How to go beyond social marketing

Read the full post from Talking Climate.

Social mar­keting is the applic­a­tion of com­mer­cial mar­keting con­cepts and tech­niques to achieve ‘pro-social’ changes in atti­tudes and beha­viour – and has become a pop­ular approach for gov­ern­mental and non-governmental cam­paigns to pro­mote sus­tain­able behaviours.

The basic prin­ciples of social mar­keting are straight­for­ward. Recognising that simply providing people with inform­a­tion was insuf­fi­cient to bring about changes in their beha­viour, social mar­keters developed a frame­work for moving beyond the ‘pamphlet approach’ to beha­viour change. First, the intended audi­ence of a beha­viour change cam­paign must be under­stood. This could mean con­ducting a survey, and dividing (or seg­menting) the intended audi­ence into dif­ferent groups depending on their atti­tudes or beha­viour. In an anti-smoking cam­paign, this might involve identi­fying people who want to stop smoking, and those who don’t – as these people are likely to respond dif­fer­ently to mes­sages about smoking cessation.

Any poten­tial bar­riers to beha­viour change must be iden­ti­fied (and if pos­sible, removed), and the con­text within which the beha­viour is per­formed must be under­stood. A smoking ces­sa­tion cam­paign is unlikely to work for indi­viduals who reg­u­larly spend time in envir­on­ments where smoking is the norm – this is the con­text in which the beha­viour occurs and a bar­rier to chan­ging it. Any beha­viour change pro­gramme should be piloted with a small number of people before being extended to the rest of the target audi­ence, and fol­lowing the inter­ven­tion there should be an oppor­tunity for eval­u­ation and feed­back (Hastings, 2007).

It sounds sens­ible – and the tech­niques and strategies of social mar­keting have been suc­cess­fully applied to cam­paigns aimed at chan­ging exer­cise habits, redu­cing alcohol con­sump­tion, stop­ping smoking and elim­in­ating drug use – as well as pro­moting pro-environmental beha­viour (Peattie & Peattie, 2007). For example, a social mar­keting ini­ti­ative from the Australian gov­ern­ment named ‘Travelsmart’ achieved an impressive 14% reduc­tion in car use over an 18 month period. Social mar­keting gets res­ults. So what’s the problem?

3 things EDF Climate Corps taught me about talking energy efficiency

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Energy efficiency isn’t sexy — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be sold if positioned correctly.

Energy Conservation Behavior Specialist Hired to Reduce Campus Energy Use

Read the full story from the University of Kansas.

As part of an initiative to reduce energy use at the University of Kansas, Cassi Reimer will join KU as an energy conservation behavior specialist. The new position is housed within the KU Center for Sustainability.

While maintaining building mechanical systems is part of the solution for energy-efficient building operations, the Center for Sustainability and KU Energy Office are working together to encourage and support building users in energy-saving actions in their work spaces. Their goals are to decrease utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions while creating safe and comfortable workspaces for KU employees.

Reimer’s first tasks will include auditing the most energy-intensive buildings on campus to identify opportunities for energy savings and engage building occupants through Green Teams to serve as leaders in energy conservation.

Reimer will also work with offices and departments across campus that want to improve their energy-saving practices and target conservation opportunities.

Finding the psychology of sustainability

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

An excerpt from “A New Psychology for Sustainability Leadership: The Hidden Power of Ecological Worldviews,” by Steve Schein. Published by Greenleaf Publishing, copyright 2015 by Steven Schein. Reprinted with permission.

As midsize mammals dependent on the Earth’s ecosystems for life, human beings face the most serious and complex set of ecological problems in our history. Driven by our ecologically unsustainable way of life and the dramatic increase in our global population, these problems include an increasingly less predictable climate and a wide range of interrelated social, environmental and economic problems.

Although multinational leaders have been immersed with scientific information describing the ecological crisis, overall it has not altered the short-term economic approach to business that is responsible for the serious problems we face. It appears that more information from the natural sciences is not enough. Perhaps the social sciences can make a vital contribution by reframing ecological issues, especially for sustainability leadership?


Want your energy efficiency program to succeed? Aim it at poor people

Read the full post at Grist.

So, say you are a government, and you want to persuade people to conserve electricity — because using less energy is one of the easiest ways out there to fight climate change. You could institute something like a carbon tax, but that’s not going to happen in the U.S. Instead, you come up with a plan that’s a total crowd pleaser: Everyone who manages to reduce their electrical bill by 20 percent compared to the previous year will get an additional 20 percent off from the savings they just earned by consuming less. Everyone is enrolled automatically: rich, poor, hippies, yuppies, people who compulsively unplug appliances when they are done using them, people who leave the porch light on all night because they’re scared of an unlit porch.

This program actually happened, in California, in 2005, although it was designed to help with the state’s energy crisis, rather than to cut carbon emissions. It was called the 20/20 program, and it was popular — both with people who got discount power that summer and with scientists, because it provided a really good data set.

Most recently, Koichiro Ito, a researcher working with the Energy Policy Institute in Chicago, looked at the data and turned it into a paper that was published this July in the journal Economic Policy. The title of the paper — “Asymmetric Incentives in Subsidies: Evidence from a Large-Scale Electricity Rebate Program” — is sort of a mouthful, so I will summarize this way: If you offer people money to inconvenience themselves on behalf of the environment, Ito writes, it’s the poor people who are really going to take you seriously.

Why Your Sustainability Strategy Can Be Pivotal to Employee Engagement

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

The business case for implementing sustainable practices is clear, and regardless of what industry you’re in, the strain on natural resources is rising as a result of population growth and climate change.  Today, many companies are shifting to a sustainable business model to protect the ecosystem, realize associated cost-savings and support future business growth because a healthier, more vibrant society makes for a healthy economy. To achieve this vision, a business cannot only adopt purpose into its operations, opportunities, solutions and profit, but the notion of purpose must be embedded within its culture.