Amy Tomkins writes: We’ve been working with Unilever for more than a year now to understand how UK households respond to the challenge of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, without being able to say anything about it – so we were delighted to see that it’s now been officially launched in The Guardian as a national challenge to the UK.
The Sustain Ability challenge was designed in partnership with Blue Rubicon as a small social experiment with twelve UK households to understand how Unilever might motivate people to adopt sustainable behaviours in their homes. According to our Global MONITOR data, seven in ten people in the UK assume that living more sustainably will cost them more, and we felt confident we could challenge this assumption. We set our households three challenges over the course of six months:
- First to reduce the volume of food they wasted each month
- Second, to reduce their water usage in the bathroom and when doing laundry
- Third, to explore the idea of sustainable sourcing and see if greater understanding influenced their shopping habits
Households were set a weekly task, and given tools and tips to help them adapt their behaviours. We sought to design the tasks in a way that demonstrated that sustainable living can be engaging, aspirational and beneficial, using Unilever’s five levers of behaviour change framework as inspiration (the five levers for change are seen in the image at the top of the post). Each week our households reported back to us with videos, photos and trackable data about how they were responding to the challenge and the impact it was having on both their attitudes and behaviours.
We were impressed with both the enthusiasm and the perseverance of our households, and by the impact the challenge had on their behaviour as well as their perception of what sustainable living means in practice.
Our households managed to save £22 a week on average on their grocery bills as a result of applying our food waste tips, and were able to reduce their week on week shower time by nearly three and a half minutes. We also saw a shift in how empowered they felt, and their ability to make a difference.
From a starting point of embedded cynicism, we saw our households realise that there are small tips that everyone can integrate into daily routines at home that enable us all to make sustainable contributions. It’s under this premise that The Guardian and Unilever have now launched the Live Better Challenge.
If you want to take part in the national Live Better Challenge you can sign up for it via The Guardian.
Image credit: Courtesy of Unilever.