How behaviour change will unlock Net Zero


The UK’s Net Zero target is at risk without substantial change in corporate and public behaviour

All new climate change initiatives need “behaviour change enabling plans” to ensure success, with deployment of products and services needing to consider “ease of installation, operability and affordability”, according to a new report by the Energy Research Partnership.

The report How behaviour change will unlock Net Zero says the current social environment is not conducive to the behaviour change needed for Net-Zero

Key findings include:

  1. BARRIER: The report found that a key barrier to cutting carbon emissions are the significant changes in behaviour required, with both the public and by businesses needing solutions to enable capability, motivation and opportunity to reduce carbon emissions.
  2. ENABLERS: When considering substantial changes which will affect people’s daily lives – policy makers, service providers and manufacturers must consider public acceptance and realistic timeframes for people to change behaviour and accept the ‘new normal.’
  3. INTERVENTION: UK businesses must service these changes in market demand due to behaviour change within the UK population. This will ensure there is not a relapse to carbon-emitting lifestyles due to lack of availability.
  4. POLICY: Policy-driven behaviour change must be preceded with “behaviour change enabling plans” for business and the general public to move towards a low-carbon lifestyle.


  • Social contagion – is evidenced in a range of energy-related behaviours – including SUV sales, excessive calorie intake, solar-PV adoption, and electricity conservation.
  • More supportive social environments with ‘visible positive behaviours’ can trigger people to make low-carbon choices and counteract these ‘behavioural externalities’ that influence others to act in ways that prevent carbon reduction.
  • Data and digital tools – have great potential to reduce barriers and accelerate system change. Including the adoption of smart tariffs and other smart technologies through smarter digital comparison tools; leveraging data on savings and satisfaction from early adopters of low-carbon heating solutions; and supporting shifts to more sustainable and healthy diets through better collection of food-carbon data and personalised feedback on shopping habits.

Download full report here

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