By Kim Taylor
This January I will be moving into a 7.5 star energy-rated home
My newly built house is part of the first regional estate to be recognised as a ‘One-Planet Community’– a framework for development that helps support a more sustainable way of life. I didn’t go out looking for a 7.5 star energy rated home in a ‘green’ development – it was simply what I was lucky to (finally) get in an extraordinarily tough market.
Of course I am delighted – I’m a (late) first home buyer about to move into my new home, I would be delighted with almost anything at this point. But an energy efficient home? This is an exciting bonus. In part because, after many years of renting poorly insulated, single pane glass flats, I am looking forward to more reasonable bills, and in part because it helps to alleviate my ‘green guilt’.
Climate change and environment is a growing concern
Like many Australians climate change and the environment is a top concern for me. Quantum’s AustraliaNOW data shows desire to see government action on environment and climate change has been in steady growth over the last two years. It is now the number one issue that Australians would like to see the government take action on.
We need help to make change
But I wrestle with how to make positive change on a personal level, sometime to the point of eco-anxiety.
Where brands and organisations can help me is critical – help inform me, help move me in the right direction. When it comes to my house, for example, I wouldn’t have known what choices were needed to achieve a 7.5 star rating, and I don’t have the time or knowledge to research all the aspects required to get me there.
I needed to be channeled onto this path, and I’m not alone.
A recent survey in the UK and USA found that 88 per cent of consumers would like brands to help them be more environmentally friendly in daily life. And Quantum’s 2021 Purpose study showed Australians also expect companies to take a lead, with 85 per cent agreeing that they expect brands and companies to positively impact society, not just make money.
And when this focus on positive impact is done well, like my recent build experience, positive change can ripple out.
The ripple effect
Having a ‘green’ home has set me on a path to more change. Part of my move-in will be signing up to subscription services that help me reduce my plastic (e.g Zero, Who Gives a Crap), and I have been testing out e-bikes to help me substitute trips that might otherwise require a car in my new hilly suburb.
The decision taken by my sub-division developer to prioritise and promote sustainable living has empowered me to make changes. Other, smaller changes in my life now feel meaningful.
The importance of decisions made at an organisation or government level to channel consumers in positive directions cannot be underestimated
Consumers may desire sustainability but are not equipped to push for green options on every purchase. It is a difficult and time-consuming process to try even to understand what the right questions to ask are to get to the right choice. Help is needed.
And when brands do it well, the benefits of giving consumers a more sustainable product can be wider reaching than a single purchase. As my own journey testifies, it can engender a sense of empowerment, motivating further change. And this sense of empowerment is key to real change.