So Paris is done, what's next?
The question on everyone's lips in the aftermath of the Paris agreement is this: how are we going to fulfill the ambitious targets? That's the big ask, the most important task.
It’s a hugely complex issue, requiring a whole mix of work - policies will have to be changed; economies will be transformed; businesses will have to rethink their processes and priorities; and we’ll require huge investment in new technologies.
There’s one common thread between all these workstreams: people. In each case, macro or micro, it’ll take just a few dedicated people to make all the difference. If people believe in the opportunity and it’s importance, they’ll push for change that we in the sustainability world long to see; if they don’t, they could become a critical blocker to progress.
One of the main reasons people tend not to support sustainability is that they don’t understand it. They haven’t experienced it, what it means to them, their lives, their work. It feels intangible and irrelevant to them, so they ignore it.
Shifting this attitude is key. Research by Freedman & Fraser in the 1960’s showed that, contrary to popular belief, attitudes are often shaped by our actions, not vice versa. Our experience at Do Nation backs this up - after making a simple, personal pledge on Do Nation - anything from cycling to work to walking up the stairs - 70% of our users say that they increase their awareness of and interest in sustainability. In many cases, that interest and awareness helps to unlock changes far more transformational than the simple pledge themselves.
That’s one of the reasons that I believe so much in the power of behaviour change, as i explained in my TEDx last month.
So whilst you’re wondering what The Paris Agreement means for you and your business, perhaps it’s a good time to get your employees on board, thinking about what sustainability means for them? Engaging them in simple actions is a great first step.Hermione Taylor