Businesses partner to make sustainable behaviour changes easier for UK households

Image: Hubbub

The ‘Home Advantage’ initiative is being supported by housebuilder Barratt Developments, food-to-go retailer Starbucks, high-street banking giant TSB, consumer goods major Unilever UK and home improvement retailer B&Q.

Hubbub will provide these firms with clear guidance on how they can support their customers to adopt lower-carbon habits at home. Recommendations will be based on the actions that are the most impactful yet affordable. Many of the changes suggested should, in fact, serve to save money – such as reducing food waste, improving energy efficiency and swapping car journeys for walking or cycling.

Businesses participating in Home Advantage will launch a series of trials to ascertain how effective they are at encouraging sustainable behaviour change among their customers. Insights will also be gleaned on the remaining challenges households face, and the potential role of businesses and NGOs in breaking down these barriers.

Hubbub co-founder and director Gavin Ellis said: “Our experience is that most people want to play their part to protect the planet, but they aren’t always sure what they can do, where to start or whether it will make a difference.

“By fully understanding the everyday barriers faced by households, Home Advantage will provide realistic steps and solutions that people can easily incorporate into their daily lives that will collectively make a real difference, as well as highlighting where systemic support is required.”

Additional businesses are still able to join Home Advantage at this stage.

Green policy pressure

On the systemic support piece, the initiative could well highlight issues which businesses will want to engage the next UK Government on after the general election next month.

The incumbent Government was told by its climate advisors last year that it only has credible plans to deliver a quarter of the emissions reductions it is legally committed to by the mid-2030s. Earlier this year, the Government’s overarching strategy for the net-zero transition was ruled to be unlawful by the High Court for a second time.

Ministers have, to date, shied away from making interventions that involve behaviour change from the general public, instead prioritising a shift in the electricity generation mix. This approach will need to change.

A House of Lords report last year, informed by the Climate Change Committee, stated that one-third of the emissions reductions needed between now and 2035 will need to be driven by the choices made by individuals and homes. These include improving energy efficiency; shifting from fossil fuel heating to heat pumps; adopting low-carbon transport and reducing waste.

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