The Carbon Conscious Consumer: Going beyond Nudges with Nudge Plus

The global climate is changing, mostly for the bad, with every passing day. Considering this, agencies and organisations have spent huge time and effort in delivering on potential mitigation, adaption and recently geo-engineering solutions but what we have missed is to Strike when its hot. The idea of a Sensitive Intervention Point (SIP), in my personal view, reiterates this principle.
My idea of a SIP revolves around Local economic agents as actors i.e. promoting active citizen behaviour. While agents have often been overwhelmed when asked to resolve global crises like climate change though their micro-level action, recent surveys by Yale Climate Opinion (2019) shows otherwise. These surveys reveal that beliefs are strengthening in favour of individual action. However, with no magic bullet, different remedies must be prescribed based on socio-economic, cultural and geographical contexts; much like a polycentric approach advocated by Ostrom (2009).
Considering this, I propose the idea of a Nudge Plus as a relevant SIP to keep United Kingdom on its path of neutralising net-emissions by 2050. Nudge Plus builds on my recent work with Peter John on how to effectively design and administer a nudge by combining an element of reflection with it; for instance, while nudges like defaults work by co-opting ones internal heuristics, adding a plus to it like an active mechanism device (pledges) or facilitating agents to use personal carbon calculators offers persistent, long term behavioural change as ones analytical mind is boosted promoting better nudge uptake by the heuristic mind. The trigger is simple: changes in existing choice architecture just like nudges. The criticality of my SIP rests on the evidence that nudges work, and that nudge plus can only improve on its limitations, as they offer more autonomy, transparency and a persistent long-term attitudinal shift.
We are currently running experimental tests to systematically test the effectiveness of nudge plus with boosts, thinks and nudges, and so far, preliminary results validate our theory. Using behavioural change interventions, like nudge plus, that makes an agent to think and act while correcting heuristically driven biases, beholds the key to a cleaner and greener future.

 

Actor(s)

Local economic agents

 

Trigger (intervention)

 

Criticality

 

Feedback Dynamics

 

Timescale and scaleability

 

Resistance

 

Author

Sanchayan Banerjee

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