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  1. Sustainable consumption: a self-concept perspective Jan Willem Bolderdijk Department of Marketing University of Groningen

  2. How to motivate consumers? • Current practice: • Financial incentives (energy taxes, discounts, subsidies) • Raising awareness (warnings, labels, campaigns)

  3. Assumptions • Consumers (only) act in their short-term self-interest • Campaigns should explicate monetary benefits of sustainable consumption

  4. Self-concept maintenance • People balance self-interest with self-image concerns (Mazar & Zhong, 2008)

  5. Field experiment

  6. (Bolderdijk, Steg, Geller, Lehman & Postmes, Nature Climate Change, 2012)

  7. Awareness campaigns Assumption ‘Information gap’ Information => knowledge/awareness => change Literature Cognitive dissonance Values

  8. Effect of environmental information (Bolderdijk, Gorsira, Keizer & Steg, submitted)

  9. Electric vehicles

  10. Marketing electric vehicles • Assumption: Limited uptake due to range anxiety • Strategy: Downplay/counteract functional downsides • Self-concept motive: early adopters buy EV for symbolic function • Costly-signalling (e.g. Griskevicius et al, 2010) • Functional downsides need not prohibit uptake

  11. Q1: How important are these attributes when buying an electric car?

  12. Beliefs attributes electric car Instrumental (M = 3.8, SD = 0.8) Β’s: n.s. Buying Intention .28 Environmental (M = 5.2, SD = 1.0) .29 Symbolic (M = 2.7, SD = 1.1) (Noppers, Keizer, Bolderdijk & Steg, submitted) Q2: Rate a “typical electric car” on these attributes

  13. Conclusion • Current assumptions on how to motivate consumers may be misguided • Motivation • Look beyond the usual suspects, and consider: • Self-concept • Values • Status