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Firms enabling responsible consumption: a netnographic approach

Bipul Kumar (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Indore , Indore, India)
Nikhilesh Dholakia ( University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration , Kingston, Rhode Island, USA)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 14 July 2020




This study explores enablers that firms could use to motivate consumers toward responsible consumption behavior. Completing the loop of responsible consumption – linking firms and consumers –helps firms to attain responsible consumption targets as part of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).


The study uses netnography as the qualitative research methodology.


The important enablers of responsible consumption behavior are choice editing, design intervention, addressing consumers' environmental identity, brand assurance, promoting innovation mindset and consumer empowerment – at the level of consumers and at the crosslevel of interaction between firms and consumers. Such enablers can help the firms in nudging their consumers toward responsible consumption.

Research limitations/implications

Using the lens of the expectancy–value theory of achievement motivation, this study extends the theoretical domain of responsible consumption.

Practical implications

The enablers of responsible consumption behaviors found here serve as a useful guide for the strategies to attain the SDGs.

Social implications

The SDG goal 12 of responsible consumption is the focus of this study. The entire fabric of responsible consumption is woven around anthropocentric views, and hence the findings of this study have clear social implications.


This is a first study to explore how firms can facilitate consumers to consume responsibly, to attain the SDGs. This is also one of the first studies on responsible consumption, using netnography as the research methodology. Additionally, it also extends the applicability of the expectancy–value theory of achievement motivation to the context of responsible consumption behavior.



Kumar, B. and Dholakia, N. (2020), "Firms enabling responsible consumption: a netnographic approach", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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