What kind of policies, practices or innovations are being applied across the EU that support people’s efforts to behave in ways that contribute to environmental sustainability, improve their health, and promote more equal conditions for good health? More than 80 promising practices have now been collected and made available online through the INHERIT initiative.
By Ingrid Stegeman
The purpose of the new INHERIT promising practice database is to demonstrate concrete examples of intersectoral actions which enable citizens to live and behave in more sustainable ways, thereby encouraging further uptake and development of the ideas. The practices included in the database come from all parts of Europe and cover living (green space, housing), moving (active transport), and consuming (food). They can be sorted by criteria such as country, topic or political level (EU, national, regional, local).
The INHERIT initiative focuses on promoting actions and innovations that simultaneously protect the environment, improve health, and help reduce health inequalities the database provides examples of such actions. The practices are considered promising (rather than ‘good’, or ‘best’) in that they demonstrate potential to make a scalable impact by encouraging or enabling behaviour change that can contribute to more sustainable societies, although this may not (yet) be backed up by adequate evaluation.
Initiatives in the database include:
Ghent on Garde: Food Policy implemented in city of Ghent in Belgium, with 5 strategic goals:
1) a shorter, more visible food chain; 2) more sustainable food production and consumption; 3) more social added value for food initiatives; 4) reduction of food waste; 5) optimum re-use of food waste as raw materials. Some elements of the new food policy have already been evaluated and seem to be having positive effects on health.
Easy Bike: The first bicycle sharing system to be implemented by the Greek company BrainBox in 2008. The initiative, which has now spread across many parts of Europe, sees the installation of bike stations in select parts of cities and the provision of bicycles. Citizens can use these bikes by paying a relatively small fee depending on the time they use the bike
Green Flag: An EU-wide initiative to promote green schools and environmental awareness. The initiative starts in the classroom and encourages young people to protect the environment as they work towards being awarded a green flag.
Question Mark: IT tools (website and apps) developed by an organisation in the Netherlands that scores products on the basis of health, environment, human rights and animal welfare considerations. It covers products available in a number of affiliated supermarket chains in the Netherlands.
PROVE: An IT tool in Portugal that helps to link producers directly with consumers, cutting out intermediaries and contributing to a shorter food-supply chain.
No Ridiculous Car Trips: A campaign in the city Malmö, Sweden that aims to make people realise that it is ridiculous to drive short distances (less than five kilometers). It uses both conventional (ads, radio spots, banners, brochures, bicycle maps, contests and giveaways) and unconventional (live billboards, “advertising” cyclists) marketing methods to reach target groups.
Twelve of the promising practices in the database will be further developed, refined, implemented and evaluated in twelve inter-sectoral ‘pilot’ initiatives.
INHERIT is a four year (2016-2019) research initiative coordinated by EuroHealthNet that aims to identify and promote effective policies, practices and innovations that motivate and/or enable people to change their lifestyles and behaviours to simultaneously improve their health, the environment and contribute to greater health equity. The initiative began with a baseline review of existing knowledge and the development of a “Common Analytical Framework” (CAF) , to help understand and analyse the complex relationships in the areas being addressed. It has also investigated future trends to formulate scenarios for a more sustainable future, and is feeding outcomes into relevant policy and practice arenas to contribute to achieving the desired future change.
INHERIT is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme
Ingrid Stegeman is Programme Manager with almost 20 years of experience in the field of EU health and social policies, and in managing EU co-funded projects. She works across EuroHealthNet’s Policy, Practice and Research Platforms, and is responsible for overseeing and ensuring the quality of EuroHealthNet’s wide-ranging activities to reduce health inequalities through underlying determinants of health. She is currently managing EuroHealthNet’s Schools4Health project and our contributions to the FEAST research consortium, that focuses on transforming food systems, as policy lead.