A new, pioneering, incentive scheme has been launched that, for the first time, will enable councils to benefit from a wide range of pro-environmental behavioural shifts beyond just recycling, by offering reward points as a “currency”, linking their value directly to the value of the performance increase that is achieved as opposed to simply relying solely upon retailer vouchers.
Local Green Points, a joint initiative between three leading organisations in the fields of Incentives (Green Rewards), Communications (EnviroComms) and Waste Management (Resource Waste Advisory Group), will enable councils to use incentives to stimulate a positive shift in performance of recycling as well as waste prevention and reuse with the longer term ability to include other pro-environmental actions including energy reduction, greater use of public transport and healthy living.
An important attraction for councils is the scheme’s inherent simplicity, as Stephen Bates from EnviroComms explains; It’s clear in the current economic climate that councils would find it difficult to justify the funding of new equipment or major infrastructure changes so Local Green Points has been developed to avoid the need for this. It’s primary objective is to increase diversion so we measure just two things; residual household waste (by collection round) and uncontrolled waste discharges across the same area. These two primary KPIs have certain synergies. For example, in the unlikely event that residents wish to maximise their rewards by disposing their residual waste in an uncontrolled way, the KPIs will reveal such a trend, and remedial actions taken. This also means we can accommodate any type of containment, type of property and plug into existing operations and infrastructure as well as ensure that implementation costs are attainable.
Community is another major focus of Local Green Points with a strong emphasis on enabling greater community cohesion through engagement with local groups at a participatory level as well as Community Projects being beneficiaries of the rewards earned. Graham Simmonds, former Chief Executive at Trees for Cities and Founder and Director of Green Rewards explains: “From the outset, we firmly believed Local Green Points could and should offer the ability to deliver strong local community partnerships and help build social cohesion through engagement with local groups. We undertook research in an area of London that revealed that 41% of people would prefer a mix community and individual rewards with 34% saying they prefer just community rewards. Just 24% of people wanted individual rewards. These findings support our approach to reward communities collectively and clearly this makes implementation of a scheme simpler as it avoids the need (and cost) to identify individual household performance, focusing instead on community-wide performance”.
Central to the Local Green Points operation is the “LGP Hub”, a system that has the capacity to process a vast array of data flows enabling transparent and robust measurement of key performance trends. Developed by some of Europe’s leading environmental economists, the LGP Hub sets the foundations to access future funding streams from both the direct and indirect cost benefits that landfill diversion and other environmental improvements affords. Andy Whiteman (Resource Waste Advisory Group); “Transparency is the key. People need to know what their environmental contribution is worth in direct savings and indirect environmental benefits. Because we are not just incentivising recycling, but also waste prevention and reuse, we needed a tool, which gives us a mass balance of the entire waste and recycling flows. Our aim is to de-couple waste growth from economic growth, meeting this challenge remains the holy grail of the environmental movement’.
Local Green Points have confirmed that they are targeting a project in London in the New Year, working in partnership with a council and local housing associations and are in advanced discussions with a number of other local authorities and waste partnerships across the country.
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