Behavioral science – the study of why people act as they do – can help companies facing inevitable changes to their businesses because of climate change, panelists said at the ninth annual retreat of the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership (E-ffiliates).
“Corporations and others are being asked for change by investors, banks, government employees, and suppliers,” said Elke Weber, Princeton University’s Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment. “Behavioral science is an important tool for increasing the positive consequences of change.”
Weber and a host of other panelists, including Chris Greig, acting associate director for external partnerships at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, shared strategies about how the private sector’s behavior, decision-making, and communications might benefit from the insights of behavioral science to help mitigate climate change.
Weber outlined behavioral science tools for organizations to enact longer-term thinking about climate change mitigation. For example, she said that corporations can frame their thinking about the changes required to mitigate climate change as an opportunity rather than a liability.
“Change is inevitable,” Weber said. “The best we can do is to increase its capacity to change for the better. And that’s what science is all about.”
The E-ffiliates retreat is an annual gathering of company and non-profit leaders, academic researchers, government representatives, and others. This year’s event, held on June 1, was the first to focus on the social sciences.