Sustainable Products and Consumer Behavior
The objective of this track is to be a catalyst for new research projects within each of the topic areas identified below. For the purposes of this conference, we propose a definition of sustainability consistent with the Brundtland Commission's definition as well as the philosophy of the ‘triple bottom line': "Sustainability refers to society's ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs through an integrated management of environmental, social, and economic issues."
Our approach is to identify a group of participants – from all levels of academic experience – who will self-select into one of the track topic areas identified below. Once participants have been identified, they will work with other members interested in the same topic area to compile related articles/monographs within their topic and to develop an overview of this background research to present to the other Sustainable Consumption track participants at the beginning of the conference. During the conference, participants will work in teams to define specific, new research projects that will begin at the conference. Within each of these topic areas, we will be encouraging participants to consider projects that address any/all of the three elements of the consumption cycle: acquisition, consumption, and disposition, across a wide variety of consumption contexts (e.g., consumer products, real estate, services etc.). Our hope is that these projects will target top-tier journals and that the findings from these projects will benefit consumers as well as lead to the development of best practices for marketers and public policy makers with the overall goal of improving consumer welfare.
- Communicating sustainability to consumers. What packaging/labeling or other cues do companies use to communicate to consumers that an offering is sustainable and how do consumers perceive these various cues? The primary objective for this topic area will be to identify existing cues/labels and discuss their effectiveness and credibility (i.e., are some associated with "greenwashing"? do some lead to unintended, potentially harmful consequences for consumers?). Participants are also encouraged to consider how managers and policy makers can communicate information about sustainable usage and disposal practices (including encouraging consumers to minimize consumption and disposition).
- Motivations for sustainable consumption. When and why do consumers choose to purchase sustainable products, use existing products/resources in a sustainable manner, and/or dispose of goods using sustainable practices? When, why and how do consumers reduce their consumption levels in the first place? The objective for this topic area will be to identify empirical generalizations and high priority research opportunities.
- Barriers to sustainable consumption. What are the barriers to sustainable consumption, i.e., barriers to reducing consumption and/or purchasing relatively more sustainable products? What are the barriers to consuming and disposing of products in a sustainable manner? The objective for this topic area will be to identify empirical generalizations and high priority research opportunities.
To those applying to the sustainability track, we invite researchers to include the following in their Vision statement: (1) CV, (2) identify which topic area above they are most interested in (as well as a 2nd preference), and (3) submit some initial ideas (on no more than a single page) about potential research questions that they believe are worth exploring within their topic of primary interest above.