The CSCP Provides Scientific Support to the Campaign #Wirdrehenrunter: How Colder Washing Can Protect the Climate

Did you know that lowering the washing temperature of your laundry from 40°C to 30°C can have as big an impact as saving around 38% CO2 emissions? Maybe you contemplated if washing at lower degrees provides the same cleaning results? Truth is, improved detergent formulas work just as well in colder temperatures. In turn, cold-washing saves energy leading to significant reductions in CO2 emissions. The CSCP has scientifically supported the process of developing a campaign design based on behavioural science as well as an evaluation methodology to show the effects of the campaign on the washing behaviour of consumers in Germany.

In August 2022, WWF Germany and the consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G) Germany have launched a Germany-wide cooperation to raise awareness on the impact of the washing temperature among consumers. The campaign #Wirdrehenrunter aims to reduce Germany’s average washing temperature by one degree per year, thus cutting down the overall CO2 emissions.

Behaviour change is at the core of this campaign and the field in which the CSCP supported the process of the partners with its scientific expertise. Certain practices of doing laundry are so deeply ingrained in the way consumers run their household chores that it takes a deeper understanding to change them for the better. The CSCP has designed the internal process with WWF and P&G to understand current washing behaviours and barriers for change as well as opportunities which could offer a springboard to changing consumer behaviours toward more sustainability. In a co-creation process, different previously successful tools to accelerate behaviour change where matched with the identified barriers and informed the campaign design. As a second step, the CSCP has also supported WWF and P&G in developing a scientifically-sound methodology to evaluate the success of the #Wirdrehenrunter campaign in terms of washing temperature reduction and the overall impact. Different qualitative and quantitate evaluation elements have been identified to best fit the purpose and been reviewed by an external expert panel.

“Turning down the washing temperature is a great example for a behaviour change intervention which can help each of us to reduce emissions at the household-level. Applying a behavioural model filled with all the knowledge the partners already brought to the table made it very clear which barriers exist for consumers to change their behaviours: Habits that are passed on over generations, concerns about the hygiene of laundry or hard-to-find cold wash settings of washing machines are some of them. It is very exciting that P&G and WWF Germany have agreed to address these barriers with a large campaign and that we will be able to monitor the results closely to learn what works and what doesn’t, something that is hardly ever done and will massively increase the knowledge for the scientific and business communities”, says Rosa Strube, Head of Sustainable Lifestyles at the CSCP, who leads the work from the CSCP side.

The evaluation methodology will be implemented during the next 12 months to assess the campaign’s impact, understand emission reductions, generate learnings for improving the campaign elements, and inform other campaigns aimed at changing consumer behaviour.

For further information, please contact Rosa Strube.