data}

  • Tolerance

    • Teach tolerance at home (70%) but don’t live next door to homosexuals(43%), Gypsies (38%), AIDs (37%) etc.

  • Respect for Nature

    • Strong support for environment

  • Shared Responsibility

    • Majority support for UN but not other international economic institutions


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Attitudes Towards Contextual Values Greatest Pleasures

  • Capitalism

    • Strong support for free market economy

  • Globalization

    • “a good thing” (57%), increased connections communciation, trade good (83-87%) but make things worse for environment, poverty, unemployment (45-47%)

  • Trust in Institutions

    • High trust: Military, NGOs

    • Low trust: legislatures, corporations

  • Social Change

    • 2/3 choose gradual reform


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Acting on values, attitudes, and behaviors Greatest Pleasures

  • Accelerating action

  • Bridging barriers

  • Choosing values


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The Action Curve Greatest Pleasures


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Accelerating action Greatest Pleasures

  • Examples:

    • Collective: CFCs, civil rights, 9-11

    • Individual: smoking, drunk driving, seat belts, littering

  • Conditions for accelerating SD:

    • .Public values and attitudes[Many in place]

    • Vivid imagery (focusing events)[Overall lacking]

    • Ready institutions and organizations[Many available]

    • Available solutions[Some available]

  • Accelerating Sustainable Development

    • Africa

    • Climate Change


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Bridging barriers Greatest Pleasures

  • Barriers between attitudes and behavior:

    • For Individuals and Society: Direction and strength of needed values and attitudes

    • For Individuals: Time, money, access, literacy, knowledge, skills, power, or perceived efficacy

    • For Society: Laws, regulations, perverse subsidies, infrastructure, available technology, social norms and expectations, and social, economic and political context


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Choosing values Greatest Pleasures

  • Most but not all values needed for SD exist

    • Millenium development Goals (2015)

    • Sustainability transition (2050)

    • Great transition

  • Individuals and societies support abstract values (peace, freedom, devlopment and environment) but in concrete decision-making value conflicts arise: e.g. species protection vs. exploitation, cheap fossil fuels vs. renewables, consumerism vs. “good life”

  • Value conflicts need to be acknowledged; value uncertainties identified; value priorities made


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Which world Greatest Pleasuresdo we want?

  • The core question that inspires our work…


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