Is climate-friendly behaviour too much hassle?

“Engineers have an optimism bias,” dr. Gerdien de Vries said in her keynote : It’s hard to be green. Reality check. Of course we – climate innovators – are thrilled about our green innovations and ideas. But how do we convince people to buy or use our inventions? Even if we know our customers want to be more sustainable, why don’t they make the step?

Dr Gerdien de Vries is a Climate Psychologist at TU Delft and researches human decision-making and climate-friendly behaviour. She mainly looks at the ‘Hassle Effect’ – how much hassle people are willing to endure to ‘go green’.

‘Hassle’ can be considered things like:

* filling out endless numbers of forms to get a subsidy
* finding a construction worker to make your house more sustainable
* complicated rules or incomprehensible technology

But hassle can also be something small – and work to your benefit.

“My favorite nudge is on my washing machine,” she says. “The default mode is the eco-friendly programme, so the designers created hassle [for the user] to change the setting to a less climate-friendly one.”

How can you, as a green start-up, ensure that people start using your product or service? In her keynote, de Vries identifies a number of psychological barriers and explains how you can tackle them as an entrepreneur.

Key takeaways:

* Make it easy
* Your target audience/behaviour – it’s not one size fits all
* When it comes to convincing others, authenticity is a strong influencer

Want to know more? Watch the keynote from the Regional Final Europe 2022 below.

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