Skip to main content

Solving the ultimate wicked problem

windmills on a hill with blue sky

The role of EECA is to improve the energy efficiency of New Zealand homes and businesses to reduce carbon emissions.

In a nutshell

  1. To improve the energy efficiency of New Zealand homes and businesses, EECA needed to understand the barriers and levers to encourage the reduction of carbon emissions. 
  2. Together with EECA and Clemenger BBDO, we took an holistic approach to understand the challenge and develop a pathway forward.
  3. EECA’s organisational focus has shifted to promoter and advocate for system change, and a strategy for activation has been developed. 

This is in an effort to meet New Zealand’s Paris zero emissions agreement commitments.

EECA needed to understand the barriers and levers and to identify where to focus, what could be achieved and how to go about it. They partnered with TRA and Clemenger BBDO to develop insight, strategy and communications, working as a collaborative team to achieve their goals.

The challenge

We know there is a disconnect between what people say and do, that attitudes don’t lead to behaviour change, that there is no shortage of information about climate change – and we also know that carbon emissions aren’t declining.

In the face of a complex problem we took an holistic approach involving semiotic analysis, systems thinking to map the eco-system, sourcing published data, diagnosing the cultural currents influencing beliefs, conducting ethnographic interviews and quantitative surveys, and applying behavioural science thinking to develop vocabulary.

The next challenge was to pull together many angles on the problem into a very clear pathway forward, enabling the development of a plan on the focus areas and the jobs to be done.


A truly collaborative effort between EECA, Clemenger BBDO and TRA has resulted in absolute clarity about the job to be done and the activation plan.

Agreement on change of EECA’s organisational focus from providers of energy efficiency advice, to promoter and advocate for system change, via regulation, incentives and marketing activation.

Applied behavioural approach to the use of language to create a leadership role for EECA. A guide to how to talk to the topic was produced and distributed to a cross-Government group to drive a single narrative which will amplify the individual messages.

A strategy for activation that Clemenger BBDO are using to create a comms and messaging plan for:

  • Why (reduction matters to each of us & connect disparate activities and interventions)
  • How (impactful change is possible)
  • What (people can do to create change

We are monitoring progress across actions, but of course the ultimate measure will be a reduction in carbon emissions. And that will take time.

We’d love to say we’ve solved the problem of climate change, but of course we haven’t. However we have solved the problem of where and how to focus resources to achieve a significant reduction in carbon emissions. And by using multiple data sources we have given confidence, inspiration and direction to the EECA team.

Headshot of Karin Glucina, Partner at TRA in black and white
Karin Glucina

back to top

Discover more content

Stay in touch!

Sign up to receive our latest thinking straight to your inbox each month.