Typically, end users or “consumers” are perceived as adopters of sustainable products and services, developed by companies. Thus, a lot of attention is paid to the (non-) diffusion of sustainable products and services. From this perspective end users are seen as – more or less – passive recipients of sustainable products and services.
We propose to investigate the active roles of end users in shaping sustainable lifestyles and the transition to a green economy in Europe. More specifically, we suggest exploring, explaining and enhancing the role of end users in (co-) innovating novel sustainable products, services, and systems (“Sustainable Lifestyles 2.0”). Generally, there are two options: First, end users are integrated in the process of sustainability innovations driven by companies (“user integration”). Second, end users innovative for themselves, and eventually form enterprises to capture value from their sustainability innovations (“user innovation and entrepreneurship”). We argue that end user integration, innovation and entrepreneurship offer great potentials for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the upcoming years, which is largely untapped and unexplored. While acknowledging the value of company-driven sustainability innovations, we want to investigate pathways towards a sustainable society, which is more user-centred and user-driven. We aim to gain a better and broadened understanding of the active roles of end users in sustainability innovation processes with a special emphasis on the four domains food, living, mobility, and energy. These domains are responsible for the highest life cycle environmental impacts related to the final consumption, and – put together – shape sustainable lifestyles in Europe.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-IP - Large-scale integrating project