Defra framework for pro-environmental behaviours

In order to improve the support we give to consumers Defra has developed a framework for pro-environmental behaviours. This summarises our understanding of the evidence on consumer behaviour and is designed to support policy development and implementation in Defra, other Government departments and externally. The framework has been developed with the help and advice of a wide range of experts, Defra delivery partners and other stakeholders.

The framework covers:

  • A set of core principles and approaches for encouraging more environmentally friendly behaviour;
  • A set of 12 headline behaviour goals, covering the main areas of consumption: food and drink, personal travel, homes and household products, and travel tourism;
  • Consumer insight and evidence base: including an assessment of what kinds of actions people are already taking and their relative ability and willingness to do more;
  • An environmental segmentation model that divides the public into seven clusters, each sharing a distinct set of attitudes and beliefs towards the environment;
  • An assessment of the implications of this evidence and understanding for policy development and implementation, including the design of communications and marketing tools.

Apart from Defra itself, this report is also aimed at policy makers and marketing advisers in government, other public sector, and stakeholders in the private and third sectors who are interested in supporting greener lifestyles. Its conclusions and recommendations – and more particularly the under-pinning research - should be of interest to the wider research community in the UK and to some extent beyond.

Download the framework report

Background to the framework

The framework draws on a wide range of external research and advisory reports including a report to Government from the Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption (PDF)

Defra-commissioned research includes a large-scale survey of public attitudes and behaviour and a series of pieces of qualitative research on public understanding (see below).

The segmentation model takes forward our understanding of how environmental attitudes, values, current behaviours and motivations and barriers are packaged together for defined segments of the population. It has implications for policy and communications development as well as identifying areas for further research.

How to contact us

For further information about the environmental behaviours framework please contact us at

Defra’s evidence base - links

Public engagement and greener living

If everyone in the world lived like people in the UK, it is estimated that three planets’ worth of resources would be needed to support us.

As individual consumers – of food and drink, personal travel, home and household products, and tourism – we are accountable for a large proportion of the UK’s environmental pressures both at home and abroad. Around 40% of the UK’s CO2 emissions come directly from household energy consumption, including private car use. Other impacts occur more indirectly during the production of the goods and services that we consume.

Government, business and consumers need to act together to tackle climate change and natural resource loss, for example ensuring that more sustainable products are brought into the market place or that advice and support is given for us to be more energy and water efficient.

Practical advice is available as follows:

Defra campaigns and programmes for public engagement and greener living

Page last modified: 3 August 2009
Page published: 14 January 2008

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