Welcome to the February 2010 Wake-Up Call, Awake’s monthly newsletter for research and news about behaviour change for sustainability.


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In this edition of Wake-up Call…


·         Feature Article – How Green?

·         Upcoming Presentation - Awake at the Sustainable Living Festival

·         Upcoming Workshop - Behaviour Change Techniques to Encourage Green Purchasing

·         Future Workshops – Cultivating Sustainability in Australia and New Zealand

·         Interesting Article of the Month – Premium Customers Hold Key To Success In Electric Cars

·         Exercise of the Month – Giving Ourselves Free License


Feature Article – How Green?


Marketers love it when they can slice their audience into “segments”.  This means that they can identify different groups according to their purchasing patterns, and target them with specific offers which are likely to appeal to their particular characteristics, values and tastes. 


Not surprisingly, given the growth in general environmental concern, attention has been turned to identifying segments within the population when it comes to green issues.  While much of this focus has been driven by a desire to capture a bigger slice of the “green dollar”, there are some useful insights to be gained for those wishing to influence not only purchasing preference, but also other types of environmentally significant behaviour. 


In an attempt to define these green segments, a number of models have been proposed over the years.  In the early 1990’s Mintel, a leading market research group, divided people into Dark Green, Light Green, Pale Green, Armchair Green, and Unconcerned.  The highly active Deep Greens tended to be females, with children, while the Armchair Greens were those who espoused concern but had not changed their behaviour much accordingly.  1 in 10 people were Unconcerned, with 2% actively “anti-green”.  This work was replicated in a 1996 study in Northern Ireland, who found a similar set of segments, which they called Super-Green, Emerging Green, Experimental Green, Potential Green and Anti-Green. 


More recently, the term LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) has gained popularity. LOHAS is described as “a market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice” (from www.lohas.com). Since the LOHAS market was identified and named in 2000, various studies have estimated the market to be worth over $200b in the United States and as much as $19b in Australia.  So it is no surprise that identifying and capturing these people has become a big deal for business.


Although these and other studies have given various names to the segments which they have identified, there seems to be a consistent pattern in the size and makeup of the groups.  Roughly 15-20% fit into the highly committed/deep green/supergreen segment.  Then comes a cluster of around 50-70% of the population who are moderates – they are concerned about the environment, and will undertake some green behaviours, but do not always make it a priority.  Finally, a hard core of 10-20% of people are either unconcerned with environmental issues, or actively hostile towards them.  


One of the key reasons for focusing on these segments is to identify what it is that defines them.  One of the main factors appears to be the degree to which they are prepared to make sacrifices to be environmentally responsible.  While highly “Committed”s are prepared to pay a higher price and suffer a certain amount of inconvenience to choose the green option, more moderate segments will only choose the green option if all other things are equal.  Convenience and price are major considerations for this group. 


The segments also appear to differ in their view of where responsibility for environmental matters should lie.  Australian research, for instance, found that only the highly committed group believed on average that individuals should do more to protect the environment.   Indeed personal responsibility appears to go hand in hand with the degree of power which people feel they have to make a difference.  Stewart Barr, a leading UK researcher, found in a series of focus groups that many less committed people cite distrust in government and business as a reason for not making an effort themselves.  The attitude that emerges is that “if the big institutions are not going to make serious changes, what difference can I make”.


The identification of such segments can assist us in tailoring our approach to behaviour change programs.  As Barr points out, different barriers for action exist for different segments.  If we know what drives people, it makes it easier to influence them.  Here are a few tips for influencing the different green segments.


Committed’s are prepared to place environmental considerations as a high priority, therefore the green credentials of a behaviour or product need to be emphasised to this group.  They are likely to be well-informed and shrewd in their evaluation of such things, and therefore a pretty holeproof case needs to be made.  


Moderates are more sensitive to price and convenience, therefore any perceived barriers to these considerations need to be removed where possible, and the net benefits emphasised.  They also want to be seen to be doing the right thing, as they are not radicals, so any effort to draw their attention to the social desirability of the target behaviour is likely to assist.


Finally, those who are Unconcerned or actively anti-green, as outlined above, often express a view that it is not their responsibility, and therefore any attempt to influence these people needs to start at an attitudinal level.  Beginning at the right level and aiming for incremental shifts is an underlying principle promoted by many of the researchers cited above.




You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:


Awake provides psychology-based services to support the development of sustainable behaviour in individuals, groups and organisations.  Visit www.awake.com.au for more info


Upcoming Presentation – Awake at the Sustainable Living Festival, Melbourne, February 21, 2010


The always-excellent Sustainable Living Festival is on again this weekend, at Federation Square in Melbourne.  This annual event is a great showcase of all things sustainable, including talks, workshops, performances and exhibits.


I’ll be presenting Psychology and Sustainability on Sunday Feb 21 at 12pm, in the “Feel Tent”.   We’ll explore why some people behave in an eco-friendly way and others don’t, and also look at some ways to get people on board with sustainability.


This is the third year in a row I’ve had the pleasure of presenting at the SLF and it’s always a highlight of the year. So if you are in the Melbourne area, I look forward to seeing you there!


Upcoming Workshop - Behaviour Change Techniques to Encourage Green Purchasing


Awake will be partnering with ECO-Buy to present a half-day workshop on behaviour change techniques to encourage green purchasing.

By attending this workshop you will gain valuable insights and skills for

   Understanding the psychological drivers of green behaviour

   Recognising what people need in order to engage in behaviour change

   Identifying the biggest barriers to making green factors a priority

   Changing old habits and creating new ones

   How to influence people and gain their buy-in

   How to appeal to values and use them to engage people in change

This workshop will benefit anybody who is involved with promoting green purchasing through their organisation, and trying to embed a culture of sustainable purchasing. 


Date:  Wednesday, March 10th, 2010.  8.30am - 12.30pm
Location:  60L Green Building, 60 Leicester St, Carlton, Melbourne. 
Registrations: Please go to the ECO-Buy website to register for the workshop or call ECO-Buy on 9349 0400 for further details. 


Future Workshops – Cultivating Sustainability in Australia and New Zealand


The training calendar for 2010 is currently being developed.  The following are tentative dates for Cultivating Sustainability workshops in Australia.


Canberra, April 14

Newcastle, April 19

Sydney, April 21

Perth, June 2

Brisbane, June 21

Byron Bay, June 23

Hobart, July 13


A series of workshops in New Zealand are also being planned for early May (dates locations to be confirmed). 


To register interest for workshops in New Zealand or Australia, please email timc@awake.com.au


More information, including online registration details, will be up soon at www.awake.com.au/cultivating.html



Cultivating Sustainability is a 1-day workshop which provides sustainability advocates with insights, models and practical tools to support their behaviour change efforts.  Anybody who has taken on the challenge of influencing others to live and work more sustainably will find this workshop a valuable addition to their skills.

Cost:     For-profits $250pp

            Not-for-profit/Government $200pp

            Individuals/Community Groups $120pp


Feedback from attendees of the most recent Cultivating Sustainability workshops included…


“Great framework for encouraging behavioural change within organisations”

“Provided me with tools and insights to challenge me to review how I am approaching my sustainability project”

”This workshop has given me good insight into the motivating factors in people’s behaviour and ways to get lasting change”

“I found the workshop useful to help me learn practical and positive/inspirational ways to change peoples attitudes and behaviours towards sustainability”


For more information about the Cultivating Sustainability workshop, see www.awake.com.au/cultivating.html


Interesting Article of the Month –  Premium Customers Hold Key To Success In Electric Cars



Premium Customers Hold Key To Success In Electric Cars

By John Smith

The Times Online, 5 Jan, 2010


What is it about? 

Business consultants Bain Company have extensively studied the global market for electric cars, and in this study they compare the readiness of 4 consumer segments – “Green Innovators”, “Cost-shoppers”, “Laggards” and “Eco-prestige Premium 2.0” – to purchase electric cars.


What did they find?

The study reveals that the most interest in electric cars exists among the “Premium 2.0” segment.  These people are willing to pay the extra price, with a primary motive of being seen as prestigious, trendy and ahead of the game. 


What can we take from this?

This research is a good illustration of the importance of recognising the varying motives of different segments of the population, as outlined in the feature article above.   While car designers may initially be tempted to create vehicles which appeal to highly committed greens, with a focus on practicality and simplicity, research such as this may cause a change in thinking.  If their primary market is going to come from those who value prestige and trendiness, then features which emphasise these values will need to be developed.   Love them or loathe them, that segment of the population which seeks to gain recognition and status through the car they drive may just be the catalyst to speed up the development of more eco-friendly cars.  


Exercise of the Month – Giving Ourselves Free License


Various studies have observed an effect whereby, having made the decision to undertake one green behaviour, we then give ourselves license to indulge in other behaviours which are not eco-friendly.   For example, once we have changed to a low-flow showerhead we might feel justified in taking longer showers.   Or, having purchased a hybrid car, we may find ourselves driving more places. 

Recent research at the University of Toronto may shed some light on this phenomenon, whereby people who had made a green purchase subsequently behaved less ethically in a laboratory game. 

This month’s exercise is an opportunity to see if this effect can be applied to our own behaviour. 


The simple question to ask yourself is…

“Are there unsustainable behaviours which I justify to myself because I am doing the right thing in other areas?”. 



The exercise of the month provides a tool to help you get engaged, inspired, aware and in action around sustainability.  Feel free to use it on your own, with a friend, or in your work.  If you do use it with others, please tell them where you got it!



About Awake

Awake provides psychology-based services to support the development of sustainable behaviour in individuals, groups and organisations.  Visit www.awake.com.au for more info



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