Track 1.15: Mature Consumer Well-Being in a Net Zero World
An aging global population has significant health and well-being public policy implications (Miller et al. 2017). In the U.S.A., it is estimated that 21% of the country’s population will be over 65 years old by 2030, compared to 13% in 2010 and 9.8% in 1970 (U.S. Census Bureau 2020). Worldwide, China, Japan, and Korea are considered the fastest aging countries, where those 65+ make up more than 30% of their populations. It is projected that by 2050, one-quarter of the population of Asia and the Pacific will be 60+ (ESCAP United Nations 2022). Also, governments around the world have recently become more vocal about negating greenhouse gas emissions associated with human activity to achieve “net zero” (UK Climate Change Committee 2019), and one of the significant challenges is how to involve the entire population in order to achieve net zero, as it requires people to fundamentally change the way they live. Instilling a net zero culture begins by changing behavior towards processes, adapting new technologies, and constantly thinking about environmental impacts (Lloyd 2021). However, most net zero behavior change research has focused on younger adults, with a limited account of the linkages between health, well-being, and the environment. Hence this track aims to identify gaps and behavior change tactics salient to both environmental and health domains to enable mature consumers to become agents of positive change in a net zero world.
Instilling positive change in attitudes and behaviors requires clarity about the links between activities that promote human health and prevent deterioration of the natural environment. For example, the mismanagement of pharmaceutical household waste and other common waste errors leads to increased carbon emissions from waste incineration or disposal in landfills leading to contamination of aquatic systems (OECD 2022). Studies find alarming levels of pharmaceutical products in the blood and tissues of fish from human wastewater (Nicoletti 2022), and microplastics in the bloodstream of 17 of 22 of participants studied (Leslie et al. 2022). Fostering greater awareness of the links between consumption as a part of a healthy lifestyle, waste, and ecological damage together with calls to action to address systemic problems could be a tipping point for instigating positive behavior change among mature consumers. Research is needed to examine how to design appropriate interventions that help people to focus on improving health and well-being for people and the planet through adopting net zero lifestyles.
One promising avenue of research is understanding how consumers are made to feel morally responsible for their consumption decisions (Shamir 2008; Giesler & Veresiu 2014), which may influence how they perceive affordances for action in the sociotechnical and natural environment (Anderson et al. 2016; Azzari et al. 2021; Go Jefferies et al. 2019). For example, very little research examines links between housing specifically built for older people, energy performance, occupant health, and economic security (Miller et al. 2017). We suggest examining how they intersect to shape pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours is important. Some research identifies links between pro-environmental behavior interventions and health (Manika et al. 2021). For example, Manika et al. (2017) investigated the benefits of employee energy saving and recycling interventions, as part of businesses’ corporate social responsibility practices for various stakeholders. A more recent study shows that recycling and energy saving actions of employees can lead to health benefits e.g., by increasing step counts (Manika et al. 2021).
In addition, there is variability of pro-environmental behaviors and uptake by older consumers. For example, older consumers often conserve more energy at home as they stay there for longer periods of time (i.e., there are higher energy consumption levels for mature consumers compared to younger counterparts), while “a national supermarket study of the food waste patterns of 5,050 UK consumers reveals nearly two-fifths of those aged over 65 say they never waste food, compared with just 17% of those under 35” (Smithers 2017). Older consumers are not drawn to fast fashion, nor counterfeit products, while they can be welcoming of certain disruptive innovations such as driverless cars (Kottasz et al. 2021). They are also more conscious of disruptions caused by over-tourism and interested in contributing to sustainable development (Szromek et al. 2019; Yannopoulou et al. 2021). More research is needed to understand mature consumers’ decision-making and behaviour relevant to achieving net zero and its potential links with health and well-being.
The track is open to academic and non-academic stakeholders who should provide information related to their interest and background in this area (including theoretical and methodological approaches they use and scientific publications on related topics, if applicable). We invite applications from junior scholars, i.e., scholars in the final stage Ph.D. students or junior faculty in the first three years post-Ph.D. As part of the track, we aim to write an academic journal paper that involves conducting a literature review and collecting primary data.
Available upon request
For queries related to this track please email: Josephine Go Jefferies; email@example.com
To apply to this track, please email a Research Vision to Josephine Go Jefferies; firstname.lastname@example.org
Track Chair Bios
Josephine Go Jefferies is Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Newcastle University Business School. Her research focuses on service innovation and social change. Her work has been published in Journal of Service Research, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Services Marketing, Marketing Theory (forthcoming), Journal of Consumer Marketing, and the Routledge Handbook of Service Research Insights and Ideas. A regular participant in TCR Conferences since 2015, she was a TCR 2021 Track 2 Chair on Family Caregiver Well-being, and is co-editing a special issue on ‘Service research in an age of crises: (Re)building sustainable services’.
Danae Manika (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) is Professor of Marketing at Brunel University London, UK. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Danae’s research focuses on effective message construction for behavior change and well-being. Her recent research has been published in Journal of Service Research, Journal of Business Ethics, Psychology and Marketing, and Tourism Management, amongst others. Danae is Associate Editor for Business and Society and the Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising; and serves on the multiple Editorial Review Boards. She is involved in various consultancies and her research has been supported by $300,000+ of external funding.
Natalia Yannopoulou is Professor of Marketing at Newcastle University Business School. Her research interests are in the areas of consumer behaviour, marketing communications and branding. She is particularly interested in the symbolic meaning of communication and the role of social media. Her research is published in journals such as Business History, Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Marketing, International Marketing Review, and International Journal of Advertising. Natalia’s work has received funding from Innovate UK, European Regional Development Fund and the British Council. Natalia also has consulting experience with The Webb Partnership, Deloitte & Touche and Citibank N.A.