Identifying climate change as a global problem that needs urgent attention, this paper provides a number of learning points about sustainability, particularly in terms of selling the concept of a low carbon living. It is hoped that the findings from this work will help the UK to meet the challenges of low carbon living. It is argued that averting climate change will require millions of individuals to change their everyday behaviour, from the energy they use at home to how they travel. In order to have this kind of impact, the public campaigns that seek to influence individuals need to embrace the most sophisticated approaches and techniques in advertising and marketing, including ‘selling’ the positive opportunities and emotions that could be associated with taking action. It is argued that policy has not yet fully recognised the importance of mass behaviour change in meeting the climate challenge. Key conclusions noted include:

social marketing suggests new communications opportunities to change public behaviour in response to climate change - individual behaviour change will be essential to reduce peoples contribution to climate change
public behaviour campaigns should harness insights from the commercial sector, especially in using fresh thinking and seeking emotional responses - moving beyond awareness requires utilising the potential of social marketing tools
future campaigns should embrace a new set of positive principles to influence behaviour change - recent campaigns have struggled to change behaviour because they have neglected the importance of positive emotions. Bridging the behaviour gap requires campaigns to use positive messages.

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Renewable energy
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Public water conservation campaigns