Global Cool inspires and enables people to make low-carbon lifestyle choices.

Global Cool puts great emphasis on understanding and measuring the impact of our campaigning work so that we can learn how to reduce carbon emissions most rapidly and substantially.

We have now completed a full cycle of our four campaign areas – the Art of Swishing, where we worked with fashion to promote clothes recycling; promoting alternatives to driving (Do it in Public); using less energy at home (Turn up the Style, Turn down the Heat); and alternatives to flying (we promoted Traincations). Each campaign has succeeded in reaching and influencing our target audience – no mean feat given the innovative way in which Global Cool operates and the breadth of these topics.

Global Cool’s approach to promoting low-carbon behaviours fits what the Institute for Government calls “evidence-based innovation” – in other words, using techniques that have proven effective elsewhere (in our case, from commercial experience of selling to our target audience) and applying them in a new context.

Download Global Cool Campaigning Impact January 2009 – June 2010 here

Tris Lumley, Head of Strategy at New Philanthropy Capital, thought-leaders in this area, said: “I’m really impressed that Global Cool is so serious about measuring its results. This is really hard to do, especially for campaigning charities. In NPC’s experience, there is far too little focus across the sector on understanding results. And Global Cool’s results look great.”

Highlights of the research include:

  • Some of our campaigns aim to build awareness of low carbon behaviours such as “swishing” or taking train-based holidays to destinations beyond Paris and Brussels, and they’ve been successful. For example, awareness of swishing rose from 6.7% to 12% among 18-24 year olds.
  • Other campaigns are more about influencing attitudes, such as towards taking journeys on trains and buses, or wearing warm clothes in winter, and we’ve succeeded here as well. After our “Wrap up for winter campaign” the proportion of people who said they were inspired to wear warmer clothes at home rose from 12% to 18%.
  • We’re effectively finding our target market: 80% of people we talk to are ‘Outer Directed’ vs. less than half that in the general population. After four campaigns 30% of ODs have at least heard of Global Cool, up from 16% in January 2009.
  • We’re building our reach through our campaigns and through our web traffic, social networking members, press coverage, etc. Already the cumulative reach of our campaigns is over 238 million.
  • We get great feedback from focus groups (“The blog is readable and the photos show that it’s fun and active rather than just preaching, it’s an organisation out there doing something”) and social network sites (“Global Cool features really interesting & entertaining articles that just HAPPEN to promote an eco friendly lifestyle.”).

Download the full report here [insert link]. We’re delighted that Defra has funded the evaluation of our work, to assess the impact of this approach on encouraging environmentally-sustainable behaviour.

How We Measure Impact

Assessing the impact of our campaigns is not easy. Changing people’s behaviour involves penetrating complex layers of attitudes, associations and even values. It is hard enough to know whether behavioural changes are taking place, let alone what is causing them.

To illustrate the difficulty of determining the cause of a change, think about the increase in healthy eating in the UK. Factors causing this include the UK public liking fruit and vegetables, the government (or our parents) telling us to eat ‘five a day’, and us wanting to look slim and trim. These factors probably all contribute in some way, and it’s hard (sometimes impossible) to disentangle them.

The same is true of encouraging low-carbon behaviours.

Challenges of measuring success mean that many campaigning organisations do not evaluate or monitor their impact – indeed, it is estimated that fewer than half of all campaigning charities evaluate their performance. The Global Cool Foundation is not one of these charities – we work hard to track the success of our work.

We measure our success by collecting and analysing multiple kinds of data:

  • We measure everything about our campaigns which is measurable: eg,
  • In some of Global Cool’s work, people can take low-carbon options directly through us, such as purchasing rail tickets. This is, of course, easy to monitor
  • Traffic and engagement on online activity on the Global Cool website and our activity on social networks
  • Footfall at events we run, or at ‘experiential’ activity we run eg, at music festivals
  • Media value (ROI) of PR around campaigns
  • We conduct surveys of subscribers to Global Cool before and after each campaign. This helps to determine whether the campaign is changing their attitudes and behavior, and how memorable the various elements are.
  • We survey the general public (ie, people who haven’t subscribed to Global Cool) before and after each campaign. We test whether this correlates with awareness of Global Cool and our campaigns, and how people became aware of us.
  • We conduct focus groups with the general public to understand attitudes, behaviours and awareness of Global Cool, as well as to generate ideas for our campaigns. We specifically talk to people in Global Cool’s target demographic.
  • We also conduct focus groups with people who have subscribed to Global Cool.
  • We cross-check our results with publicly-funded research on our target attitudes and behaviours (e.g. DEFRA, ippr).

We also know, from commercial marketing, that people go through various attitudinal stages before they do something, for example purchase a product. So we closely monitor how people are exposed to our campaigns (Reach), how deeply they interact with Global Cool (Engagement), and of course whether they then behave differently (Action). By analysing the depth of influence and triangulating across these data sources, we can better tease out the real impact our campaigns have on behaviour.

Our approach to measuring success is based on our staff’s expertise from commercial and non-profit consulting, marketing, web strategy, and other areas. We continually seek to improve our approach by incorporating best practices recommended by leading thinkers in charitable management, for example this article from New Philanthropy Capital. We welcome suggestions on how to improve our approach to measuring impact, and are happy to share more detailed findings with climate change organisations that wish to hone their own strategies.

    Our Campaigns

    Global CoolGlobal Cool - a green lifestyle movement that works with the entertainment and media industries to inspire people to think differently about sustainable lifestyles

    Projects We Support

    Project GenieProject Genie - a programme that tackles climate change through children, based on the belief that children are one of the quickest routes to changing behaviours

    Solar AidSolar Power in Africa - supporting the roll-out of solar technology in Zambia to give communities and households access to clean and renewable energy

    Praise for the Global Cool Campaign

    Boris Johnson"This is a fantastic organization working to help people find ways to save energy and be greener without sacrificing the things they enjoy.'" - Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

    Ed Miliband"Global Cool does a great job" - Ed Miliband MP, Then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

    Dame Suzi Leather"Global Cool is tackling one of the most important challenges facing humanity. What Global Cool is doing is brilliant" - Dame Suzi Leather, Chair, Charity Commission

    Stephen Fry"I need guidance. I really want to do well, but I honestly don't know how to do well unless somebody tells me.... and that's where Global Cool has a future" - Stephen Fry, British Actor

    Sarah Teacher"Global Cool is such an energizing idea and non-profit... and incredibly impressively communicated and shared" - Sarah Teacher, Institute for Philanthropy

    Ellie Stringer“Global Cool uses extensive market research to make carbon - saving cool rather than boring. And so has an influence beyond the usual Guardian-reading liberals. I’m impressed." - Ellie Stringer, New Philanthropy Capital

    Emma Harris"We really value our relationship with Global Cool. Their campaign to promote ‘Traincations’ was highly imaginative and in terms of positioning they are a great brand fit for us" - Emma Harris, Director of Sales & Marketing, Eurostar

    Our supporters include: