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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010249

At Home with Sustainability: From Green Default Rules to Sustainable Consumption

Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Dalgas Have 15, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Received: 26 October 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract

Although it is often assumed that default rules affect change without awareness, this paper suggests that contrast with the default and transition into conscious adoption of the default design may be the starting point to establish long-term changes in consumer behavior. Despite the rooting of default rules in subconscious decision-making, this research finds that, ultimately, awareness drives the demand necessary for the creation of sustainable consumption. Whereas direct appeal to individuals has a disappointing level of influence on sustainability choices, it is understood that green consumers do come from somewhere. Green default rules offer interesting prospects for sidestepping the drawbacks of direct marketing to individuals. Under green default rules, behavior is guided by a default, such as utilities automatically sending customers renewables-sourced instead of fossil-fuel-based energy. To act otherwise requires additional effort and is less likely. Motivated by a need to understand how defaults might bridge standards and sustainable consumption, I investigate how organizational processes potentially lead from standardized green default rules to individual awareness that can spread and facilitate sustainable consumption. This paper examines the Active House sustainable building demonstrations in Europe in order to understand how (1) communications and market creation and (2) responsible, user-centered experimentation are organized to move from defaults to sustainable consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: green default rules; sustainable consumption; sustainable building; standardization; smart home; default bias; automation green default rules; sustainable consumption; sustainable building; standardization; smart home; default bias; automation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Hale, L.A. At Home with Sustainability: From Green Default Rules to Sustainable Consumption. Sustainability 2018, 10, 249.

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