Certified B Corporation Badge


Good nudges

15 October, 2021

Anyone who has worked with us will know that we love both sustainability and behaviour change, so it will come as no surprise that the intersection of these two areas excites us. 

This week, our attention was drawn to a study that used motion sensitive cameras to monitor household water use. The results of this were insightful, identifying the complexity around how we use water. For example, this is a product of physical factors relating to the kitchen and sinks, as well as perceptions of taste and quality, while there is very limited understanding of water scarcity in the UK. But alongside monitoring water consumption, the research also involved in-depth interviews with the participants about their assumed water consumption, and the difference is revealing. We’re all guilty of our intentions influencing our perceptions. And this can be particularly acute in sustainability-related decision making, where our intentions to do good are noble but not always fulfilled in the way we’d like them to be or think that they are. 

There are a number of methods we can use to address this intention-action gap. One of our favourites is leveraging social influence to promote positive decision making, the idea at the heart of our SKY Girls campaign to prevent the uptake of smoking among teenage girls. We’re massively influenced by those around us and after the last eighteen months, it’s nice to think that you can ‘catch’ good things – as well as bad – from those around you, such as having solar panels, another behaviour that is socially contagious. 

So we may not be as good as we’d like to be. But understanding these barriers and the methods to overcome them is a powerful way to help ourselves and help others make positive actions. 

By Patrick Bapty

You might also like