The Effectiveness of the EcoTeam Program in the Netherlands

Summary

The EcoTeam Program was created by an international environmental organization called the Global Action Plan for the Earth and is used to foster sustainable behaviour within households. This project was implemented in 1994 by the Centre for Energy and Environment Research from Leiden University. The project proposed to reveal whether or not the results regarding sustainable household behaviour found soon after participation in the EcoTeam Program continued two years after participation. In January and February of 1994, participants of 60 EcoTeams were approached and asked to partake in the research. At this time, following the project, the participants were approached again in October of the same year to complete a questionnaire. Participants were asked about their involvement in approximately 100 sustainable behaviours and investments included in the EcoTeam program (e.g. turning off the faucet while brushing one's teeth and the installation of energy-saving light bulbs). Further, they were asked about several psychological factors, such as perceived control over environmental issues. Finally, information was obtained regarding the amount of solid household waste produced as well as amounts of gas, water and electricity that was used over a two week period.

Results

The short term effects of the EcoTeam Program were very positive. Immediately after completion, participants had changed about half of the suggested environmentally relevant household behaviors and investments. Participation in the program also led to significant reductions in resource use. To measure the longevity of these effects, a follow-up study was conducted two years after the completion of the program. Two years after participation, 19 of the 26 behaviors and investments remained improved. Also, 4 of the 20 behaviors and investments that had not changed directly after participation appeared to have improved. Shortly after participation, a reduction of household waste and natural gas was observed. Reductions on electricity and water use were not initially statistically significant. However, when re-examined after two years, reductions in natural gas, water, electricity and waste produced were observed.

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