KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Project Consumer Responsibility - New Consumer Power and Morals

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Ludger Heidbrink
Collaborator: Imke Schmidt

Funded by: Stiftung Wertevolle Zukunft Hamburg

As a result of increased public awareness of the need for a sustainable global economic system, companies are increasingly confronted with demands for them to accept ecological and social responsibility.

Because consumers have become a significant and powerful factor in society, which is gaining increasing influence on market developments and business decisions, they also bear a new form of responsibility. Not only are economic investments guided in part by their decisions, product design and the consideration of social and environmental standards also depend on them.

However, in spite of an understanding of this, consumers are only governed by their sense of responsibility to a limited extent and have only developed a relatively low level of willingness to adapt their buying and consumption habits to meet social and ecological challenges.

On the basis of a secondary-analytical reconstruction of consumer behaviorbehaviour this project will study this gulf between consumer attitudes and behaviorbehaviour and examine the typical “moral consumer” by critical evaluation of market and trend research studies.
The aim of the project is to determine the factors that contribute towards the creation and promotion of a culture of consumer responsibility and to integrate these in an institutional economics model.