our story

Who are
Common Cause?

We are a small non-profit that works at the intersection of culture change and human values. We’re driven by the belief that it is possible to design societies that magnify and strengthen the cooperative and caring parts of human nature. And that together, we can build ways of living that are equitable and just, and lie within our planetary boundaries. We know that values play a pivotal role in shaping our cultures and systems. The dominant global culture is out of balance, prioritising extrinsic values such as wealth, power and social status, in a way that has led us to the brink of destruction; with crises of poverty, inequality and climate change. We also know that balance can be restored with the elevation of intrinsic values which have, for too long, been neglected – values like community, creativity and unity with nature. Informed by decades of social psychological research, as well as other ways of knowing that centre the interconnectedness of human beings and nature, we are helping to build the foundations for a culture that truly reflects the intrinsic values which the majority of people prioritise. To do this we work with a broad range of cultural influencers to rebalance the values that we find reinforced in our day-to-day lives, opening up greater possibilities for imagining and nurturing new alternatives to living together on our one shared planet.


Our values help shape what we believe is desirable, important or worthy of striving for in our lives. They guide and inform the ways we act and what we think. They influence how we interact with other people and the more-than-human world. They are influenced by our experiences in our lives.

Source: Milton Rokeach’s book
The Nature of Human Values (1973)

extrinsic values

Extrinsic values refer to values such as ‘wealth’, ‘social recognition’, ‘social status’, ‘conformity’ and ‘ambition’. They rely on external approval or rewards to be recognised. We see these types of values championed a lot in our societies. 

intrinsic values

Intrinsic values refer to values such as ‘broadmindedness’, ‘equality’, ‘social justice’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘community’, ‘creativity’ and ‘responsibility’. They are understood as being inherently rewarding. Intrinsic values are associated with greater concern about social and environmental issues, and greater motivation to engage in various forms of civic action. 

cultural influencers

We use the term cultural influencers to describe anyone who helps to shape and sustain the mainstream culture in which we live. This will include everyone, but particular influence perhaps lies with those who work in the media, advertising, education, health, NGOs, governments, arts and cultural organisations, pop culture, the music industry and sport. 

Our mission

Rebalancing our cultural values

Common Cause exists to help build the foundations needed to shift cultures away from competition, inequality and oppression, and towards regeneration, equity and harmony, by celebrating and elevating the intrinsic values that underpin our care for one another and our living planet. 

Our vision


Where the interconnectedness of all living beings is honoured in the cultures and systems we co-create and live by. 

Our story so far

Common Cause began as a series of reports written by Tom Crompton (who at the time was working for WWF-UK) in collaboration with leading social psychologists (especially Professors Tim Kasser and Greg Maio and John Thøgersen). These reports challenged many of the assumptions underlying environmental campaigning at the time – such as the belief that “simple and painless steps” would provide a foot-in-the-door to transformative behavioural changes, and the repeated centring of financial benefits or social status as a means of encouraging public action. The reports built a picture of an alternative approach to campaigning founded squarely on the role of values as a key factor in shaping human attitudes and behaviours.

Inspired by these reports, a group of campaign and communication staff from diverse NGOs formed an informal steering group and oversaw the publication of “Common Cause: The Case for Working with our Cultural Values”. From here, other organisations stepped forward to help develop and advocate for this thinking – including Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), which was commissioned by WWF-UK and others to develop and publish the Common Cause Handbook and Common Cause for Nature before going on to develop its own work in this area.

Due to focus expanding beyond issues of solely environmental concern, in 2015, with a grant from WWF-UK, Oliver Smith and Tom Crompton established Common Cause Foundation as an independent not for profit (a Company Limited by Guarantee with an asset lock), with the committed support of our first non-executive directors – Peter Lipman and Halina Ward.

As an independent organisation, our focus continues to evolve. Our pioneering research on people’s perceptions of their fellow citizens’ values has proved to be particularly important, as has our development of collaborations with new kinds of organisations, including arts and cultural organisations and a football club. 

Meet the team



I’m a communicator, organiser, writer and creative focusing on culture and systems change to eradicate poverty, inequity, white supremacy and patriarchy, to regenerate the environment and support the transition to a post-capitalist world.

I have worked in leadership and supporting roles to challenge dominant narratives in pursuit of more just economic and political systems with interconnectedness at their heart. My experience of the full spectrum of the ‘incredible’ to the ‘incredibly problematic’ within the social change sector motivates me to seek new ways of achieving social justice that breaks the chains of perpetuating systemic problems and pushes the global narrative in a new direction, working in solidarity with those on the frontline of oppression and injustice.


I’m driven by the question of how more people can be supported to understand, think and feel differently about the social and environmental challenges we face, so that they can take action in more effective ways.

I have been working in the field of social change for the past 10 years, namely in public engagement and campaign strategy roles for organisations such as Amnesty International and Restless Development. I’m particularly interested in narrative change and write a fortnightly newsletter called In Other Words that collates the latest thinking in this field. I currently sit on the Trustee Board for the student campaigning organisation, People and Planet.  



I am compelled by the realisation that we cannot expect proportional or lasting responses to today’s profound social and environment challenges to emerge unless these responses are rooted in an understanding of what matters to people, and what shapes what matters to people.

I have worked on values and social change for fifteen years, employed by or collaborating with diverse charities – including NSPCC, Oxfam, Scope and WWF. I have advised the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments on cultural values, and have collaborated and published with some of the world’s foremost academics working in this area. I’ve also written extensively in this field for both peer-reviewed and popular journals, and wrote the reports Weathercocks and Signposts: The Environment Movement at a Crossroads (WWF, 2007), Common Cause: The Case for Working with Values and Frames (WWF, 2010) and Perceptions Matter: The Common Cause UK Values Survey (CCF, 2016). 

Our board



Learning & Development Manager, Institute for Government



Senior Director of Strategy, Purpose



Community Organiser, Migrants Organise



Associate, Compass



Founder & Director, Anima Mundi Law Initiative



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