NTT DATA Business Solutions
NTT DATA Business Solutions | May 31, 2024 | 4 min. read

Green Nudging project is now live at Fanø

This easter, the Green Nudging project began its pilot program that will last throughout the summer of 2024.

In this article, we explain the project and how we are using nudging, generative AI and data on Fanø in collaboration to preserve wildlife and nature, to foster more sustainable tourism and to counteract environmental damage, overcrowding, cultural deterioration and economic disparity in the UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site nature of The Wadden Sea.

The project is a partnership between The Wadden Sea National Park, NTT DATA Business Solutions and Microsoft Azure.

Photo: Ulrik Pedersen, Tøndermarsk Initiativet


This easter: Launch of pilot project

The island of Fanø is a popular holiday destination. The stunning UNESCO recognized nature, the historic towns and the local charm attracts both foreigners and locals, when the weather calls for a holiday or a visit to a summer cottage.

Sustainable tourism

This easter something different will happen at Fanø: The Green Nudging project will be launched and continue throughout the summer.

The project aims to guide visitors on Fanø Island towards greener choices and sustainable actions through combination of nudging, sustaianability and data. Ultimately to address better preservation of wildlife and nature, and to foster more sustainable tourism.

Green nudging with generative AI

Simply put, by making it easier and more appealing for visitors, citizens, hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts to make environmentally friendly and sustainable choices, we aim to encourage them to adopt a more sustainable behavior on Fanø. By doing so, we can counteract environmental damage, overcrowding, cultural deterioration and economic disparity.

At the heart of the project is a generative Digital Assistant based on GenAI, trained in the specific area to provide useful information to visitors, while also communicating the area’s code of conduct to help preserve nature and wildlife.

Green nudging is aimed at accomplishing exactly that. A data-driven approach to influence people’s behaviour so that eco-friendly behaviour and sustainable choices become the natural and obvious choice.

How it's done: Nudging sustainable tourism at Fanø

When tourists, visitors and residents travel to the island, they will be greeted by a new sight on the ferry as they arrive to Fanø from Esbjerg: A friendly seal with glasses visually represented around the ferry.

The seal is accompanied by a QR code and a friendly offer: “I have plenty of good ideas for your trip. Scan the code and chat with me” – eager to share ideas, inspiration, and advice to make the most of your trip to Fanø.

It could be advise about the best time to see seals. About where to find them? How to deal with the tides and how to experience The Wadden Sea the best way possible? Where are the most child-friendly beaches at this time of year? What are the history about the bunkers on the beach? It could be tidbits about the cities and historical backdrops you’re walking around. Tips and tricks that only residents with special knowledge of Fanø know.

Simply scan the QR code hanging next to the seal and you’re ready to discover new sides of Fanø on a deeper, more informed level.

Behavioral motivators: Leveraging cognitive biases and habits

The QR code on the ferry is just one of a total of 60 QR codes around Fanø. This is where green nudging comes in.

A nudge from a friendly seal

Each QR code is location-specific – giving you easy and accessible advice for exactly where you are. And once you’ve tried scanning a QR code for the first time, it’s natural to try again next time on another location.

So, when tourists visits one of Fanø’s attractions and curiously scan the QR code, they get more than storytelling and deep insights into the area.

They also receive behavioural guidelines from the code of conduct of The Wadden Sea: How your behaviour can be as sustainable as possible. How to act in sync with nature, wildlife, and locals – exactly where the tourist is standing and where the code has been scanned.

It’s about utilizing cognitive biases and habits – promoting environmentally friendly choices without restricting freedom. As a tourist, it’s natural to have blind spots to the cultural and historic context of the place you’re visiting. But this way we make it easy to adopt a green behavior and make the sustainable choice. Without coercion, legislation and regulations. All while contributing to an even more sublime experience for the visitor on Fanø.

Collecting data

To strengthen the sustainability efforts further, the Green Nudging project also employ cutting-edge Internet of Things (IoT) technology together with diverse data sources. The project will monitor activity on specific routes and evaluate the impact on local wildlife and ecosystems. It enables us to make sure the nature on Fanø is protected in the best way whilst people are still able to use the pathways for recreative activities, such as enjoying hiking and mountainbiking.

This effort also enables an early detection of threats and potential damage to ecosystems and further an efficient allocation of resources for park management and conversation efforts.

More about Sustainability at NTT DATA Business Solutions

Why we do it: The urgency of the Green Nudging project

This research project explores the application of new technologies in novel areas to understand their potential benefits to society. Built on the momenttum platform, we are eager to make this technology widely available soon.

A transformative future

Tourism, while beneficial for economies and cultural change, can also create significant challenges for society and environment.

The problems can include overcrowding leading to devastation of nature, stress of the population, and pollution. Environmental damage on local land use, soil erosion, natural habitat loss and pressure on wildlife. Cultural deterioration, where local culture and language can be negatively affected by tourism. And economic disparity, where rapid growth of tourism can lead to locals being priced out of their own communities.

If tourism embraces sustainability – the future could be transformative. Natural landscapes can be preserved, travel practices can become ecofriendly, local cultures will be respected and economic stability could be promoted. And a more mindful approach to tourism can increase global awareness of environmental impact leading to more sustainable choices in everyday life.

More about Sustainability at NTT DATA Business Solutions

Photo: Wasabi Film PH, Peter Hougaardt

Find out more