The effect of BeChange


THE EFFECT OF BECHANGE 



SUMMARY


BeChange is a sustainability training company with world leading programs that make it easy for individuals to nearly halve their carbon emissions and create a climate smart lifestyle customised to their needs.  Available both in classroom format and (soon) via e-learning online, the BeChange programs are designed for employees and private individuals not only to mitigate the effects of climate change, but also to increase overall happiness in participants.  


BeChange has so far run 4 programs in 3 cities (Luleå, Eskilstuna and Stockholm) with a total of 170 participants, running for 4 months (except for the first 2 Pilot Programs that ran for 9 and 7 months).


During these programs, on average our participants reduced their carbon emissions by 47% which is 3,6 tonne CO2 per person/year (based on the calculations at klimatkontot.se), while at the same time experiencing a higher quality of life and reduced levels of climate anxiety. Furthermore, the participants felt happier with an increased sense of living a life aligned to their own values.


Additional climate benefits from the BeChange program is created by the "ripple effect" - during the program, participants reported that their children, spouses, friends and collegues were inspired to make similar climate friendly changes too.  And when it comes to society's next generation, children still living at home, they learned and were inspired by ideas such as green electricity and holidays and are likely to incorporated them into their lives in the future.


BeChange was developed by its owners - Stina Sundqvist and Ann Murugan from Luleå, Sweden. BeChange’s approach stands unique in the world, using both inner mental tools and outer tools of personalised, practical climate coaching that allows individuals to create a climate smart lifestyle while simultaneously having fun and increasing their sense of wellbeing.


These BeChange programs have been executed in partnership with Studiefrämjandet Norrbotten, Studiefrämjandet Eskilstuna, Studiefrämjandet Stockholm and the councils of Luleå, Eskilstuna, Stockholm, Tyresö, Järfälla and Huddinge and Klimatklivet. 



METHOD


Selection of participants

The participants found out about the BeChange program primarily through Facebook but also via media coverage and word of mouth. All participants joining the program had a longing to live more climate friendly lives and thus were motivated to make changes. By global standards they had a high-carbon lifestyle when entering the project (On average they emitted 7,6 tonne carbon emissions/year per participant). 


Measurements

During the BeChange programs, 3 different measuring tools are used to capture this data:


1) Changes in participants' CO₂ emission levels. The tool for calculating and measuring real changes in CO₂ weight per year was the web based tool Klimatkontot (www.klimatkontot.se).

2) Changes in levels of climate anxiety and sense of hope about the world's environmental challenges. Mental changes were measured using a self assessment tool developed for the BeChange project by Ann Murugan (Earth), as no standardised tool existed. 

3) Changes in exeperienced quality of life. Quality of life was meassured by BeChange own survey as well as by the validated survey” Brunnsviken Brief Quality of Life scale” by Karolinska University. 


Measures were made at the start of the program (baseline values) and at the end of the program, and also one year after the program ended (only the Luleå program has done this so far as it is the only program where sufficient time has passed).


The baseline values were taken as points of departure in the work with the participants’ "Carbon Reduction Goals", "Climate Psychology Goals" and "Quality Of Life Goals".  


Regarding the ”Carbon Reduction Goals”, the participants received practical coaching on how they could transition to a low CO₂ emitting lifestyle while keeping or enhancing their overall quality of life. BeChange focuses on the 3 largest emission sources from Swedish peoples' everyday lives - ”transportation, food and housing” (Swedish EPA, 2018).


During the program, participants were encouraged to prioritise their focus in the following order:

1. Easily implementable solutions that resulted in major reductions of CO₂ emissions.

2. Easily implementable solutions that resulted in minor reductions of CO₂ emissions.

3. Solutions that were less simple to implement, but had had major impact on CO₂ emissions.


As a result, the focus areas for the participants were typically to shift to more of low-emission transportation, to more of a plant-based diet while reducing meat consumption, and to switch to renewable energy for their homes. Outside of BeChange’s main focus areas (transportation, food and housing) the participants also chose to reduce wasteful consumption.


Climate psychology tools were added to support the participants to perform at their peak and reach their goals. These tools also aimed to free the participants from climate anxiety and increased their sense of hopefulness around environmental challenges, thereby contributing to increased mental satisfaction and quality of life. 


The program mixed theoretical lectures and group coaching sessions with hands on real life implementation and trying out new solutions and habits at home. The program allows time for participants to share their thoughts and feelings around progress and setbacks with other participants, and to spread knowledge and tips with each other. 



RESULTS


The results of the 170 participants participating in BeChange is as follows:


  • They reduced their carbon emissions by 47% or 3,6 tonne CO2 per person per year. 
  • The area where the participants had their biggest CO2 reductions is in transportation (car, bus, train, flights etc).

  • They experienced an overall higher quality of life.
  • They experienced an increased sense of hopefulness, and reduced levels of climate anxiety.
  • They experienced an increased sense of "walk the talk"-  living a life aligned to their own values.


See graphs to the right. 


Additional climate benefits from the BeChange program is created by the "ripple effect" - during the program, participants reported that their children, spouses, friends and collegues were inspired to make similar climate friendly changes too.  And when it comes to society's next generation, children still living at home, they learned and were inspired by ideas such as green electricity and holidays and are likely to incorporated them into their lives in the future.


Further unexpected benefits arise from the spontaneous actions of participants after the program - some have been charged and inspired, and have channeled this into new climate initiatives of their own in a way that they never dared to before the BeChange program.  For example, some of our participants have gone on to facilitate climate change days (both local and national), changed their work roles to ones that are more in line with their purpose, started political engagement, art/photo awareness exhibitions, creating climate circle discussion groups etc. 


BeChange shows that with the right support, it is possible (even easy) for motivated individuals with a high-carbon lifestyle to halve their carbon emissions in only four months while increasing their sense of quality of life. 


The results in the 4 different groups are consistent (see graph "Carbon reduction levels per program"), thus meaningful conclusions can be drawn from this data. And in the Luleå program (the only one that has been over a year since they finnished the course) participants CO₂ reductions remained even a year after the program ended.



CONCLUSION


BeChange's innovative program is a powerful tool that almost HALVES individual carbon emissions in the shortest possible time (4 months). It is extremely effective, easy and enjoyable to follow, uniquely combining practical AND mental training in a complete solution that helps people lead more sustainable lives and reduce their emissions. 


By providing individuals with the support they need in order to create the climate friendly lifestyle they want, halving their carbon emissions is easy and fast with zero negative impacts on their quality of life.  In fact, it actually has the opposite effect - the BeChange program has a large positive impact on peoples' quality of life, and this is probably the key reason why the changes and their new climate friendly lifestyle persists long after the program has finished. 


The BeChange program allows motivated individuals to halve their emissions and yet have a higher quality of life, which is why we have noticed that participants remain engaged and motivated outside the scope of the program and long after it has finished. This are good indicators for BeChange to have a powerful exponential effect. 


In order to reach the global goal of halving carbon emissions by 2030, individuals need the right support and tools in order to make the changes quickly but also in a long lasting way that avoids a reappearance of the problem. The BeChange program provides this support and tools successfully. Our excellent results were highlighted in the report Exponential Climat Action Roadmap that was presented at the Global Climate Action Summmit 2018.


BeChange is currently working on a digital sollution that can be used by individuals and corporations globally. The first stage of development is secured financially, and BeChange are now looking for investors for the second phase. 

Cardon reduction during BeChange program Sweden innovation CarbonReduction HappinessProduction
BeChange - areas of carbon reduction based on private individuals

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