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If we Want Change to Happen, Incentivise it

Like many of us at the moment I was looking at options to change my energy supplier and, like many of us, I want to try and get as green as possible with my energy supplies. The trouble is that the options I want to choose are a lot more expensive than fossil fuels.

So we are left with a situation where we have to pay a lot more money to do the right thing. And the trouble with this is that those with the means to do so may take that choice but the vast majority simply can’t afford to. The same goes for food production; the options that would help the environment are often more expensive.

When incentives and other financial arrangements are working against the change were trying to make it gives us all a reason to think again and makes it much more likely that will end up doing the wrong thing rather than the right thing. Most of us don’t have lots of spare money and most of us have to focus on the here and now, feeding the family,  mortgage, bills etc.

It’s a general point we consider with our clients when trying to change something in business. Take a look at bonuses, incentive schemes, performance management etc and make sure that it’s not working against what you’re trying to achieve. Where necessary, adapt them so that people are rewarded for doing the “right” thing, i.e. the behaviours we want, and dis-incentivised for doing the “wrong” one. In general we tend to follow the path of least resistance, so making it advantageous to us to do the right thing is a great way to nudge us in the right direction.

So as far as our climate is concerned I really do hope our global leaders grasp the nettle with incentives and subsidies at COP26, especially where the energy sector is concerned. Let’s see.