“Less talk and more action” has been a guiding motto of my life, so I suppose it should have come as no surprise when, after a year of researching the ins and outs of environmental behaviour change for my Masters, I decided to put the theory into practice.I figured I’d do best to test the lessons I’d learned out on my friends first; after all, if they wouldn’t listen who would? My friends don’t like being preached at — especially when it comes to being green. Like most people, at the mention of any simple eco actions, such as changing light bulbs or driving less, most of them would simply switch off.I needed a fun way to grab their attention and fuel their motivation to start doing things differently. So I grabbed a friend and we cycled to Morocco.
In his book The Green Marketing Manifesto, environmental advertising guru John Grant admits that there is one product that he had no idea how to sell. The problem is not product performance. The little disruptive innovation in question is not just greener but more convenient, cost effective and reliable than its more established competitors. The problem is that it goes against prevailing attitudes and, as a durable low-margin product it doesn’t generate a large marketing budget with which to change those attitudes.
Promoting behavior change is something that Lifebuoy knows well. Launched in 1894 by William Level in the UK as the Royal Disinfectant Soap to stop cholera in Victorian England, it went on to be known as the “red soap” throughout the twentieth century. Back in the early days, Lifebuoy launched programs in schools showing children the importance of handwashing at key occasions.
The consumption of goods and services is growing rapidly with the rise in household incomes and population growth. This growth in consumption is significantly offsetting and underplaying the environmental gains being made on the production side.At Nokia, we believe changing of consumption patterns requires businesses to play an entirely new and additional role and look beyond the scope of work set by Life-Cycle Thinking.Consumption patterns are a derivative of the choices people make, their actions, reasons, influences and the things that inspire and drive them. These actions, choices are all in turn influenced by the context.
Over the last few years, Shelton Group’s Pulse studies have tracked a decline in concern for several environmental issues — hypothesizing that some issues (such as climate change) have become highly politicized and that the country’s declining economy has given Americans more immediate worries to focus on. One environmental issue that has definitely bucked this trend is trash.In our Green Living Pulse™ study, throwing trash out of the car window was the only environmentally related behavior that a majority of Americans (63 percent) would be very embarrassed to get caught doing.
In my speeches on "making green sexy," which I've given in a number of locations in the US and Europe, I talk about different types of message points for three different audiences: deep green, light green/lazy green, and non-green. I discuss the idea that these three groups are motivated differently, and to make real society-wide behavioral change, we need to hit all three. Some of Shelton Group's research has actually influenced my thinking about this.
For many years of Pulse studies, when asked who they most blame for rising energy costs, respondents have said they most blame either 1) oil companies or 2) the U.S. government — with utilities much farther down the list.
Work on behavior change cannot be considered a new area; various institutions, especially governments, have long sought to influence individuals’ behavior in areas such as health, transport, family planning, etc. It is also not new for companies and brands to attempt to influence behaviors and needs through marketing.
At Futerra we banned using behaviour change tactics in the office. ‘Symbolic self completion’ was being wielded to defend sandwiches left in the fridge, and ‘discounting effect’ insidiously applied to making tea. So the following article comes with a health warning: The psychology and neuroscience of behaviour change is powerful stuff.
Brands have the potential to disrupt the status quo and promote behavior change. They certainly have a history of doing so. One of my favorite examples is the way that shampoo brands have changed the way we care for our hair over the past 100 years.
If you’re reading this then it’s safe to assume you are familiar with the global ecological and societal debt that currently accompanies the more familiar economic one. So, no need to remind you that planet Earth will probably make its way through this crisis — it just isn’t clear that we will.
It’s my great pleasure to welcome readers and contributors to this month’s Issue in Focus on Behavior Change.At Shelton Group, our purpose is to help companies define and leverage their sustainability commitments to gain a market advantage.
Firms around the world are increasingly treating sustainability reporting as a core business practice because it can provide advantages over competitors, according to a recent joint report by Ernst & Young and Boston College. Other motivations include transparency, risk management and stakeholder pressure, the report says.Value of Sustainability Reporting offers insights on the benefits of sustainability reporting, assuring sustainability reports and the risks of not reporting. The study claims there is strong evidence that transparency offers a number of financial and social advantages that make sustainability reporting more than worth its costs.
Consumption (noun); the action of using a resource. We know consumption is a primary driver of the inherent unsustainability of modern living. For those yet to be convinced that our way of life is not sustainable (adjective — able to be maintained at a certain level), reflect on the fact that last Friday, May 10th, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere peaked at 400 ppm. Also reflect on the fact that the desire for a $1 T-shirt has driven the most appalling standards in many apparel supply chains and the recent deaths of over 1000 garment workers in Bangladesh.
Calling all innovators and implementers! Beginning in June, Sustainable Brands will launch a new “Issues in Focus” editorial package examining ways brands are “activating sustainability” — driving behavior change toward sustainable consumption.
This is an edited excerpt from Pablo Barros' upcoming book, Behaviour change, consumption and sustainability: how companies can influence individuals in a world in transition, due for publication in September 2013.
In 2003 Ford Motor Co. launched Driving Skills for Life (DSFL), a program the automaker created to teach newly licensed teenagers the necessary driving skills beyond the offerings of most drivers' education courses.
In response to its recent abandonment by nearly 100 international corporate customers, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has announced an immediate end to the clearing of natural forest across its entire supply chain in Indonesia.
Disney, Levi’s and Mattel were among some of the major brands to jump ship after years of criticism over the paper company’s role in harming Indonesia’s endangered rainforests and communities.
Shifting to a sustainable economy requires a new kind of brand-consumer partnership. As consumers begin to vote with their dollars for more innovative products and services that both delight the purchaser and support the long-term health of society, they help create competitive advantage for those brands that best deliver. Getting there requires convincing less conscious consumers that they can have their cake and eat it, too (drive positive change and indulge their needs), and helping them learn how to choice-edit for the best personal, planetary and societal impact.