This article considers an alternative approach by encouraging residents to move from pledged activity to real climate change action. This approach also allows residents to track their carbon savings through a blend of trust-based improvements and real measures.
Resident action is key. However, to make a real impact requires far more interaction with residents than asking them to take a pledge in isolation. More importantly, how do you know that they are going to adopt the changes being asked of them?
Encouraging residents to take action needs to be more than just taking a ‘pledge’
Many people still struggle to understand what climate change means to them. This is largely down to confusing and conflicting messages from a range of sources. It may also be a new climate topic where they cannot see how it affects them or applies to their everyday life.
The first step therefore, is to provide a better understanding of what carbon footprints are in a relatable way. By using resident insights, you can communicate practical steps in their everyday life, to help them reduce their carbon footprint.
Residents respond well to climate change information delivered to them frequently, in an easy to digest format, relevant to them and their lifestyle. A variety of light touch content such as blogs, videos and quizzes work well. The key is to inform residents with an understanding of ‘why’ the action is being suggested or asked of them.
Blending measured progress with trust-based action delivers more robust outcomes
By identifying resident interventions where improvements can be measured against baseline (e.g. Energy, Waste & Recycling, Water), you can trust that improvements being made. Therefore, not solely having to put all faith in trust based pledges.
For example, the volume of water or electricity residents use at home, based on actual meter readings, compared to historical baselines. This allows you to measure and monitor residents’ engagement with campaign content and the direct impact of their savings achieved.
Associating trust-based activities alongside measured improvements, instils confidence that those climate interventions which cannot currently be measured, are likely to be adopted. Blending tracked and untracked resident action, provides rigour to claimed carbon improvements.
Demonstrate real improvements rather than best intentions
This approach also provides insight and multiple opportunities. It’s a powerful way to maintain engagement with residents, as who respond well to seeing their efforts make a positive environmental impact. Where applicable, it reinforces their personal benefits such as cost savings driven through efficiencies. It also allows you to continually re-evaluate and adapt your climate strategy and messaging where necessary.
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