Strategic Insights from Social Science

Skoll Global Threats Fund

Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF) hired Renee to advise their strategic support of the climate advocacy community.

Renee produced a comprehensive white paper reviewing the best insights available from the social sciences on engagement with climate change. The result, “Engaging with Climate Change: How We Think About Engagement” also included Renee’s framework for engaging people on difficult and complex environmental issues, now referred to as “The Quadrant of Engagement” (Lertzman, 2016). The paper argues for greater need for the climate advocacy and research communities to work towards integrating tools and resources from across the four dominant approaches – framing/messaging, behavioral change/social marketing, design and social impact, and emotional and conversation-based interventions.

In addition to influencing SGTF’s strategic planning, the paper also helped to inform the development of the Climate Advocacy Lab, an online resource developed for the advocacy community to bridge research and practice. SGTF then commissioned an interactive, online field guide based on Renee’s foundational work, “The Field Guide to Social Sciences” which she lead authored with a team of social scientists and climate campaigners, produced by Free Range.

The result of Renee’s work with SGTF is an interactive tool and resource – the “Field Guide” – designed to walk campaigners through the social-science foundations of successful campaign strategy, testing assumptions and engaging in critical reflection of common conceptions about framing. It is being actively used by the community, through national workshops and webinars convened by SGTF.