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The power of collective action; of you and I; of here and now

Climate action
Behaviour change

13.12.2021

4

 mins

By 

Team Cogo

Climate action
Behaviour change
The power of collective action; of you and I; of here and now

13.12.2021

4

 mins

By 

Team Cogo

People often feel like they’re powerless against something as big and as important as climate change; but what they really are is POWERFUL - very powerful, infact. They just need a bit of guidance to tap into this power.

This three part series break’s down Cogo’s white paper on our ‘Ethical Nudge Framework’ (ENF) into three easy to understand, quick-to-read blog posts. Learn why we’re taking a behaviourally informed approach to drive climate action; the skinny on how our ENF works; and the power of collective action. 

Fact: 69% of New Zealanders don't feel like they are making much of a difference as just one person. 

Fact: Households are the largest contributor to New Zealand’s carbon footprint (71 percent). 

The connection between these two statistics is striking. People often feel like they’re powerless against something as big and as important as climate change; but what they really are is POWERFUL - very powerful, infact.  They just need a bit of guidance to tap into this power.

Cogo has built a business off the back of the belief that millions of small changes by hundreds of millions of individuals can have a huge impact and move us much further forward, together. Leveraging the power of tech, we want to enable hundreds of millions of consumers globally to understand the effect their spending has on their carbon footprint and take actions to reduce their impact. 

You can read more about why individual action is so important here

What we’d like to show you through this particular post is that collective action WORKS.

Prove it?

An ‘APP’t solution

Our free-to-use app (available in the UK) is the go-to sustainability solution that allows everyone to understand how their spending directly impacts their carbon footprint. We show consumers how to improve, and compensate for their climate impact to drive for a better world for both our people and the planet, together.

As part of a recent close look at the behaviour of 1027 Cogo app users who joined Cogo using non-renewable energy suppliers, Cogo set out to identify how we could help as many of the Cogo community as possible to make the switch to renewable energy suppliers. 

We did two things to encourage this:


We made the change easy by recommending renewable energy suppliers to users. These profiles highlight the social and environmental impact information of the company, any third party verifications or accreditations as well as their Google rating and their website. This saves users time and allows them to access all the information they need in one place. 

We leveraged the power of commitment

We also designed climate actions that harness the power of self-commitment. Commitments are an effective tool to counteract a lack of willpower, motivating individuals to maintain a consistent and positive self-image (Cialdini, 2008). This can be especially helpful in a scenario where the behaviour change is considered a hassle and the result of the change is invisible. 

Our data shows that we were successful in motivating users to switch from the traditional ‘Big 6’ UK energy suppliers to renewable-energy suppliers such as Octopus Energy. Our consumer app was a powerful catalyst for change - with 10% of these converting to renewable energy suppliers within three months. 

The multiplier effect 

Besides our consumer app (available for download in the UK), our API and white label solutions also help businesses take their customers to the next level of their sustainability journey.

Banks including NatWest (one of the UK’s top 5) and Commonwealth Bank (Australia’s largest) use Cogo to power their consumer banking experience to enable customers to see the CO2 emissions associated with their daily spending. 

NatWest's customers are provided with hints and tips on how to go greener and resources to help them along their journey; while CommBank users are offered the option to offset their emissions. 

Prior to wider launch to its 8 million customers, insights from the initial pilot with NatWest showed the average user saved approximately 11 kg of CO2 emissions per month by committing to behavioural changes that used less carbon - such as composting, reducing meat consumption, or switching utility providers. If this behaviour was replicated across all  customers who use the mobile app, it would save more than 1 billion kg of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to planting 17 million trees.

These are just two examples of the power of harnessing technology to empower individuals to make meaningful changes. You and I can do that; and we do that here and now!

This post said it best: The future depends on you, and it depends on me - on all of us. Ordinary people have changed the world before - and we can do it again. Let's go change the world together!

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