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Preconditions for consumer power

From time to time we're faced with alarming reports claiming that we're using up resources as if we had more than one planet, and in doing so, risking the well­being of future generations and jeopardizing sensitive ecosystems.


From time to time we’re faced with alarming reports claiming that we’re using up resources as if we had more than one planet, and in doing so, risking the well­being of future generations and jeopardizing sensitive ecosystems. Various attempts has been made to present alternative ways in order to create a development which would ensure both social and ecological sustainability.

”Sustainable consumption” is a frequented term in these kinds of discussions – but what does it mean and how does it work? By recognizing the power in consumer patterns, some advocates for market solutions to the problems caused by mass consumption. If the consumers deliberately were to start chosing products that are less harmful to the climate, the downward spiral could be turned around. But is this really realistic? And if so, how does it work on micro­levels and meso­levels?

In our last Whole Earth?­event before the summer we are happy to welcome you all to a seminar with Herman Stål, Mikael Jonsson and Mattias Näsman who will discuss the preconditions for consumer power and sustainable consumption.

“Consumer demand is a strong driver for environmental degradation, and at the same time a decisive part of our contemporary lives and what we do. On the other hand, research into happiness consistently shows that more consumption does not make us happier. Hence, trying to
understand what determines consumption, and how it could be made more sustainable, is of utmost importance. In this presentation Herman Stål shortly describes RiseB: s framework, inspired by Stern (2000), that combines external (context) and internal (e.g., attitudes) factors into a model to explain consumer behavior. Herman Stål is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Umeå School of Business and Economics.

“FIAN is an international human rights organization that has advocated for the realization of the right to adequate food for more than 25 years. FIAN promotes a reformation of the global food system in line with the concept of food sovereignty, in order to achieve their vision of a world free from hunger, in which every woman, man and child can fully enjoy their human rights in dignity.” Mikael Jonsson works as project coordinator for the Swedish section of FIAN International.

“In order to define consumer power there must be some preconditions for it, if it does exist. Mattias Näsman argues that consumer power does exist but that it is hard to distinguish from general, unplanned demand and that it is not a relevant alternative to politics.” Mattias is a master student of economic history at Umeå University and has recently quit party politics to concentrate on research, and independently trying to influence public opinion on issues such as sustainability and the environment.


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25 maj, 2015 |
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