Sustainable product innovation and changing consumer behavior: Sustainability affordances as triggers of adoption and usage

Jonatan Pinkse, René Bohnsack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

This conceptual paper argues that for sustainable product innovation to make a contribution to addressing sustainability issues, we need to understand not only why consumers adopt sustainable products but also what makes them use these in sustainable way. To explain how specific product features can change the ways in which consumers engage with sustainable products in the adoption and usage phase, we draw on affordance theory. Affordances refer to the potential for agentic action of users in relation to a technological object. We develop a conceptual framework that explains how sustainable product innovation can lead to the design of sustainability affordances that stimulate adoption and sustainable usage. The framework shows how three forms of agency—material, firm, and user agency—interact and together influence a product's sustainability affordances that drive adoption and a change in consumer behavior. The framework explains how trade‐offs between a product's environmental features and consumer expectations regarding desired functionalities and user experience can be overcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3120-3130
Number of pages11
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Volume30
Issue number7
Early online date10 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

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