Certified B Corporation Badge


A change of heart

21 October, 2022

A lot of things are uncertain at the moment – including, at the time of writing, the UK’s next Prime Minister. But with energy prices sky high, blackout warnings across Europe and a climate emergency on our hands, one thing is pretty sure: we’re going to need to reduce our energy consumption. And there are plenty of simple ways to do that.

Yet despite this seemingly obvious truth, the idea of a public behaviour change campaign on energy reduction has proved surprisingly controversial in recent weeks. A government-led energy saving campaign was reportedly vetoed by Liz Truss on the premise that the UK was not “a nanny state” – before being re-instated days later.

With so much hanging in the balance, we hope this is one commitment the government does not renegue on. Behaviour change campaigns can be an impactful and cost-effective way of shifting public and corporate consumption without the need for regulation or financial incentives. From organ donation to healthy eating, it is a proven approach for creating positive outcomes. As Claire Foges notes, the potential for simple changes to drive a reduction in energy consumption could save enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money that would otherwise be spent subsidising the excess. And that’s not even mentioning the urgent need we have to drive reduction from a climate change perspective. What’s the point of keeping office foyers lit up overnight and shop entrances sweltering whilst the threat of blackouts grows?  

If those who can take simple steps to reduce their energy consumption, everybody wins: the taxpayer, the individual, and the climate. And as the pandemic showed us, taking action together for a common goal can also help to bring communities closer together. 

Making behaviour change a political football is short-sighted. This is a tough time for everyone. We can’t afford to ignore tools that work in the name of ideology. 

By Sarah Howden

You might also like