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The Guardian's sustainable business hub just published the first of a series of posts that I hope to be contributing on behavioural insight for sustainable living:

"What do free bananas, pension auto-enrolments, and the deepest bin in the world have in common? They are all examples of behavioural insight. Free bananas have been used by charities to elicit donations, working with our notorious weakness for anything free, while subtly priming our sense of reciprocity. The introduction of pension auto-enrolment simply shifted a default setting from 'off' to 'on', harnessing the awesome power of inertia and ensuring provision for thousands. And the deepest bin in the world turns out to be a normal bin with in-built sound effects, making throwing rubbish away fun and helping to keep parks tidy.

Such examples are now legion, and the behavioural ideas that underpin them are rightly perceived to be cool. The fact that behavioural insight is a modern form of intellectual entertainment is no bad thing, but it should give us pause, because cool is not the same as profitable or ethical or sustainable, and it doesn't address the core tension between commercial ambitions and ecological constraints."

For the rest of the article, please go here.


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