Research project

Consumers' conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption
Kuluttajien ristiriitaiset reaktiot kestävää kuluttamista kohtaan


Project Details

Start date: 01/09/2021

End date: 31/08/2024


Funder

Academy of Finland


Abstract

While consumer awareness and perceived importance of sustainability issues has increased, a gap exists between consumers’ attitudes towards sustainability and their actual consumption behavior. This discrepancy is among the most important challenges for academics and practitioners aiming to promote sustainable consumption. In this project, the broad objective is to address this discrepancy by generating new theoretical insights on consumers’ conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption. This goal will be reached by a)
synthesizing existing research into an overarching theoretical framework of consumers’ conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption, b) developing novel theoretical insights on the structure of consumers’ conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption, and c) theorizing and empirically testing individual and situational aspects, which influence avoidance-based coping with conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption. These insights are used as a basis for testing effective sustainability communication to promote sustainable consumption. The project is based on an extensive, systematic literature review of different streams of research studying consumers’ conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption. In the empirical research, focus group interviews are used to study the structure of consumers’ conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption. This is followed by online and field experiments, which are conducted to test the effectiveness of different types of communication to promote sustainable consumption among consumers who
have conflicting reactions to the topic. Finally, avoidance of sustainability information is studied in a behavioral laboratory with eye tracking technology. Based on this research, additional experiments are conducted to test, which type of sustainability communication is most likely to reduce the avoidance of sustainability information. As a central result, the project creates new theory and understanding of consumers’ conflicting reactions to sustainable consumption and effective communication to overcome the negative consequences of conflicting reactions for consumer behavior. Thus, the project promotes more sustainable ways of consumption, ultimately leading to a more sustainable society.


Keywords

sustainable consumption; consumer behavior; psychological conflicts; ambivalence; nudging


Research Areas


Last updated on 2021-06-09 at 10:30