1 Business and Environment, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Marketing and Sustainability, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University5 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Which role for information?
At least since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio there has been wide agree-ment that the hope for a sustainable society rests on the attainment of radi-cal changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles, especially in the rich countries of the World (Sitarz, 1994). Changes to a more sustainable life-style are not easily achieved, however. In a report issued by United Na-tions Secretary-General Kofi Annan in preparation for the Johannesburg Summit it was concluded that "Progress towards the goals established at Rio has been slower than anticipated and in some respects conditions are worse than they were ten years ago." It continues to be true that a funda-mental requirement for success in this endeavour is consumers' active support and willing participation (Norwegian Ministry of Environment, 1994). Information is an important tool in this connection. Not only for marshalling public support for the environmental cause, but for facilitating environmentally responsible behaviour in many specific ways. Research dealing with the diverse roles of information in the environmental field shows a need to distinguish between different forms and objectives of information, but also, it needs to be stressed, that information alone is usually not sufficient to change behaviour (Stern, 1999). My aim here is to present a broad-brush overview of some of the most important roles that information has been found to play as a tool for pro-moting environmentally responsible consumer behaviour. Because this publication is mainly directed at economists, I start with the importance of information for getting the full potential out of economic instruments. However, my main emphasis is on the importance of information for cre-ating and facilitating consumers' willing participation in solving envi-ronmental problems that are in some way related to their behaviour as consumers. Information may be even more important for furthering other important types of behaviour, such as voter behaviour or activist behav-iour, but these issues are outside the limits of this chapter
Environment, Information and Consumer Behaviour, 2005