How do we build brands with sustainability? How do we get people to choose, for example, what is good for themselves and the climate? When is it enough to offer information, and trust the consumers’ and citizens’ own choices – and when is it necessary to implement stronger regulations in the form of policies and procedures?
“A lot of trust is placed in the conscious consumer. But receiving certain information could lead to other, emotional, costs. For example, we may feel guilty or uncomfortable when we deliberately consume more calories than we should”, says Jonas Nordström, who is an associate professor of economics.
Consumers create strategies to ignore information
While politicians refer to information as a good control instrument, that can make us choose food produced with less water, less carbon dioxide emissions, better animal welfare and good working conditions for those who produce the goods, it turns out that consumers consciously create strategies to ignore this type of information.
“Strategic self-ignorance – when we choose to consciously ignore how our current behaviour affects our future self. We thereby allow ourselves to overindulge in temptations and risk behaviour, such as eating too much fast food. The consumer might gain from their ignorance and use it as an excuse to continue consuming these products.”
Replacing carbon footprints with intellectual ones
At the School of Economics and Management we work to answer the question of how we can create better conditions for sustainability, both in terms of social responsibility and with regard to the Earth’s resources. Our researchers study what works best – how we can replace carbon footprints with intellectual footprints – and provide the Government with proposals for how we should work to achieve the best and most sustainable environment.