Speaker Announcement: Magali Delmas
Magali Delmas is a professor of management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Her research interests lie primarily in the areas of business strategy, corporate sustainability and socially responsible investing. "Standing at the crossroads of policy, economics and management," she says, "I seek to understand the effectiveness of information strategies to promote conservation behavior."
Delmas has written more than 80 articles, book chapters and case studies on business and the natural environment. She works on developing effective information strategies to promote conservation and the development of green markets. "Dark green consumers represent as small a segment of the population as do 'brown' consumers," she says. "Research tells us that consumers buy green products when they benefit not just the environment, but the consumer." Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, and Delmas calls that segment the "convenient environmentalists."
In her new book: "The Green Bundle: Pairing the Market with the Planet," she argues that successful information strategies require a holistic approach that accounts for both the altruistic and egoistic motivations of consumers. With insight from sustainable business and from behavioral economics, she describes the elements of effective information strategies that will help managers guide consumers along the difficult path from knowledge to consumption. With what she calls the "green bundle"-natural or implicit co-benefits of environmental goods and services-companies can strategically appeal to both the altruistic and egoistic values of consumers. Broadly, green bundle co-benefits include the following: quality, status, health, money, and emotion. Products that pair sustainability with these private benefits create a win-win for consumers.
Her current research also includes the investigation of the barriers and incentives to the adoption of energy-efficient solutions. Using insights from behavioral science, she developed the UCLA Engage program to determine whether real-time, appliance-level energy consumption feedback in 120 university apartments could be used as an effective tool to promote energy conservation among rate payers. "We wanted to understand what motivates people to save energy, and figure out how to most effectively frame information about energy usage so people are encouraged to conserve," Delmas says. Whereas people usually say that cost savings will motivate them, Delmas' team found that it proves to be the least effective strategy in changing behavior. More compelling to most consumers is how their energy use affects their personal health.
Delmas is also engaged in refining current methodologies to measure and communicate firms' and products' environmental performance, receiving widespread media attention for studies involving eco-labeling of biodynamic wines and "natural" cleaning products. She has studied climate lobbying and how corporate "greenwashing" undermines consumer and investor confidence.
Delmas is the director of the UCLA Center for Corporate Environmental Performance. From 2014-2017, she was the president of the Alliance for Research in Corporate Sustainability (ARCS), an international organization that serves as a vehicle for advancing rigorous academic research on corporate sustainability concerns.