Make Green The Default
I have an ageing HP laser printer – I bought a duplex device as I wanted to be a good little greenie and print double sided to save paper. I’ve had to set up drivers for a few computers over the years and one thing strikes me every time…
The driver defaults to single-sided printing.
To set up duplex printing you have to dig in to the settings, find the right page, find the right setting to change, change it and save the preset. While this isn’t a Herculean task, it’s not something my mother could do easily. Why not default to the greener option? Why make green difficult at all?
In an odd moment on the train in the last couple of weeks, I cheekily tweeted HP and asked them why this was. They referred me to their technical support to ‘fix the problem’, I retorted I wasn’t asking ‘how?’ but ‘why?’ and they went silent – probably some contracted ‘social media consultant’ worried about what damage they would do their clients’ brand if they told me where to go.
I think it is a good illustration of one of zillions of little barriers that make green harder than business as usual. People will tend to take the path of least resistance – especially those who don’t self-identify as green. So you’ve got to make green easier than ungreen. And one powerful tactic to do this is to make sure that the default option in every case is the greener one, so green is the ‘do nothing’ option.