Easy does it - climate change

To combat climate change organisations need to make sustainable choices accessible and convenient for everybody, writes Jeff Dewing.

This article is taken from the latest issue of Think Global People magazine.Click on the cover to access the digital edition.

As the rate of climate change accelerates it is increasingly important for organisations to take charge and deliver positive climate action.The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer (an annual gauge of trust in business organisations, government, and the media) recently found business is increasingly trusted over government.This gives organisations a key role to play in promoting environmentally conscious behaviour. To make a real difference, everyday consumers also need to adopt climate friendly practices and businesses need to make it easy for them to do so. Studies have shown that the relationship between consumer behaviour and climate change is complex, but the biggest focus should be on making climate friendly behaviour easy and convenient. Business leaders need to both improve the carbon footprint of their organisations, but also support the general population to make better choices.  Organisations can help by making it easy for consumers to access information and resources, providing clear instructions on how to reduce their impact on climate change, and offering tools and technologies to automate sustainable practices.

Consumers want convenience

Consumer behaviour is often driven by convenience, especially in relation to environmentally sustainable practices. Most of us want to make choices that help to reduce carbon emissions from our cars, houses, and lifestyles, but when it comes to the crunch, we are more likely to take the easy option, even if that is worse for the environment. A recent Ipsos poll showed that 84% of Britons are ‘concerned’ about climate change, with 52% ‘very concerned’. Despite this, there is still a disconnect: a 2021 study by global data agency Kantar Public found few consumers were willing to make significant lifestyle changes to mitigate climate change. While consumers alone shouldn’t bear the burden of climate change, their collective impact is crucial.

The attitude-behaviour gap

Greater engagement is the key to getting more of us to take responsibility for our actions. According to the United Nation’s 2022 Emissions Gap report, we are not meeting the Paris Agreement goals and do not have a viable plan to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. Despite constant exposure to news about climate change, efforts by the media to encourage change are not enough. Often, people do not consider climate change as a personal issue, while others feel overwhelmed with information and don’t know where to start. To close this attitude-behaviour gap we need to move beyond one-way communication and promote interactive conversations that encourage individuals to take responsibility. This could be as simple as asking: “Do you care about climate change? If so, what are you doing about it?”Convenience is also a powerful tool for driving change and companies can help to make climate-friendly actions easier to adopt. This might include providing easily accessible recycling bins in public spaces or offering incentives for the use public transport.Nudge theory, where the physical environment is changed to promote positive changes in behaviour, can also help. This might be placing healthier foods in a prominent position in the cafeteria or the successful Neat Streets campaign to reduce littering which started in Westminster in 2015.

How business can help

Every organisation needs to show that encouraging sustainability is both the right thing to do and profitable for the business. On a granular level, organisations can use their own website and social media to share infographics and tips to help consumers make climatefriendly changes, from sharing eco-friendly products to reducing energy consumption.Additionally, being transparent about the organisation’s own sustainability journey will help promote trust, including the areas that the business is still working to address. For example, tech company Mindsett is helping to transform how businesses manage their assets, supporting them to conserve energy and resources using IoT technology and PRISM device. Within a year of installation, it can provide a predictive maintenance solution by using data collected from a company’s assets.

Collaborate for change

It’s helpful to look beyond an organisation’s immediate activities as this is something consumers will also consider. For example, look at a product’s lifecycle, the company’s Scope 3 emissions (the indirect emissions which occur in the upstream and downstream activities of an organisation) and the  labour practices of suppliers. It’s also beneficial to collaborate, even with competitors, if it means generating a positive impact on the environment.Tools and technologies that automate sustainable practices are also becoming more widely available. Gamification tech, which adds game mechanics into nongame environments to motivate behaviour change, can help close the attitude-behaviour gap. This might include giving organisations simple suggestions on an app, such as to turn off the lights between 10pm and 4am the building is empty, and educating them on the cost savings. It’s about making it as easy as possible to behave in a way that’s more favourable to the planet.Organisations have a responsibility to address climate change by promoting environmentally sustainable practices. However, they also need to make it easy for consumers to take climate-friendly actions. By prioritising convenience, businesses can tap into consumer demand, drive behaviour change, reduce costs, and build brand loyalty, all while making a positive impact on the environment. Climate change is a planetaryscale threat and requires mass behavioural change which can only be achieved through collaboration. We need to be open, share best practices, and go beyond improving sustainability in our own businesses by working with customers and suppliers.Jeff Dewing is a tech entrepreneur and founder of Cloudfm and Mindsett which help organisations achieve net zero through innovative technology.Jeff Dewing Spring 2023Jeff Dewing is a multi-million-pound tech entrepreneur, the founder of Cloudfm & Mindsett, dedicated to helping businesses achieve net zero through
innovative technology. His work has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Innovation and Gartner has named them a global leader in IoT-enabled predictive maintenance.  He is a speaker at 2023 World Energy Summit, sharing insights on using game-changing tech for sustainability.  He’s developed industry-leading AI and gamification strategies to reduce energy consumption, costs and CO2, tackling Scope 1 to 3 emissions. He is also
collaborating with The Reef Company (backed by IBM and Microsoft), to restore coral reef ecosystems and fight climate change from both the land and sea.

Join our Think Global People community

TGP Member logo.2


Be part of something special

Introducing our exclusive membership for thought leaders across the arenas of International Management, Global Mobility and Education. Our purpose is to support ambitious individuals and organisations to grow and ensure companies and people achieve their potential.

Related Articles