Sustainable Consumption Conference 2011


The topics of the conference were:

1. Determinants of consumer behaviour

Key questions: What are the key psychological, socio-cultural, economic and physical factors that influence consumer behaviour? Which conditions facilitate or inhibit sustainable consumption? What motivates sustainable consumer behaviour (e.g. Why do people buy fair-trade products? What trade-offs are made between product attributes)?

2. Steering consumer behaviour

Key questions: What are the most promising ways to promote the transformation of consumption patterns towards sustainability? Which designs and mixes of policy instruments are effective? How can new consumer roles (e.g. change agents, lead users, prosumers) lead to more sustainable consumption?

3. Effects and evaluation of consumption patterns

Key questions: What are the social, cultural, institutional, ecological and economic impacts of different consumption patterns in different fields of consumption, and how can they be assessed? What can modified consumer behaviour patterns contribute to a sustainable development of society?

4. Theoretical and methodological issues of research on sustainable consumption

Key questions: What are adequate theoretical and methodological research approaches to gain solid knowledge on sustainable consumption? What is the added value of particular mixes of qualitative and quantitative methods? In what ways do different action theories apply to different phenomena of consumer behaviour? What are the special challenges of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in the field of sustainable consumption?

5. Conceptual and normative issues related to sustainable consumption

Key questions: What theory of needs and/or of good life is especially forward-looking and promising for the field of sustainable consumption? What type of consumption can be referred to as “sustainable”? What criteria must be used to assess the level of sustainability of consumption and consumer behaviour? What issues about responsibility and justice are raised in the context of sustainable consumption?

6. Gender issues in connection with sustainable consumption

Key questions: How are gender relations and sustainable consumption linked to each other? What is the relevance of these links, especially for the design of interventions aiming to promote sustainable consumption? Are there gender-related responsibilities for different types of consumption activities (e.g. investments vs. daily shopping)? Are there gender-specific responses to intervention strategies?

7. "Do households save electricity through feedback based on Smart Metering systems?" (thematic symposium)

Based on the findings of different Smart Metering research projects in different countries, the goal is to draw conclusions about the lessons learned and to analyse the need for further research. For more about the thematic symposium, download the flyer (PDF).

8. "Interactive value creation, participation and open innovation - drivers towards sustainable consumption?" (thematic symposium)

Do lead users in open innovation projects on consumption generate sustainable products? Do processes of interactive value creation increase the success, i.e. diffusion, of sustainable goods and services?
Contact information

SÖF-Konsum-BF, Research Group Inter-/Transdisciplinarity

University of Basel
Program Man-Society-Environment (MGU)
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel