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Behaviour change versus climate change

In our latest post, we explore how crucial behavioural change will be as the climate crisis worsens and the pivotal role technology will play in improving the situation.


Ignite – Sustainability

Let’s talk about behaviour and how it drastically affects the world around us. Whether it’s consumers, businesses, governments, or NGOs, our behaviour and decisions make a huge impact on our planet. Of course, we know that particularly in recent years that the collective impact to the global climate and wider environment has been negative. Which is putting it nicely. The impact humanity has had on the global temperature and biodiversity in the last 100 years has been catastrophic.

When it comes to temperature impact, no diagram or visual does a better job of illustrating the situation and historical increases than the now-famous ‘Climate Stripes’ from Professor Ed Hawkins.

These stripes paint a stark picture. They clearly show the scale of the challenge that faces us all. And for an even longer look back (which really puts things into perspective), check out this larger timeline that charts temperature variation over the last 2020 years.

As we can see, clear evidence of impact. But that’s just temperature, what about biodiversity? Unfortunately, the situation is equally serious. The graph below from the Gothenberg Global Biodiversity Centre gives us a picture of how steeply mammalian species are declining in the wild.

Sombre reading, but important context for the situation we find ourselves in. So what now? How can we rally together, adapt and improve? As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about behaviour change. The time is RIGHT NOW for us to collectively do exactly that.

While it may feel like it’s all doom and gloom, this isn’t a lost cause and there is so much that can still be done to remedy the climate crisis.

Businesses must commit to greener, more responsible ways of operating, and governments need to pass laws that protect our planet’s delicate climate. Consumers also need to play their part; we know how influential consumers are – they can drive massive changes. Businesses naturally have to respond to consumer demand and governments (providing they are democratic) in turn must flex to voter demands. 

The key now is to identify the most effective ways of nudging these behaviours in the right direction. One of the biggest and most undeniable ways of doing that with businesses and consumers is through technology. Or maybe we’re just biased?! But we really are so passionate and have full faith that technology will be the driving force behind the change we all so desperately want to see.

Let’s start with consumers. Consumer buying decisions can be influenced in a number of ways and often depend on a ton of factors involving value, convenience, taste, marketing, ethical considerations, location and even brand loyalty. It’s a long ol’ list to consider. So how do we bear all of these in mind, harness the most important ones and start driving (or perhaps ‘nudging’) consumers towards greener habits every time they shop? The key here is customisation and personalisation. The modern-day consumer expects personalisation whenever they shop. 

So let’s give it to them!

Together with our clients, partner organisations, design experts and scientists, we’re driving our IGNITE program towards providing an answer to personalisation for consumers through mobile app technology. Starting in the UK, we recognise the incredible potential of mobile technology to serve as a vehicle for this movement. By 2024, smartphone penetration in the UK is projected to be almost 90%. The British consumer of today and the future has a smartphone, and this is exactly how we will reach them.

Through app technology, we have the opportunity to show consumers a personalised view of the greenest options available to them, encourage them to make the right call when they shop and provide incentives. And to give us a solid understanding of the issues that consumers care about, we have commissioned a nationally-representative survey to reveal the key issues and motivating factors. In our next blog post, we will reveal the findings and explain how we will use them to inform our consumer-focused efforts for IGNITE.

We are endlessly passionate about creating technology to change the world. And are so optimistic that arming the consumer with information and encouragement to make greener choices right at their fingertips, will ignite the revolution we need to happen.

As for businesses, of course, this is a whole different ball game. While consumer demand will be instrumental in steering their behaviour change on green issues, more needs to be done to accelerate the process. But don’t worry, we came up with a plan of attack for this issue.

Hackathons and collaborative events will be a crucial part of the IGNITE program in 2021 and beyond. Collaboration is absolutely essential to inspire change and encourage new approaches to green business. The amount we can learn from each other is immeasurable. Uniting against the common enemy (climate crisis) by sharing expertise, the best practices and experience is vital.

We are only scratching the surface here. We fully recognise that for the tide to be turned, we need the big three (governments, businesses and consumers) across the world all working together with a shared cause. But that doesn’t mean we, especially those in the tech sector, can’t make a positive difference.

We are ready to play our part.

IGNITE has been created with a purpose. ‘Tech for good’ is undoubtedly essential for a greener future and we’re dedicated to making sure it’s used in the right way. As we launch more initiatives and research findings from the IGNITE program, we invite you to follow our journey and join us. If your company would like to get involved and collaborate with us, get in touch. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Published on January 27, 2021, last updated on March 31, 2021

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