BECC Webinar: Theories of Change for Encouraging Climate-Friendly Behaviors

June 29, 2022 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT

Utilities, governments, non-profits, and businesses all implement programs to change behaviors to save energy and mitigate climate change — but we are often missing the details of the cause-and-effect chains operating behind the scenes. Typical theories of change usually tell us about what goals and activities are core to a program’s outcomes, but not why the program works.

In this interactive webinar, panelists will introduce a psycho-social theory of change (PS-ToC) that links elements of a behavior change program to underlying psychological or social changes. It articulates the goals of a program (e.g., utilities or organizations wanting to increase use of solar power in residential communities) and how the methods lead to actual changes in awareness, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Without such details, we can lose sight of the individual steps required to reach the final targeted behavior adoption. Panelists from Rare, a global environmental nonprofit, will provide an overview of the PS-ToC process with examples from their work. They will then give attendees a chance to practice applying the process with an actual case study and digital tool on adopting green energy sources.   

Attendees will have the opportunity to work in small groups to collaborate on a PS-ToC and share their findings and questions with the larger group. The webinar will provide insights on how to make informed, real-time program decisions to adaptively manage your programs and achieve your desired outcomes.

Moderator: Reuven Sussman, Director, Behavior & Human Dimensions Program, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Dr. Sussman conducts research on energy efficiency behavior change and co-chairs the annual conference on Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC). He joined ACEEE in 2016. He has authored numerous academic papers and book chapters on the psychology of climate change, behavioral interventions to encourage energy efficiency, and the psychological determinants of pro-environmental behavior. Dr. Sussman has been an advisor for organizations, including the G20, that implement energy efficiency behavior change programs, and an expert reviewer for academic journals and large-scale grant opportunities. Reuven is an adjunct professor and member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Victoria (Canada). He is the winner of the 2019 Early Career Award from the Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology division of the American Psychological Association, and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Environmental Psychology and Journal of Social Psychology. Dr. Sussman earned a doctor of science in social and environmental psychology from the University of Victoria.


Katie Williamson, Manager, Learning & Tools, Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment

Katie develops tools, resources, and trainings on Behavior-Centered Design and has a passion for developing learning experiences for global audiences interested in environmental behavior change. Prior to joining Rare, she earned an M.S. from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability and a B.A. from Dartmouth College in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Prior to Rare, Katie helped design and support undergraduate and graduate courses, worked with the Aspen Institute and the Donella Meadows Institute, and served as a research consultant for a chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Rakhim Rakhimov, Senior Behavioral Research Associate, Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment

Rakhim applies behavioral science to research, design, and test solutions aimed at accelerating the adoption of climate-friendly behaviors. Rakhim graduated from the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences program at the University of Pennsylvania and received his MA (Honours) in Management at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

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