Evaluation of the One-Tonne Challenge Program
- PROGRAM SUMMARY
- EVALUATION DESIGN
- EVALUATION ISSUES AND ASSOCIATED FINDINGS
- LESSONS LEARNED
- MANAGEMENT RESPONSE
- Annex 1a - OTC Logic Model - Public and Education Outreach
- Annex 1b - OTC Logic Model - Performance Measurement Framework of the OTC
- Annex 1c - OTC Logic Model - OTC Business Plan and Management Framework
- Annex 2 - Evaluation Issues and Questions
- Annex 3 - Documentation Reviewed
- Annex 4 - List of Interviewees
- Annex 5 - Interview Questions and Themes for Federal Government Officials
- Annex 6 - Interview Questions for OTC Partners/Stakeholders
- Annex 7 - Survey Questions for OTC Tracking Survey
- Annex 8 - OTC Relevant Program Mapping
The evaluation found that a public education and outreach program like the OTC is relevant as it addresses Canadians’ need to receive better information on climate change to allow them to make informed decisions about their use of energy and resources in their daily activities as well as the products they consider purchasing.Indeed, the evaluation found that the key characteristics of the climate change phenomenon (i.e., lack of tangible evidence of environmental or health impacts to date, uncertainty about long term ramifications, and the absence of a toxic or chemical dimension) contributes to the unique challenges in terms of establishing it as a priority for action at the individual level. Moreover, the fact that Canadian citizens are responsible for about 30 percent of Canada’s GHG emissions makes them a key component of Canada’s fight against climate change. Finally, public education has a role to play in stimulating consumer demand for new and more energy efficient products, and hence is directly contributing to the market transformation that is called upon to effectively achieve Canada’s short-term and longer-term climate change goals. In this light, a public education program like the OTC can help Canadians identify the role that they may play in climate change, in particular, by making Canadians more aware of their lifestyle and consumption patterns that are contributing to climate change and the benefits accruing to the actions.
The OTC was on track to achieving its public education outcomes.First, the level of awareness of the OTC increased significantly over the previous year(from6% established in the 2004 Survey to 60% in the 2005 Survey – unaided and aided responses).Second, the OTC was also generally understood by Canadian citizens, although there has not been much variation in understanding since 2004. Specifically, 78% of surveyed respondents in the 2005 Survey who recalled hearing about the OTC (unaided responses) understood the initiative. These respondents indicated that the OTC is “well recognized in general terms as a program designed to reduce emissions and/or energy use”. Thirdly, Canadians generally supported the Challenge and are expressing willingness to take personal action to reduce GHG emissions.
The evaluation also found that the overall interest in taking the Challenge continues to be higher for those who are most concerned about climate change, and those who have already made the most effort towards reducing their energy use at home or on the road. A majority of Canadians, however, continue to believe that it will be difficult to personally meet the target of a 20 percent reduction in the coming year.The perceived difficulty remains most evident among Canadians with higher household incomes, homeowners and those owning vehicles. This evidence along with the responses from the key informant interviews conducted for this evaluation is an indication that the Program appears to have been less successful in having an impact on those Canadians that are emitting relatively more GHG emissions. In particular, the evaluation found that current participants in the OTC that were overall positive in their experience so far, represent Canadians who, for example, do not own their vehicles and with low incomes (i.e., below $25,000), indicating that the program appeared to be reaching those that can be brought on board more easily.
The lack of information about how to reduce their personal contributions to GHG emissions was perceived to be a significant barrier to participation in the Challenge. The perception that the Challenge was too inconvenient or time-consuming, that individual participation will not make a difference to climate change, that there is little room for improvements (i.e., in terms of energy efficiency), and the low interest/concern have also been identified as barriers to action.
In order to achieve the ultimate outcome of emission reductions, it appears, however, that the OTC was faced with a number of challenges to deliver clear and attributable GHG emission reductions.The investigation of relevant official documents (Project Green, TB Review, OTC program activities) indicates that the OTC was portrayed, communicated and implemented as a public education and outreach program rather than a mitigation one. The ‘OTC brand’ was, in practice, treated more as an opportunity for Canadians to set a personal goal for action than an actual emission reduction target. Indeed, various measurement issues challenge a program like the OTC in accounting for emission reductions. Reaching consensus on what is measured, how and by whom in a program that was highly dispersed and deployed through various partners, the risk of double counting, and attribution issues were presented as the key constraining factors.
Overall the OTC was well designed and delivered to achieve its public education related outcomes in terms of its two key components, namely a national marketing initiative and partnerships with key sectors of Canadian society. Moreover, OTC partners were satisfied with their involvement in the OTC indicating that it was consistent with their respective mandates and goals and enabled the delivery of their own programs/activities. Evidence indicates however that there were missed opportunities in terms of separating some partnerships and/or better defining their respective roles. This concerned, more specifically, the need to better integrate the youth and education components (i.e., to develop multi-faceted audiencesupport materials, mechanisms to enhance communication/involvement). The interest in cooperation between the federal government representatives and provincial education ministries was also expressed (i.e., to better link the relevant education materials to the provincial/territorial curricula). The evaluation has also found that the OTC undertook community-based projects that were similar to those undertaken by EC’sEcoAction Community Funding.However, the evaluation has not found any clear justification of why similar streams of projects were operating under different programs, in particular, given the natural links between climate change and the other three environmental goals that EcoAction funded projects are based upon (i.e., clean air, clean water, and nature).
The evaluation also found that there existed opportunities for more consistently integrated messaging efforts across other key related programs/initiatives, including those at the provincial/territorial levels. The evaluation found that there was evidence of integration and cohesiveness of public education messaging between the OTC program and other federal programs such as the OEE (e.g., mutually reinforcing programs) and the OTC’s own partners (e.g., partners’ activities can build on a national program and the national awareness that accompanies it, enhanced consumer credibility, alignment with federal government). Indeed, this integration and cohesiveness was facilitated by the partners’ clear climate change focus. Some OTC partners expressed some suggestions for further coordination, including the need for more partner-specific produced support materials, better coordination between national advertising activities and those undertaken by partners, and to avoid the potential of introducing competing brands.
The opportunities for enhanced integration and cohesiveness of messaging between the OTC and other key programs/initiatives, particularly those at the provincial/territorial levels were less straightforward, however. This issue is of particular concern given the national stature of the OTC program. The evaluation’s review of two provincial initiatives of relevance indicated thatthere were considerable challenges in integrating the overarching OTC message (i.e., reducing GHG emissions to combat climate change) with the initiatives established at the provincial/territorial levels (i.e., while emphasizing environmental benefits in general, the focus is on conserving energy and saving money). Moreover, evidence also indicates that (past and current) programs/initiatives focussing on Canadian citizens at both the federal and provincial levels are an indication of the interest of different jurisdictions in designing climate change related programs that are targeting the individual Canadian.
Finally, while the evidence collected in this evaluation indicates that the public education and outreach means that the OTC program is using to increase Canadians’ awareness, understanding and support for the Challenge is appropriate and efficient, the evidence also indicates that other complementary measures would enhance the degree to which Canadians citizens take action to reduce their GHG emissions. There is consensus among OTC partners who participated in the key informant interviews for this evaluation on the need and importance of the objective of leading Canadians to take actions. However, one main concern of the OTC partners was the challenges to the program in moving from awareness to action and that the public education means alone are not sufficient to capture those who are not already on board. There is overall recognition that the OTC should be complemented by additional measures (e.g., economic instruments, regulations) in order to motivate timely action and in order for the program to be successful. Respondents have indicated that actions needed are long term, and behaviour change is acknowledged to be a difficult goal. The support for government-supported incentives is strong.
The unique challenges in moving Canadians from awareness to GHG emission reducing actions, the perceived inconvenience and difficulties in doing the latter (e.g., need for incentives to offset potential costs of actions and/or increase benefits of actions), the lessons learned from analogous behavioural-changing initiatives (i.e., National Strategy to Reduce Tobacco Use), and the ongoing recommendations by the OECD on the wider use of economic instruments, in association with regulatory instruments and other instruments (i.e., voluntary agreements, public education), are the reasons provided to enhance the cost-effectiveness of the program, particularly in light of its aim to help Canadians take personal actions to reduce their GHG emissions.
As a public education and outreach program, the OTC offered information to Canadians about how and why they should act as well as directed them, through partnerships and advertising, to available mitigation programs and energy-efficient products. As such, a program like the OTC has the capacity to increase the uptake of a number of programs/initiatives and there is considerable potential to make Canadians aware of them.
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