CLIMACT seminar series

3rd CLIMACT seminar series - Episode #5


Nov 28, 2022


11:00 - 12:15

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3rd CLIMACT seminar series - Episode #5

Degrowth and socio-economic transformations: barriers and ways forward

The presentation will define the concept of degrowth, explain why it is necessary and desirable. It will then discuss the main obstacles to degrowth as well as strategies for bringing about socio-economic transformations supporting a degrowth transition towards a post-growth society.

Pierre Kohler
Pierre Kohler

Member of Degrowth Switzerland

Pierre Kohler is a member of Degrowth Switzerland. He studied international relations in Geneva and received a PhD in international economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2012. He has been working as an economist for the United Nations in various positions since 2008, first at UNECE, UNDESA and now UNCTAD. He also has a Swiss teaching diploma but is currently not active as a teacher.

Why consumers not always walk their talk – Discussing reasons behind selective sustainable behavior

Sustainability has arrived in the middle of society. More and more consumers try to be sustainable and consider sustainability as an important purchasing criterion. While the increased awareness is a positive trend, sustainable behavior does not translate into all areas of living/consumption. This resonates with the ongoing challenge of the so-called Attitude-Behavior Gap.

Despite its social and environmental relevance, sustainability is oftentimes limited to selected areas of life. While it is easy for us to be sustainable in some areas (e.g. food) and we are even willing to pay a premium price for the sustainable product, we find it more difficult to walk the talk in other areas (e.g. consumer electronics, travel.

The presentation aims to spark the discussion about how consumers make consumption choices and what role sustainability plays in various decisions. Considering that the consumption of products/services can offer multiple forms of value to the consumer (e.g. economic, social, hedonic, altruistic, etc.), one could approach the topic from a net-benefit point of view. When making decisions, we usually choose the option that promises the greatest benefit (e.g economic, social, hedonic, altruistic, etc.). Notwithstanding a consumer’s general attitude towards sustainability, the importance he/she ascribes to sustainability in different consumption situations might vary. This understanding is important for companies offering sustainable alternatives as it demonstrates that emphasizing sustainable features might be beneficial in some domains, while this approach might fail in other domains.  

Pia Furchheim
Dr. Pia Furchheim


Dr. Pia Furchheim is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute of Marketing Management at ZHAW, Switzerland. Dr. Furchheim has a strong background in experimental and survey design. She is deputy manager of the executive program “Behavioral Insights in Marketing” which combines the topics of behavioral economics, consumer psychology and marketing. Her research expertise lies in the area of transformative consumer research, in particular sustainable consumption and potential value/goal conflicts that might emerge. She studies different aspects of sustainable consumption. In particular, she focused on the consequences that arise from various conflicts both on an individual level (such as lower degrees of well-being) but also on a societal level (such as higher environmental footprint). Newer research projects investigate the question how products lose their value in the eyes of consumers and how that impacts their tendency to replace them with newer versions. Another research project looks into eating goal conflicts in the context of meat reduction. Her research has appeared in outlets such as Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Service Management, Sustainability, and Psychology and Marketing. She is co-founder of a sustainability lab at ZHAW which aims to help companies to become more sustainable.

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