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Study: Generational Responsibility in Consumption

22 March 2021 | By: Katja Friedrichs , Research Assistant Social Business

Mrdjan Milićev Mladjan and his co-author Dušan Zvonkov Marković (University of Belgrade) propose a new and more sustainable concept of consumption in their recently published paper “Generational Responsibility in Consumption as a Response to Global Economic Crises”.

The rise of Asian and the stagnation of Western middle classes over the last thirty years have resulted in gradual convergence of income of large parts of the world’s population. Recent global crises—the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic—have led to a decline in income and increase in income uncertainty. Rise in consumption of lower quality goods of shorter durability and an overall decline in demand and economic activity resulted as challenges to the global economy.

In this paper, Mrdjan Milićev Mladjan and his co-author Dušan Zvonkov Marković argue that generational responsibility in consumption can be an environmentally sustainable response to crises which enables the economies to overcome the crisis of confidence and reaffirms community ties. As an element of long-term orientation in consumption, generational responsibility is a cultural phenomenon dependent on solidarity within family and the wider community. It is characterized by consideration of consequences of consumption choices on the environment, and the abundance of savings and the usability of goods to be inherited by future generations.

For companies, willing to revisit their traditional business models and incorporate principles of sustainability in their competitive strategies, promotion of generational responsibility can become a new source of competitive advantage and a driver of economic recovery.

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Katja Friedrichs

Research Assistant Social Business

Social Business and Social Entrepreneurship

+49 611 7102 1437