Confronting Vs. Transforming Consumerism on the Path Towards Sustainable Development

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Eugene KRITSKI , Methodology, GlobeScan Incorporated, Mississauga, ON, Canada
The high level of consumerist tendencies particularly in emerging markets pose a question whether environmentally conscious consumerism is an oxymoron. The presentation is based on a series of surveys fielded in 2012-2013 to general populations in 22 countries. The survey results enabled the mapping of consumers in the two-dimensional space defined by "Environmentalist" and "Materialist" attitudes. A large proportion of customers in each of the surveyed markets exhibits a combination of high level of environmental concerns with the passion to consume. In other words, this group is trying to reconcile their desire to shop with a sense of care for the environment and society.

This segment is identified as Aspirationals. It may serve as a factor bridging the gap between societal and environmental needs and the business interests of the corporate world. Unlike Eco-Enthusiasts with their ascetic environmentalism and reduced consumption, Aspirationals may gain gratification from sustainable purchasing and sustainable consumption. Aspirationals represent hundreds of millions of consumers globally.  They are most prominent in countries with a tradition of face consumption such as China, India and Brazil. Due to not sharing the Post-Materialist values, this segment is unlikely to become Eco-Enthusiasts in the Western sense of the word. However, sustainable purchasing might be introduced to Aspirationals as something stylish and fashionable which would add to their social status and further differentiate them from the majority.

This presentation comments on segments distribution across global regions and markets as well as on the members’ demo- and psychographics. The segments' attitudes will be causally linked to a broad range of socially and environmentally responsible behaviours, and communication patterns.