Data that Corporations Collect about Consumer Behavior

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Updated: Jun 27, 2022
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Resource consumption is a critical factor recognized by social scientists as contributing to environmental damage and as a major threat to the sustainability of the worlds environmental systems (Brown). It’s taken a century of research and data to convince the vast majority of, even, the scientific community, that human activity can alter the climate of our entire planet (History). Now it is more evident, and efforts are being made to address climate change and to transition to a clean energy economy. Efforts will be made by, reducing overconsumption of resources in the modernization of the electric grid, promoting clean energy technology solutions, conserving, protecting and preserving state lands and waters, and preparing the residents of North Carolina for, “..more frequent and intense hurricanes, flooding, extreme temperatures, droughts, saltwater intrusion, and beach erosion..,” as stated in Executive Order No. 80, signed October 29, 2018 by our Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.

In addition, the Order suggests change and transition to a cleaner economy, whereby public-private partnerships foster market innovations and develop clean energy technology solutions (Executive). Problems arise, however, in developing ways to enable individuals to determine how his or her use of goods and services impacts the depletion of resources, so as, to maintain integrity of the resource pool. Ultimately, programs and policies aimed at reducing consumption levels must alter the decisions made by consumers (Brown). It is in this interest, and in the interest of The People, that I propose, the promotion of pro-environmental ethic, consciousness, and cooperation through the instillation of prosocial and pro environmental values at the consumer level, and in partnership with private institutions.

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I propose a framework of consumption behavior that identifies factors that influence consumption behavior and illustrates how initiatives aimed at reducing consumption levels will vary in their impact depending on the level at which they effect change (Brown). This can then be translated for use in a global/ national platform/market in which consumers can monitor the level of resource consumption or utilization at local and national levels, track the success or failure of current pro-environmental projects/efforts with the option to invest and share in these efforts, and compete with prospective/ neighboring localities. The platform itself and its promotion must be broadcast in a way that is accessible, engaging, and prevalent to all consumers, no matter their socioeconomic or sociopolitical status/position. This will actively engage all consumers, public and private, in pro social and pro environmental efforts, exacting change and accountability at the prescribed rate.

Firstly, the behavioral framework needs to integrate potential social, economic, and psychological factors that contribute to resource consumption behavior. Compiling this data will identify the role of social values in determining consumption behavior, laying the foreground for the installation of a shift in social values (Brown). A shift in social values will involve challenging the idea that consumption of material goods is a prime source of happiness, as these are the behaviors/ notions that drive overconsumption. Then, to determine consumption patterns that will be sustainable, the total amount of resources society should consume within a given timeframe will need to be clearly defined as, an individual’s share of those resources, and a clear expression of the types and quantities and cost of resources used in the production of these goods and services, to include all costs foreign and domestic.

It is important to express true cost to consumers, as this will help them to make responsible, pro environmental choices in true reflection. It is empirical that the consumer be directly involved and able to accurately compare and assess their individual impact based on their choices and efforts and the choices and efforts of individuals and private parties local or otherwise. This will assist in individual accountability. This groundwork should also define which resources should be preserved relative to the impact their depletion has on the economy, the environment, and the production and availability of goods and services to consumers. Evidence for the efficacy of such a structure and platform lies in data and institutions that are already in place and successful. Examples includes the stock market exchange, the success of advertising campaigns, and the data that corporations collect on consumer behavior that is used to determine, plan, and execute such campaigns, promotions, and sales. It will be empirical that consumers or private institutions not be asked to change by way of force/law or by proposition but by their own choosing and without a drastic change in current tradition.

Previous efforts and suggestions have been made and met with opposition. Such efforts include, taxation or other corrective measures, the restriction of access to resources by allocation of resources based on level of income, voluntary participation by consumers, and consumer boycotts. Taxation imposes a hardship that can be disproportionate and seem disciplinary in action, and so its efficacy will be minimal. For taxation to work there must be a willingness among members of society to support the regulation and necessary to pass legislative efforts. Restriction of access to resources, where resources are allocated based on an individual’s income or right to a share, again, can be disproportionate and create feelings of inequality and be a catalyst for criminal behavior. Unequal distribution of resources will therefore be ineffective. There is little evidence to support the effectiveness of a voluntary simplicity movement. This relies entirely on consumers making a conscious effort to make pro environmental and pro social choices, persuaded by advertising firms or other private institutions. These efforts have been met with little success.

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Data That Corporations Collect About Consumer Behavior. (2022, Jun 27). Retrieved from