Is manipulation the only way to change behaviours?

SmartEnergyEfficiency_CuteSheepAround three fourths of Europe’s CO2 emissions are associated with households consumption. Meeting EU’s ambitious climate change targets of reductions in carbon emissions by 2050 will therefore require patterns of household consumption to change radically from the current baseline. Influencing behaviour is a key part of this.

However, ultimately behavioural change messages will not address “rebound” effect or encourage broader sustainability thinking. Indeed, often, people spend money saved on high carbon products or services, offsetting dramatically saved greenhouse gas emissions and sometimes having a huge counter-productive effect on efforts already made.

So, what’s the solution? Manipulate people?

This is a deep question. However, are there any topics, like climate change, energy issues or environmental fights, which deserve that we would manipulate a given population for the greater good of all? Some philosophers or thinkers, like Niccolo Machiavelli, would argue that ends justify the means.

What are your personal views on that? As an Energy Efficiency product firm, what’s your responsibility on this? How far can you use awareness raising, communication, and manipulation to achieve your goals? Share your thoughts here-below through comments.


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Sources: Scottish Climate Change Behaviours Research Programme


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6 thoughts on “Is manipulation the only way to change behaviours?

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