According to the United Nations (Hoballah & Averous, 2015), sustainable consumption is an integral part in ensuring that human actions stay within our planet’s capacity and therefore in considering the living conditions of future generations as well. As consumers, our individual buying-decisions can help fasten sustainable development in various industries making it an interesting research topic for us. Our first blog post series will summarize our research regarding quality seals, clean labels and product packaging design in the field of sustainability as well as the consumers‘ perceptions of such. Ultimately, we want to know, whether consumers accept and use quality seals in the purchase decisions. Further, we will outline implications for companies. While doing so, we will recap studies and their results in relation to each topic.
On October 8, 2022, mobility and acceptance researcher Prof. Dr. Patrick Planing presented his TED talk at the Liederhalle Stuttgart focusing on the question who decides which innovations humans will accept and use in the future.
Is it really strategists, inventors, founders and CEOs who tell us what our mobility will look like in 10 or 20 years? Or do we as consumers have more influence on the future than we might realize? Answers to these questions can be found in the following video.
Innovations in the area of mobility often take years, sometimes decades, to become reality. Developing technologies over such long time spans is a risk, since it is unclear whether the public will accept the new technology, once available. This raises the question whether it is possible to evaluate the acceptance of a technology, which cannot yet be tested under real live conditions. Industry and researchers have come up with different solutions to this challenge, using descriptions, sometimes pictures and increasingly also videos and virtual reality demonstrations of the new technology.
Stella-sharing is a mobility offer by Stadtwerke Stuttgart. The sharing service offers e-vespas that are powered fully electric. In the industrial park Synergiepark Stuttgart there is an intention to make mobility more sustainable. Shared e-vespas could be a sustainable alternative with a low investement for commuters traveling to the Synergiepark.
The Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) has been providing mobility services in public transport in Stuttgart and the surrounding area for over 150 years. The goal of the SSB is to fulfill its tasks as customer-friendly as possible and thus to gain additional passengers – especially with a view to air pollution control. As an important step to increase the attractiveness of public transport in Stuttgart, the so-called polygo app is now to be developed. The polygo app is intended to become a user-friendly information and booking platform which offers access to multi-modal mobility offers in Stuttgart and the region. Mobility services offered by SSB FLEX, as well as bicycle rental, carsharing and e-scooter providers are to be integrated in the app.
Citizen participation is a major driver of democratic and socio-economic development, as well as a key method of citizen empowerment (NDI, 2021). Involving citizens in urban planning processes can help create a sense of community, generate valuable ideas, and increase acceptance of planning proposals (OECD, 2019). Facilitating citizen participation may help achieve these positive outcomes.
Kesselkompass3 – Inform, Involve, Cooperate – is an innovative 3D platform that enables citizen participation processes to take place online. The platform, developed by M4_LAB, offers a variety of tools and information to connect urban planners and citizens. On the platform itself, there is a 3D map of Stuttgart which offers several interactions especially for citizens but also planners. In addition, participation projects that have already been completed or are still in planning are presented. The platform has already been used by more than 600 citizens in previous projects and will now be further developed.
Riding a bicycle is environmentally friendly and good for your health – so it’s no wonder that 64% of Germans own a bicycle (Statista, 2021a). The number of bicycles in Germany last year was higher than ever before at around 79.1 million (Statista, 2021b). However, if you don’t own a bike, or don’t have it with you at the moment, many German cities offer the option of renting one. So-called bike-sharing systems have become increasingly popular in recent years. In the city of Berlin, for example, there are more than 15,000 rental bikes (Technologiestiftung Berlin, 2019).
I am sure many of you know this situation: Before using public transportation, you are wondering which ticket you need, how many zones your trip includes or which tariff you must pay (or which ticket is the cheapest alternative). These questions demonstrate that using public transportation in Baden-Württemberg is complicated, which diminishes the attractiveness and, thus, acceptance of public transportation. To support the transition to more sustainable mobility, a change in mobility behaviour is needed. Since facilitating the use of public transport is an important requirement of many people for using it (ADAC e. V., 2017), great attention should be paid to this aspect. Therefore, Baden-Württemberg started a project called CICO-BW. It involves the introduction of app-based e-ticketing with a check-in/check-out system and a daily best price guarantee.
The modern world of consumption is characterized by the steadily growing e-commerce sector and a large variety of shops, brands and providers. According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office (2019), 84% of Germans have already ordered something online and almost a third of users make at least one online purchase per week (Statista, 2019). These numbers have grown since the pandemic, as 36% of Germans indicate that they now purchase more products online (Bitkom, 2020). In order to make the right purchase decision in this unmanageable variety of offers, consumers are increasingly orienting themselves towards recommendations from other customers who have already bought a product and who share their experiences with other users (Lis & Korchmar, 2013). While in the past buyers were mainly influenced by advertising and personal sales advice, studies have shown that today many consumers not only proactively seek digital recommendations, but also prefer them over traditional information sources (Bickart & Schindler, 2001; Heckathorne, 2010; Mourali et al., 2005). This digital communication between consumers is known as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) and the most relevant form are online product reviews (Lis & Korchmar, 2013).