‘green nudges’ launched by UN for universities: Up to 200 million university students around the globe are being targeted by a newly launched UN programme in an effort to inspire them to adopt environmentally friendly habits and greener lifestyles.

The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) ‘The Little Book of Green Nudges’ is their first publication on behavioural science and nudge theory, which focuses on human actions and how to change them.

With simple measures that make it easier to make green choices, it contains 40 ready-made nudges, which university campuses can deploy to encourage students and staff to embrace more sustainable behaviours.

Especially when deployed alongside strategies like decarbonising and divesting from fossil fuels, UNEP believes nudging can be a powerful tool at universities.

Making recycling bins eye-catching and easy to use, using appealing descriptions for plant-based dishes, setting up a system to share leftover food from meetings or events and offering smaller plates and no tays in cafeterias to discourage food waste are all examples of nudges included in the book.

20 universities, including the University of Chile, University of Tsukuba in Japan, University of Nairobi,  and the University of California in Berkely, have joined the programme so far – UNEP is collaborating with higher education institutions around the world to pilot nudging on campuses.

The Behavioural Insights Team and GRID-Arendal helped draft The Little Book of Green Nudges in collaboration with UNEP.

Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director said: “Universities are the source of so much knowledge that students will continue to utilise throughout their lives – instilling sustainable habits and values should be a key part of this education, with the potential to shift to cleaner, greener societal behaviours.

“Changing behaviour is critical if we are to stay within our planetary boundaries. We invite higher education institutions across the world to join us in employing nudges on their campuses.”

‘green nudges’ launched by UN for universities

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