COP26 – Changing Consumer Behaviour
By Aimen Khan
COP26 recently happened in Glasgow, Scotland brought discussions on various topics focusing on economies of climate change, state of earth, impact of youth voice, women leading on gender and climate action and many other topics among which one was changing consumer behavior. The discussion revolved around understanding consumer behavioral patterns and using them to avert consumer buying to sustainable consumption, I would just sum up the key takeaways from the panel.
The panel started with mentioning objectives aligned with consumer behavior change, to get net zero, to protect people, and to protect the planet. The panelists were companies, policymakers and businesses.
They talked about the impact of businesses, and how businesses have to minimize the ask, making it easier for people to make green choices that are affordable, easy and clear. E.g. putting a staircase in the middle of the building instead of an elevator that’s the choice businesses have to give in providing solutions that are affordable, easy and clean. The panel emphasized on changing the structure of choice businesses give, and how businesses can unleash their business potential e.g. heat pumps are sustainable than gas boilers but are expensive so the idea is making heat pumps cheaper than gas boilers which is in the hands of people who make the heat pumps and that are businesses through their innovation and technological capabilities.
Then they slightly changed their discussion to how customers respond to the choices that are presented to them. Habits are difficult and expensive to change but it is something we can do today rather than waiting for a structural plan and that’s where businesses come in, as businesses can change everyday behavior of what and how customers can use as a product or a service because what you have to do is to instill these norms and instill expectations which then changes the dynamic for governments to think about what it is they can achieve and how much they can go for public support policies. One of my favorite parts of the panel discussion was the statement made by the panelist ,preaching is not the way, you have to inspire, you have to help, you have to educate in the right way. Businesses can only drive the change if they put it at their brand purpose and integrate through customer and commercial strategy to initiate change which can be done by offering choice that comes from ambition and clear targets