From Paper to Practice: Exploring Five Canadian Case Studies of Water Efficiency Programs using Community-Based Social Marketing Criteria
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Canadian municipalities are facing increasing pressure on their water infrastructure and are seeking to maximize their water efficiency efforts through managing consumption. Residential water consumption is complex because water-use is deeply intertwined with norms, lifestyles, attitudes, perceptions, and enjoyment of water, making managing and reducing consumption difficult. Some community programs seeking to influence water efficiency behaviour have gravitated towards utilizing community-based social marketing (CBSM) principles in some way. CBSM offers a pragmatic five-step approach to developing a program that fosters sustainable behaviour. CBSM has a rigid focus on behaviour selection and aims to develop strategies that overcome barriers while maximizing benefits of desired behaviours. However, how the CBSM theoretical framework has been implemented into programs remains largely under-evaluated. To help address this gap, Lynes, Whitney, and Murray (2014) developed twenty-one benchmarks to assess CBSM programs, and then applied them to musician Jack Johnson’s All At Once campaign. This research builds upon these benchmarks by assessing multiple case studies of programs that have used CBSM principles. The primary objective is to explore how the CBSM theoretical framework has been implemented into practice at the community level. This will be investigated by: 1. Developing a robust and replicable benchmark assessment procedure that allows for assessing multiple programs efficiently and effectively 2. Determining the degree to which selected case study programs have integrated the CBSM benchmarks 3. Making recommendations for better aligning practice with the intended framework. Five Canadian water efficiency programs that self-identified as using CBSM principles were recruited. Five programs – two programs from British Columbia, and three from Ontario – were selected as case studies. In addition to conducting secondary research, each program provided at least one employee to participate in the primary research element of this study, which included one survey, an in-depth interview, and a follow-up. Information about each case study was consolidated and then assessed using the proposed CBSM Benchmark Assessment tool. This tool, developed from a synthesis of work from CBSM’s founder as well as the benchmarks originally developed by Lynes, Whitney and Murray (2014), satisfies the first deliverable of this research and is intended to empower practitioners to assess their programs along qualitative criteria in a reliable and replicable way. The main outcomes of this research indicate how five water efficiency case studies have employed CBSM principles in their behaviour-change programs, and what successes and challenges they have faced. This paper also discusses how programs can better align with CBSM principles, as well as contributes to the literature around evaluating and assessing the CBSM framework and its effectiveness.
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Sarah Fries (2019). From Paper to Practice: Exploring Five Canadian Case Studies of Water Efficiency Programs using Community-Based Social Marketing Criteria. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15139