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Behavior Change

The latest developments supporting a shift toward sustainable consumption, as well as specific ways brands are encouraging less wasteful behaviors.

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Why CVS' 'No Smokes' Decision Is Big News for Forward-Thinking Brands

On Feb. 5, drugstore chain CVS Caremark announced that it will stop selling tobacco products.It’s a big deal. Here’s why.It signals a step towards more businesses saying, “It’s wrong. So we’re stopping.” Even when the financials — what the sustainability world calls “the business case” — don’t support it in the short term.I’d like to suggest that CVS’ announcement moves the ball downfield for more business decisions based on social and environmental impacts. It creates new, safe middle ground to operate more openly from the “morals” argument as a valued partner to the “money” business case argument.

Driving Sustainability: Lessons from Public Health

Experts in public health have struggled with enabling behaviour change for years. The sustainability sector should learn what it can from their experiences. Consumer behaviour change is the challenge of our time. As governments and brands are beginning to realise, upstream improvements are relatively easy to make compared with the herculean task of shifting consumer behaviours downstream. While the sustainability community is just beginning to get to grips with the gravity of this challenge, our colleagues in public health have been wrestling with it for decades. Great progress has been made, but hard lessons have been learned — costly, time-consuming lessons that we can all learn from.

CVS to Cut Tobacco Products From All Pharmacy Locations

In a bold yet intuitive move for a pharmacy, CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the US by October 1, 2014. It is the first action of its kind by a national pharmacy chain.With more than 480,000 deaths annually, smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States, CVS says. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from around 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade.

NGOs Weigh In on APRIL's Spotty New Sustainable Forest Management Policy

WWF says it is cautiously welcoming a first attempt at a Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) by Indonesian pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL), released Tuesday. WWF notes that a commitment to support forest conservation areas equal in size to its plantations sets a new standard for the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia, but is concerned about certain loopholes in the policy, which Greenpeace says is ‘essentially a license to continue forest clearance.’

Subway Joins First Lady in Promoting Healthy Food to Kids by 'Powering Playtime with Veggies'

In the latest in a string of recent efforts to engage children in the joys of healthy eating, First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week that Subway® restaurants has joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative in a three-year commitment to promote healthier food choices to kids. As part of its commitment, Subway will launch a series of fun, engaging campaigns aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in children; set and implement new marketing standards to kids; and strengthen its children’s menu offerings, which the chain says are already nutritious.

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Nestlé, Campbell's, Coke Among Companies That Eliminated 6.4T Calories from U.S. Marketplace

16 of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to the findings released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The companies, acting together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015. The independent evaluation found that the companies have so far exceeded their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent.The 16 companies committed to the HWCF calorie-reduction pledge are:

Dispelling the Dissonance: How Conscious Brands Can Turn Customer Beliefs Into Actions

In the 2010 UN Global Compact-Accenture Global CEO Study, 49% of CEOs said that the sustainability agenda can only move forward if driven by greater consumer demand; government and corporate initiatives will not be enough. While sustainability advocates fret that companies are interested in sustainability initiatives only to sell more stuff, CEOs are frustrated by the dissonance between what consumers say they want and the values that their spending reflects. To quote a CEO from the survey:

New Campaign Encouraging Brits to 'Smart Swap' Healthier Food Criticized for Shortsightedness

Last week, Public Health England unveiled its latest Change4Life campaign, which this year focuses on getting people throughout England and Wales to “Smart Swap” fatty or sugary foods for healthier alternatives.The campaign recognizes that it’s unrealistic to expect people to immediately switch from chocolate to fruit, for example, so it is hoping to incentivize making smarter food choices by offering participants money-saving vouchers for healthier foods and drinks and in-store offers from partner retailers such as Asda, Co-operative Food, Lidl and Aldi.

Making Energy Efficiency Work for Utilities: New Findings

How can utilities be persuaded to help their customers use less electricity and natural gas? It’s entirely possible, starting with regulatory reforms that remove any linkage between the financial health of our hometown utilities and the amount of electricity and natural gas they sell. NRDC and diverse allies have dedicated literally decades of effort to getting such measures adopted, and a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy provides new insights on progress across the United States.

How to Get People to Reuse Their Hotel Towels

We’ve all faced this great moral dilemma whenever we stay in a nice hotel. The little sign in the bathroom reads, “Please help us protect the environment and conserve water by reusing your towel.” Even those of us who consider ourselves environmentalists often balk; we’re paying hundreds of dollars to stay in their hotel, and, darn it, we really want a clean towel.

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From Behavior Change to Transforming Everyday Practices: The Latest in Behavioral Science

From Unilever’s ‘five levers for change’ to Volkswagen’s ‘fun theory’ and Nike’s Fuelband, behavior change has become a key concern for businesses re-orienting their goals around the promotion of sustainable lives. This represents an opportune moment for drawing on the latest thinking from behavioral sciences.

For Those Who’d Rather Give Than Receive, #GivingTuesday Marks True Start to Holiday Season

While thousands of retailers across the U.S. and cyberspace are dusting their shelves and crossing their fingers for lucrative Black Friday and Cyber Monday takes, respectively, thousands of organizations around the world are gearing up for an event that represents the true spirit of the holiday season, #GivingTuesday.

Greenpeace Praises Google, Apple, Facebook for Duke Clean Energy Breakthrough

Duke Energy Carolinas, which provides roughly 20,000 megawatts of electricity to approximately 2.4 million customers throughout the Carolinas through a mix of nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric power generation, announced on Friday the addition of a “Green Source Rider” that will offer its large customers an opportunity to purchase renewable energy, apparently in response to requests from some of said large customers.

Why Water-Saving Advice Won’t Work

To the tune of Dolly Parton’s "Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman," I hear myself humming, "Sometimes It’s hard to be a sustainability person… giving all our love to just one plan."That plan — to educate, to warn, to inform, ergo ‘get people to use less water’ — is more than ambitious (especially in the UK). It is unproductively naive, unless we get behaviour change expertise involved at the front, middle and centre of our work. Here is why …

Sprint Offering Buyback Credit on All Phones to Encourage Trade-Ins on America Recycles Day

Despite being the No. 3 wireless carrier in the United States, Sprint leads the industry in phone recycling. Last year, Sprint reclaimed 4.4 million phones through voluntary collection programs — compared to AT&T’s 3.1 million and Verizon’s 3 million — and in September, Guinness World Records recognized Sprint for shattering the record for the number of cellular phones recycled in one week: 103,582 cellular phones, more than double the previous record.

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Employee Engagement: Why Motivating the Elephant Is Better Than Rewarding the Rider

Many organisations are grappling with the same question: How do we create an employee reward and recognition programme designed to deliver widely adopted and sustained pro-environmental behaviours?

EOS Climate Launches System for Monetizing Harmful Refrigerants at End of Life

San Francisco-based EOS Climate, which incentivizes the complete life cycle management of harmful refrigerants, on Tuesday announced the launch of its Refrigerant Asset System™ (RAS), the first cross-sector business model that focuses on refrigerants as assets.

Investors Tell UK Firms Paying Living Wage Can Increase ‘Longevity and Productivity’

Here’s a novel idea: Paying people enough to live off comfortably motivates them to not only work harder, but stick around longer.In a recent letter published by the Financial Times, investors from local authorities, unions and charities, such as the CCLA, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Pensions Trust, said they wish to invest in companies that focus on the longevity and productivity of their business operations. The investors claimed there is “considerable evidence that paying the living wage helps to achieve these objectives.”

Meet Bond, David Bond: Marketing Director for Nature

This weekend, the feature-length documentary film Project Wild Thing opens in independent cinemas in the UK.The film explores the increasing disconnection between British children and the natural world around them; kids’ roaming distance from their homes has reportedly decreased 90% in the past 30 years.PROJECT WILD THING - official trailer from Green Lions.

The Answer Is: The Human Condition

“We need to do something about the environmental damage in our heads.”(Time, 24 May 1993).

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