OPINION7 July 2021

Crawford Hollingworth: It’s not easy being green

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Behavioural economics Impact Opinion Sustainability

Impact columnist Crawford Hollingworth explains what the insights industry can do to help the climate emergency.

black and white raindrop footprint

In 2021, sustainable behavioural change is no longer a lifestyle choice, it is a necessity. We need to find ways to accelerate sustainable behaviour before it’s too late. Behavioural science helps us understand why a sustainable lifestyle is currently not easy to achieve, yet it also tells us how to make it easier for consumers.

Climate change scientists calculate that we need to reduce our individual carbon footprints by 75%, to less than two tonnes per person per year, to have any hope of avoiding a catastrophic rise in global temperatures of two degrees. The average Briton emitted more than eight tonnes in 2017 and the global average is around four tonnes.

Clearly, companies need to take action to reduce their footprints, but changing individual behaviours is equally critical; 40% of UK emissions are estimated to come from households, and basic necessities such as heating, food and daily travel are the main contributors.

So how can we make the ...