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EMAC 2022 Annual

Responsibility beyond the point of sale – How product stewardship forges sustainable consumption behavior

Published: May 24, 2022


Anna-Karina Schmitz, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management; Lukas Schnabl, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management; Katharina Göring-Lensing-Hebben, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management; Martin Fassnacht, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management


The concept of product stewardship emphasizes the responsibility of companies along the entire product life cycle. In this paper, we examine the company's difficulties in extending product stewardship downward their value chain to the consumption phase and explore potential measures to foster sustainable consumption behavior. For this purpose, we conducted a qualitative study with 31 semi-structured expert interviews in the consumer goods industry in German-speaking countries. Our results show that product stewardship in the consumption phase can be ensured by overcoming not only consumer-driven but also corporate-driven challenges. To facilitate sustainable consumption, companies can apply a number of consumer-, product-, and company-related measures. Our study found deviations between our identified measures and the measures discussed in the literature, thus opening future research areas.