A new study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the Commission published in July 2021 shows how the choices farmers make to adopt voluntary green practices are affected by how much they are already obliged to contribute to the environment.
The behavioural science study finds that the mandatory requirements placed on farmers, the less likely they are to make additional voluntary contributions. However, if the mandatory requirements are ambitious enough, the positive impact on the environment more than offsets the drop in voluntary actions.
In the EU, farmers receive support to safeguard their activities and promote food security and sustainable farming, through the common agricultural policy (CAP). This includes financial support to farmers who adopt or maintain farming practices that help meet environmental and climate goals.
The JRC study explores the conditions under which farmers are more or less likely to decide to adopt voluntary environmentally friendly farming practices in addition to mandatory ones. For voluntary practices, the higher the level of direct payments farmers receive, the more likely they are to take up such green activities.