< Back to Nudge | 3. november 2011

Giving millions to climate initiatives and research

(Oslo, 9 May 2011) Gunhild and Petter A. Stordalen have taken the initiative to found a new Norwegian environmental foundation. At the same time the couple are giving millions of NOK to European efforts to combat climate change. "We are focusing on action. Incentives for behavioural change both at an individual level and in trans-border politics. That is what the battle against climate change is about," says Gunhild.

The new environmental foundation is called GreeNudge and will initiate and fund research projects that combine climate-related measures with incentives to encourage behavioural change.

"Nearly half of all the measures that we must implement during the next 20 years to combat climate change are financially worthwhile.  Even so, we see that there is a failure to take action. GreeNudge will draw attention to knowledge and experience about how decisions by consumers and businesses can be nudged in a climate friendly direction," says Petter Stordalen.

Policies and research
GreeNudge will work with the European Climate Foundation (ECF), one of Europe's most influential environmental organisations. At the same time, Gunhild and Petter Stordalen will contribute financially to the ECF, joining the ranks of the organisation's most significant donors with an initial donation of USD 2.5 million over a two-year period.

"The ECF is an organisation with political clout and a large international network. The fact that the EU is functioning as a driver in all international fora where climate is on the agenda is due not least to pressure groups such as the ECF," says Petter Stordalen.

"At the same time we know that political change takes time. This means it is important to make parallel efforts to encourage behavioural change by individuals. Such changes, taken on a large scale, will give an immediate cut in emissions. Both these approaches need support if we are to achieve any effect. So we thought "right, let's go for both" when we were deciding how we should support the battle against climate change over the coming years," says Gunhild Stordalen.

A green thread
Both Gunhild and Petter Stordalen have been engaged in various environmental issues for many years.

"A green thread links our work with the Zero Emission Resource Organization (Zero), the Rainforest Foundation Norway and other environmental organisations at home with our work with the ECF. As well as its political work, the ECF funds important measures within organisations and institutions," says Petter Stordalen.

GreeNudge is not a new environmental organisation in the traditional sense. The foundation will initiate behavioural studies in collaboration with academic institutions, commercial entities and environmental organisations in order to identify what creates environmentally- and climate-friendly behaviour. The Stordalens will also continue to support Zero and to work with other Norwegian environmental organisations.

Both Gunhild and Petter emphasise that the environmental movement does an extremely important job and possesses valuable expertise.

"Accordingly we have spent time identifying the areas in which our contribution can make the greatest possible difference. GreeNudge focuses on behavioural and climate research in order to identify small "nudges" that, on a large scale, can make a significant difference. Our ambition is to contribute knowledge that can provide a better decision-making basis for public authorities, environmental organisations, businesses and individuals," says Gunhild.

Shared philosophy
GreeNudge is the result of a long process during which Gunhild and Petter Stordalen have received input and advice about where their commitment is needed. During this process the couple came into contact with the ECF, which is one of the most influential environmental organisations at a European level.

"When we choose to spend time and money on the ECF, it is because we believe in their work and share their philosophy. As well as constituting a centre of gravity, both academically and politically, in European climate issues, the ECF has heavyweight expert knowledge on improving energy-efficiency. This is also a key focus area for GreeNudge, so we are hoping to generate significant synergy effects from this collaboration. At the same time we are proud and humble to be able to work with such an important international organisation," concludes Gunhild.

- Founded in spring 2011 by Gunhild and Petter A. Stordalen
- will initiate, fund and promote research projects that combine behavioural science with measures to combat climate change
- Will collaborate with research institutions, voluntary organisations and corporate business
- Collaborates with and receives funding from the ECF
- "Green" is used in English to describe someone who supports environmental measurse, work on preventing climate change, and social responsibility
- "Nudge" means a gentle push - particularly to get attention or to give someone a signal

European Climate Foundation (ECF)
- Established in 2008 as an ideologically and politically non-aligned foundation
- Headquartered in The Hague, with offices in Brussels and Berlin
- Works to develop and implement climate- and energy-related measures that will significantly cut European greenhouse gas emissions
- Addresses political leaders, business, the media and the people of Europe
- Is divided into five programmes specialising respectively in improving energy efficiency, the decarbonisation of European energy production, transportation, EU climate policy, Climate diplomacy and strategic communication (the Energy Strategy Center)
- The majority of the foundation's assets are regenerated as grants for environmental organisations, although the ECF does also engage in specific measures
- Read more about the ECF at www.europeanclimate.org

Gunhild and Petter A. Stordalen
- Gunhild A. Stordalen has a PhD in medicine and works as a junior hospital doctor at Oslo University Hospital, in addition to her work as a campaigner for animal welfare and the environment
- Gunhild sits on the boards of Home Invest AS, Nordic Choice Hotels and the environment foundation ZERO, where she is an active contributor to the annual Zero conference
- Petter A. Stordalen is the sole owner and chairman of the boards of Home Invest and the Nordic Choice Hospitality Group, with 170 hotels and over 9,200 employees in the Nordic and Baltic regions
- Gunhild and Petter support Zero, Rainforest Foundation Norway and the Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance  through the wide-ranging CSR programme "We Care" run by Home Invest and Nordic Choice. Read more about Nordic Choice's environmental and CSR programmes at www.choicehotels.no