A report published by the House of Lords’ environment and climate change committee in October 2022 said that the government’s approach to guiding people on how best to tackle the climate crisis was muddled and inadequate. It urged that a third of the UK’s emissions reductions must come from people changing their behaviour.
The report warned that the UK’s requirement to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 was gravely at risk. It suggested that a third of the reductions required to meet the interim target of reducing emissions by 78% in 13 years must come from people changing how they travel, what they eat and how they heat their homes.
The chair of the committee, Lady Parminter, said:
“People power is critical to reach our environmental goals, but unless we are encouraged and enabled to change behaviours in how we travel, what we eat and buy and how we heat our homes, we won’t meet those targets. Polling shows the public is ready for leadership from the government. People want to know how to play their part in tackling climate change and environmental damage.”
The report accused the government of relying on yet to be proven technological fixes and under-developed technology to achieve the transition to net zero, rather than leading the public with advice on how to change their behaviours. It stated:
“The government was in a unique position to guide the public in changing their behaviours, but its approach was inadequate in the face of the urgent scale of the environmental challenge.”
The committee called on the government to launch a public engagement campaign to build support to help people adopt new technologies and reduce carbon-intensive consumption in key areas where behaviour change is required. It also recommended that the government use “every lever they have”, including regulations and fiscal incentives and disincentives, to address the barriers which prevent changing behaviours.
Several actions were identified which would deliver the largest emissions reductions and which require “some” consumer engagement. These included banning biodegradable waste from going to landfill, reducing food waste and increasing recycling. The report claimed that together these could cut emissions by 5.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
How to nudge consumers in the right direction
Over a decade of behavioural economics research has revealed that ‘nudges’ are highly effective in influencing consumer behaviours. The nudge behavioural science theory first came to the world’s attention in 2008, when Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s book, ‘Nudge’, proposed a new theory that people are often unable to make good decisions when they lack experience, context, knowledge or are overcome with inertia.
The theory suggests that more often than not, we allow our autonomous nervous system to make decisions on our behalf, bypassing the conscious thinking process. The nudge theory involves guiding people in the right direction – towards the more beneficial option, which for the purposes of climate change and energy transition goals, is towards changing behaviours in order to save energy.
Today ‘nudging’ is a proven behavioural science based theory, and it forms the basis of all of our successful customer engagement strategies and solutions for water and energy suppliers across the globe. You can read more about the theory in our blog ‘How a nudge can help your customers save energy and water’.
We can help people make the required behaviour changes to reduce their energy and water consumption in order to help meet our national emissions targets. We are already working with energy and water companies across the world to achieve this. Read more about some of our customer engagement programmes designed to save energy and water.
What our clients also love, other than the fact we’re helping to reduce consumption and meet net zero targets, is the fact that our solution is ready to roll. It would take years for water and utility companies to replicate the kind of behavioural science based software, services and solutions that we deliver. With a plug and play customer engagement solution from Advizzo, we can save energy suppliers years of planning, testing and development, and months of recruitment and training. Instead, our software and solutions provide energy and water companies with the opportunity to deploy proven and tested solutions that improve customer satisfaction, whilst reducing risks and cost to serve.
It’s clearly time to take action and start nudging consumers in the right direction. Are you working with your customers to help them reduce their consumption? Do you want to activate a proven customer engagement campaign that can help achieve our net zero targets? Then get in touch today and talk to us about our nudge based behavioural science campaigns. We’d love to help!