ETC/WMGE 2021: Communication approaches towards consumers in a circular economy

04 Jan 2021

Evelien Dils

The currently dominating take-make-waste-repeat manner of consumption and production is threatening the substance of our planet. In an effort to escape the linear path, products are increasingly being designed and produced using circular principles. There is however still an evident gap between consumers’ stated value for preserving the environment and their willingness to act on these values through in practice – e.g. by identifying and choosing circular options or by engaging in circular practices such as repairing.
In order to change this, the active communication of circularity features along the product life cycle is a crucial tool. Leveraging psychological factors in communication, such as evoking positive emotions or reforming habits, is one promising way of nudging consumers towards buying circular products and closing the gap.

The report explores the role of psychological factors in the communication of circular product attributes during the three main life cycle stages, production & distribution, usage and end-of-life. Seven distinct product groups were analysed, differentiating between short, medium and long lifespan products due to the related varying circularity features and their corresponding communication strategies.