Marks and Spencer (M&S) recently piloted training toolkits for its supplier factories in the UK and Sri Lanka, as part of its Plan A commitment to being a Fair Partner. These toolkits were a result of a collaborative design process between M&S and its factories, led by A Very Good Company (AVGC). The process of co-creation has helped to engage suppliers with M&S’s sustainability agenda, leading to the creation of a product that connects with the needs of M&S, its factory managers and their employees. This collaborative approach to creating behaviour change within a factory environment has transferable learning for brands as they seek to engage consumers with new, more sustainable propositions.
I was asked recently about my favourite behaviour change stories in the energy space. I didn’t have to think long: my favourite is the one about the £200-a-year towel rail. Yep, you heard that right: a towel rail.
Bob Dylan understood the sustainability challenge long ago when he sang, “People seldom do what they believe in / They do what is convenient, then repent” in “Brownsville Girl.”For sustainability to become mainstream, we need to reframe the debate — in terms of both language and relevant benefits. I believe mass-market and well-loved brands are best placed to drive and accomplish this critical shift.So do we just need to leverage brands to make people care about the environment?
Consumer behaviour change is the challenge of our time. An effective response will require increased capacity and capability across the sector: more skills, different skills and more people with those skills. If we are to achieve this, we need cross-sector collaboration with strong, independent leadership.
In the past two months, the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, the second-floor failure of the shoe factory in Cambodia, and most recently, the fire in the Chinese poultry plant have resulted in the deaths of some 1,500 workers in the developing world.In China alone, more than 100,000 people die annually in factories. These numbers are raising difficult questions among European and American consumers who have become accustomed to goods being manufactured abroad.
When it comes to motivating behavior change, there’s nothing more powerful than the recommendations of your peers. This applies to everything from musical tastes of teenagers to brand selections among consumers to farmers in India.This power of peer influence is brought home by a study, funded by Microsoft, to determine the most effective ways for transmitting life-saving information about innovative agricultural techniques to farmers in developing communities.
One of the most frequently discussed topics in the sustainability industry is sustainable consumption. How can we shift people away from frequently buying new “things” and toward re-use and alternatives to ownership such as borrowing or swapping?
Ninety percent of international trade travels by ship. And that comes with the type of carbon impact you would expect: The shipping industry’s carbon emissions currently account for 3-4% of global emissions and are expected to triple by 2050 if current practices continue unchanged.Shipping is a vital, global industry. Part or all of the clothes you’re wearing, the phone you use and the materials in the buildings you live and work in were most likely transported by ship for at least part of their journey to you. But with a carbon impact like its current one, the sustainability of the whole shipping industry could be in jeopardy. And that affects us all.
Our Issue in Focus on Driving Behaviour Change kicked off in style this month with articles exploring why, how and what brands can do to create behaviour change for a better world. Here is the first of two round-ups of the content from Forum for the Future. We’ll draw out the tips and questions your brand can take away and act on to help you unleash some magic to create meaningful change.
“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.