The Gap Between Beliefs and Action: A Climate Action Perspective
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May 8, 2024

The Gap Between Beliefs and Action: A Climate Action Perspective

What is cognitive dissonance? Cognitive dissonance is defined as “psychological conflict arising from inconsistencies between one’s ideas, *attitudes, beliefs, and practices”. For example, when you are trying to eat healthy but it’s Friday and you don’t want to cook so you pick up a takeaway for you and the family.

What does this mean in the context of climate change? At this point it is a well-known fact that climate change is a problem and although we would like to think we would not stand in the face of a problem and add to it, we do. Why do we do it? We do in the name of ease and convenience. Even the most environmentally conscious person from time to time will make a decision that may damage the environment and in turn go against their own attitudes and beliefs. The world is built to unfortunately provide an option which is easier but also likely damaging to the environment.

In my own experience the way in which people talk about climate change can increase the negative impact that cognitive dissonance can have on climate action. Putting it simply by pointing the finger of blame and putting pressure on people you can cause them to become defensive and further disassociate from their own responsibility. This is a dark perspective on what we in Climeaction see as an opportunity. So, what is the solution?

Pointing the finger of blame and putting pressure on people you can cause them to become defensive and further disassociate from their own responsibility.

The previous narrative spoke of individual action when the actual solution is in the hands of business. Businesses have the opportunity to redesign and rethink their operations, products and services. Businesses that are tackling their climate impact reduce the potential environmental damage their customers would have made otherwise, facilitating system change rather than attempting to change individual action.  We can reconstruct the idea of business from being an entity that damages the environment whether this be from excessive resource consumption to high carbon emissions to becoming an entity that can facilitate progress in a way that is positive with clear and measurable benefits for both business and the environment.

What’s in it for business? There are plenty of examples of businesses who are already taking on this opportunity and are thriving. By tackling climate action you can facilitate resource efficiency, improved reputation among consumers and other businesses, reduced costs and improve the overall environmental performance of your business. Our clients see on average 30-50% energy cost reductions within an average of a four-year payback period. These are also the clients that have been able to develop a logical and clear pathway to net zero in line with science-based targets. This means that businesses that are tackling climate action can satisfy their own environmental values and beliefs but also improve the profitability of their businesses and future proof their businesses against climate related risks.

Businesses that are tackling climate action can satisfy their own environmental values and beliefs but also improve the profitability of their businesses and future proof their businesses against climate related risks.

Because just as climate action is an opportunity it is also a risk. You might be asking yourself at this point how is not taking climate action a risk? If you do not assess the climate change risks within your value chain your business could be susceptible to disruptions, for example, raw material shortages, energy price volatility, energy shortages as well as, damage to your reputation among stakeholders. With advancements in technology and access to information the environmental performance of companies is becoming evident to the public, with a growing awareness of the risk of greenwashing. Evidence based initiatives such as, the Science-Based Targets Initiative and the Carbon Disclosure Project will separate the companies taking action from the greenwashing companies.

We, at Climeaction are attempting to rethink the connection between cognitive dissonance and climate change, making climate action the easiest and most logical option for businesses. The key to progress is focusing on the opportunities of climate action of which there are plenty.  Businesses, a key player in the climate action space, by tackling their climate action impact disrupt the link between cognitive dissonance and climate change acknowledging that climate action can be done in a way that makes business sense resulting in cost and carbon savings.

You may be aware of the benefits outlined within this article of addressing your business’s climate impact but may finding yourself not acting on it. We at Climeaction, aim to make your climate action journey as easy as possible, guiding you through the process and providing you with a Climate Action Strategy to next zero, your next steps, who you need to talk to and what your return on investment will be for the opportunities outlined.

Feel free to contact anyone on the team for more information.


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