A consumer-focused design approach for businesses to leverage sustainable consumption
thesisposted on 17.05.2013 by Maria A. Moreno
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
Increasing economic, social and environmental problems around the world have shown that current models of economic development cannot be sustained. Thus, new patterns of consumption are needed. According to the literature, global companies are well placed to attempt leveraging sustainable consumption, as their production lines; supply chains; products and services extend across many continents, and as such the cumulative effect of their actions are wide reaching. This research sets out to better understand the intertwined factors that companies in two different contexts (Mexico and the UK), need to consider in order to leverage sustainable consumption. Through the literature review it was seen that sustainable consumption requires a multitude of changes, which have to occur at a systems level. In response to this, user-centred design (UCD) principles were seen as a valuable approach to give a broader account of the complexities around consumption and consumer's behaviour that could be communicated to higher management. A series of interviews, a focus group and a document analysis was undertaken to collect qualitative data. The findings led to the construction of a theoretical framework supported by UCD principles. The theoretical framework was then translated into the Sustainable Consumption Leveraging (SCL) Model and its toolkit. The SCL Model is a mechanism that takes into account the interaction of elements in a specific business context to identify areas of opportunity to leverage sustainable consumption through a consumer-focused approach. During a series of workshops, the SCL Model and its toolkit were tested to distinguish further opportunities of improvement and to understand where global companies stand with regards leveraging sustainable consumption. The research concludes by saying that companies need to work in collaboration with other actors to build a strong sustainability and innovation strategy that could help them to find new ways of doing business that can enhance more sustainable lifestyles.
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