Finnish cities have been experimenting with a vision of sustainable living. The tool “1.5 Degree Lifestyles Puzzle” was used to help households and other stakeholders understand what changes they need to make in their lifestyles to significantly drop their carbon footprint. Individual carbon footprints were calculated at the project start and the development was monitored over time.
gamification; climate apps; behavioural change
Based on an online consumption-driven carbon footprint calculator ‘Lifestyle Test’ set up by the Finnish foundation Sitra in 2017, individuals can assess their footprint. In an ongoing project (PSLifestyle) this app is supposed to be further developed to create personal sustainable Lifestyle plans that provide a personal lifestyle management tool.
Scale(s) of the case analysed
Target audience and dimension
Domain(s) of application
Challenge addressed/ Problem-led
Impact to climate neutrality
The app holds the potential to reach a large part of the EU’s population. The first versions of the app had already been used over one million times and continued to attract approximately 8.000 monthly visitors. Within 2 years the Finnish experiment reached 2.000 people that committed to over 40.000 actions, potentially affecting a reduction of 6.150 tonnes of CO2eq. The PSLifestyle project aims to upscale this potential in eight European countries leading to over 570.000 tonnes CO2eq savings annually.
Context & Public policy of reference
No specific policy is referred to. Potential links could be made under the European Green Deal and concretely e.g. in the Energy Taxation Directive, as well as in food (CAP, Farm to Fork), housing (Renovation Wave, New European Bauhaus), or mobility (Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy) sector-oriented policies. (see https://zoe-institut.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/ZOE_1-5-Degree_Policy_Equitable_Lifestyles_WEB_211221_2.pdf)
Innovative approach(es) addressed
The gamification approach via smartphone apps is interesting as it holds potential to reach large numbers of individuals and can influence values and norms (i.e. normative institutions) that are adhered to in the public. Experiments in 3 cities invited participants to use an app to plan changes in their lifestyle that would bring their carbon footprint close to 2.5 tonnes CO2eq (average in Finland: 10 tonnes CO2eq).
Stakeholder networks and organisational model
- Sitra - Initiator and funder
- Prime Minister’s Office of Finland - Public support
- 3 Finish cities (one of which was Lahti) - Communication and outreach to users
Interaction between participants
- Funding and development through the foundation
- Spokespersons / role models
- Communicate target group specific
Key inhibiting factors
- Fear of negative impacts on quality of life
- Incentive structures need to be aligned for medium to long term effectiveness
Drawbacks/pros/cons of the solutions (after implementation)
Everyone using a smartphone can use the app.
Criteria for upscaling thus are:
- Technical transferability
- Social acceptance and interest
Main positive lessons/opportunities identified
- Adapt the message to different types of audience
- Different channels for different contexts
- Break down your message (https://talkofthecities.iclei.org/key-learnings-for-cities-to-enable-1-5-degree-lifestyles/)
- Main failures/barriers identified
- Incentives (e.g. cheap flight tickets)
- Norms and values
- Number of users
- Carbon reduction potential of behavioural changes