USING BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE TO PROTECT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

A Behavioural Science Approach To Practice Change For Graziers In The Burdekin.

Out of the Blue Box is a global search for new ideas to strengthen the resilience of Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef.

 

HEAR OUR SOLUTION

 
 

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THE CHALLENGE

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system. It is one of the natural wonders of the world and contributes approximately $6 billion to the global economy each year.

Unfortunately, it’s also under extreme threat caused by the pressures of climate change and poor water quality running out into the Reef Catchment. Sediment and nutrient runoff entering the reef can be linked to the landholder practices of nearby agricultural regions.

The Reef 2050 Plan, Water Quality Improvement Plan, and the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce have indicated that decreasing sediment run-off from grazing land is among the highest priorities for improving water quality and protecting the Reef from imminent and long-term risks.

THE OPPORTUNITY

One of the biggest modifiable factor to helping protect the Great Barrier Reef are the land practices of graziers along the eastern coast of Australia. When it comes to protecting the Reef, therefore, we are dealing with not only an environmental problem, but a problem that stems from the attitudes and behaviours of landholders.

By understanding graziers’ psychological drivers and barriers to change we can design and test a scalable behaviour change program that aims to significantly increase the adoption of farming practices that predict better water quality; which can help strengthen the Reef’s resilience to the stressors of climate change.

A successful example of our previous work in large-scale behaviour change programs is the Cane Changer project with the sugarcane industry that has led to up to a 1000% increase the adoption of best management farming practices, that are known to improve water quality entering the Reef.

 

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OUR APPROACH

STEP ONE | BEHAVIOURAL ANALYSIS

  • What can behavioural science and evidence from other behaviour change programs tell us about increasing practice change?

  • Analysis of grazier’s motivations and barriers to practice change

  • Contextual Analysis: Analysis of the major stakeholders, existing projects and the geopolitical environment that graziers operate in

STEP TWO | DESIGN

  • The findings from our behavioural analysis will inform the design of a suite of behaviour change strategies to inform the uptake of best management farming practices

STEP THREE | DELIVERY

  • The project will be delivered across the Bowen, Broken, Bogie (BBB) catchment in the Burdekin

STEP FOUR | EVALUATION

OUR AIMS

Our three aims are:

  1. Understand the barriers and motivations that graziers have towards adopting best management practices.

  2. Increase graziers’ adoption of best management practices and innovative stewardship

  3. Improve water quality through decreased sediment entering the GBR lagoon.

We believe that when you prioritise people, and how they see the world, then extraordinary change is possible. If we can use innovation in the way we apply behavioural science to ensuring that people feel understood and valued, then we will then stand the best possible chance of helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come.

 

OUR TEAM

Behaviour Innovation (BI) is a Brisbane company, based in the Advance Queensland innovation precinct in Fortitude Valley, founded to deliver behavioural change in agricultural settings, especially in connection to the Reef

Our team has designed, delivered and evaluated one of the largest behavioural change projects in Australian agriculture, Project Cane Changer. The Cane Changer project represents an expansion of current behaviour change strategies to a new frontier by employing a multi-strategic approach that targets individuals, groups, and the industry as a whole.

Cane Changer has led to up to a 1000% increase the adoption of best management farming practices, including those that are known to improve water quality entering the Reef.

OUR PARTNERS

The project is led and endorsed by AgForce and MLA. AgForce is the peak organisation representing Queensland's rural producers and is a key custodian of the Grazing BMP program. MLA has a clear mission to improve productivity and environmental sustainability for the grazing sector. They have a dedicated extension team that has decades of experience working with landholders to support change in the industry.

What this means is that the project is owned by the industry, and it is designed by graziers and the peak bodies that represent them.