Launch of the International and Interdisciplinary Group of Experts on Behavioural Change (IPBC), supported by more than 1000 scientists and experts
After launching a Manifesto for the creation of a group of expertise around the crucial issues of behavioural change for a more sustainable economic, biological, environmental and societal balance (www.gieco-ipbc.org), a group of scientists created the International Panel on Behavioral Change (IPBC), an international, interdisciplinary, independent and apolitical entity
Paris, France, 03/06/2020
A group of researchers from the humanities and social sciences launch the IPBC association (www.ipbc.science), whose aim is to develop a multidisciplinary scientific behavioural research organisation and to help address, in substance and over time, the current and predicted global societal and environmental crises. Following the example of IPCC, this group intends to publish in-depth reports presenting a broad multidisciplinary state of the art on behavioural indicators, drivers and obstacles to societal, economic and environmental change and adaptation, as well as punctual reports on specific themes. These documents are intended to be addressed to all actors, from political decision makers to private firms and civil society at large.
To this end, the IPBC team has brought together an international panel of experts from the many fields involving behaviour such as psychology, neurosciences, sociology, economics, political science, animal behavioural sciences, biology, health sciences, education, law, marketing and management sciences. To date, the initiative is supported by 1023 researchers from over 70 disciplines and 70 countries around the world.
After many years of observation and reflection on the urgent need for action in the face of societal and environmental problems announced, Jacques Fradin, physician and psychotherapist, founder of the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IEM, Paris, France) and Camille Lefrançois-Coutant, researcher in cognitive and behavioural psychology at IEM, launched in September 2018 a call to sign a manifesto for the creation of a scientific and interdisciplinary expertise group (cf. https://gieco-ipbc.org/).
Jacques Fradin, President of the IPBC, describes his motivation in the following words: “[…] I launched the idea of an IPBC in 2006… but it was a bit early, we would not have been heard. We decided to take action in 2018… And it is time: the COVID crisis shows the cost of unpreparedness… which itself stems from the lack of consideration and support for the Human Factor, from schools to companies and institutions. ». The objective of such a group is indeed to achieve a broad and up-to-date transdisciplinary scientific state of the art of the Human Factor, in particular the behavioural drivers and brakes in our transition efforts, as well as evaluations and experiments that are carried out in order to encourage changes in behaviour and practices with a view to a more sustainable, equitable and desirable society. “This is exceptional, but in the face of what lies ahead, scientists are naturally and spontaneously stepping out of their duty of reserve and out of the sole field of their discipline. This is a necessity for us and changes our relationship to our profession. We can no longer be satisfied with measuring, observing, recording and sharing our conclusions only with a limited number of interested parties” says Camille Lefrançois, Secretary General of IPBC.
One year after the launch of the manifesto, Stéphane La Branche, an independent researcher working in France in environmental sociology, joined the initiative and became its scientific coordinator. The first two international meetings of scientists were then organised, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris (in October 2019 and February 2020) and aimed at drawing the contours and operating mode of such an entity in a collegial manner. The statutes of the IPBC association were then filed in March 2020. The board of directors and the executive committees are essentially made up of international scientists. Dr La Branche sees the objectives of IPBC in a context where, according to him, “[…] the ecological crisis is above all a crisis of the imagination, imagination of new behaviours, new desires, values and institutions, new economic, political and social functioning. But in the face of the obstacles to these changes, we will need a great deal of intelligence and creativity, but also the will to take action. IPBC aims to report on what the behavioural sciences say about the forces and obstacles to this process of change. »
If the IPBC aims to publish multidisciplinary and scientific reports for the greatest number of people and all stakeholders, it intends in particular to involve companies in this process, as these actors, change will not take place: « […] Scientists from all disciplines very quickly signed our Manifesto, but the concrete adhesion of economic players will only be achieved if the IPBC widens its target to the broad study of the Human Factor (HF), in the face of multiple transitions, environmental but also social, societal, economic, in the sense of an increasingly unstable and unpredictable market or professions confronted with the exponential development of artificial intelligence, etc. » says Jacques Fradin. « However critical the involvement of companies in the work of IPBC may seem, we do not give them any power of decision or censorship. We invite them, through a Group 2 of economic players, to feed our reflections, to better identify the relevant themes to be explored in order to solve the real societal, social or environmental problems in the field, to validate our experiments when the time comes, etc. In the same way, of course, we are going to create a Group 3 dedicated to institutions and other stakeholders. The launch of the manifesto, well before COVID, enabled us to observe that awareness of these subjects was no longer limited to a specific section of the population, but affected all socio-economic categories, business leaders, civil society, associations, education and scientific circles in a very disparate way, of course, even if there is still a gap – the main focus of our future publications – between awareness and action. » adds Camille Lefrançois.
The IPBC is therefore composed of three groups: the scientists (G1) who produce deliverables and two groups (G2: open to all economic actors and sectors; G3: open to all institutions and stakeholders ) of stakeholders, helping to focus the substance and form of the deliverables in a truly relevant and useful way. These groups are not members or voters within the IPBC, but they have the crucial mission to express the needs, problems and expectations of the different bodies of society such as education, health, agriculture, etc. They will interact upstream and downstream of the WG1 work, ensure the intelligibility of the reports for the general public and its operational usefulness for non-expert behavioural actors, both institutional and private. Jacques Fradin stated that « one might have feared that this extension to the HF would have dispersed the initial project for the “extension of the IPCC”. But it is clear that all these transitions (AI, professions, markets, diversity, etc.) converge in more than one respect. They converge in substance because they tend to instil a global, long-term and systemic vision, thus opposing the short-termism that has triumphed until now… They also converge in form, i.e. on the basis of the neurocognitive resources that underlie them (faculties notably linked to the prefrontal cortex), because of the mental state they mobilize to access any overview and the resulting adaptation, thus hoping to resolve in a more systemic and coherent way the myriad of particular and contradictory micro-reasons (described in studies that are too descriptive only) that generate the overall and profound resistance observed. ». To which, Dr. La Branche adds: “[…] and they all raise our fundamental question: why and how do we change our behaviours or not? The last two words are most important since if we do not understand obstacles to change, it will be impossible to find solutions”.
IPBC website https://www.ipbc.science/
IPBC Manifesto website https://www.gieco-ipbc.org/
CONTACT Camille Lefrançois-Coutant – 06.99.23.81.40 – firstname.lastname@example.orgThe views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.