Tom Crompton


The Conscience Industry

Let’s say you want to solve problems, but you realise that you can’t do it alone, so you work for a charity. But you still see that there is a gap with what governments are doing, and that motivations need changing. So you might enlist the help of marketeers to motivate people to lobby their MPs or donate to charity… similar to motivating people to buy a holiday.

Whatever help marketeers can offer, there’s an important distinction between selling care for others and selling holidays. It’s critically important what values you appeal to – to argue care for the environment on the basis of saving money actually helps to reinforce extrinsic values, and in the longer term it is likely to be counter-productive… and cut off the branch humanity is sitting on.

Tom Crompton has worked for charities for the last 12 years. Year on year, over this period, he has become increasingly frustrated by the widening gulf between the scale of social and environmental challenges that we confront, and the responses that we manage to collectively muster. Convinced that piecemeal approaches to ‘behaviour change’ aren’t delivering the responses that are needed, he now works to explore the cultural values that underpin public expressions of social and environmental concern – and the role of charities in engaging these values.

He is author of Weathercocks and Signposts: The Environment Movement at a Crossroads (2008), Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity (with Tim Kasser, 2009) and Common Cause: The Case for Working with Our Cultural Values (2010). Common Cause has led to extensive debate across the third sector in many countries, and many charities are now responding to its recommendations. Tom read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and holds a doctorate in evolutionary biology from the University of Leicester.

Biography published 2013

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