The purpose of the CORE- Center for Consumer Well-being and Retail Innovation, a new knowledge and excellence center of CATÓLICA-LISBON launched in July,  is to contribute to the improvement of consumer well-being and their quality of life, as well as the prosperity of the retail sector through the development and sharing of worldwide research knowledge in consumer behavior, shopping experience, value chain optimization, promotion of food well-being, sustainable consumption and production, digitalization and marketing in retail, in a co-construction relationship with companies. At the CORE we are committed to exploring new and emerging strategies for retail consumption and innovation, providing research and consulting also based on social and environmental concerns, bringing new lights and solutions for the future development of products and retail shopping experience.

In recent years we have seen an accelerated transformation of the world and consumer behavior has changed dramatically, in a cycle of changes that is not expected to slow down in the coming years. Retail companies, whether food or not, will have to adapt and find new ways to create value by attracting and retaining consumers, and to successfully do so they must consider consumer well-being a priority, rethinking and redesigning value chains, product portfolio and purchasing experience.

Sustainability concerns have increasingly gained momentum throughout the world and sustainable consumption plays a very important role to promote sustainable development. The need for sustainable consumption and production dialogue first appeared on the international agenda in the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Although there is no consensus on a single sustainable consumption definition, one of the most accepted definition is the one developed in the 1994 Oslo Symposium, considering sustainable consumption as “the use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations.” Sustainable consumption has multiple dimensions. Those most often considered are environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and economic sustainability.

When focusing on the impacts on the environment, sustainable consumption is all about helping consumers make eco-friendly choices. Several studies have shown that there is a gap between consumers' good intentions and their actual behavior. According to the European Parliamentary Research Service, in a document issued in October 2020, this occurs since sustainability is not the only thing consumers take into consideration when choosing what to buy. Studies on the impacts of consumption show that people's income has a major influence. However, availability and convenience, habits, values, social norms and peer pressure, emotional appeal, and the feeling of making a difference are major factors to consider.

CORE Vision is to become a reference in Europe in knowledge development, learning and outreach in promoting consumer well-being and the transformation of retail, leveraging on the internationally prestigious research teams and infrastructures of CATÓLICA-LISBON, as well as on the school faculty and students, in research projects relevant to the challenges of sustainability in retail consumption and innovation. Therefore, sustainable consumption and production will be featuring at the main stage of CORE’s future research development and forum discussions, including the attribution of a “Sustainable Consumption Best Practice” yearly award. 

Have a great and impactful week!

Maria Estarreja
Executive Director
CORE - Center for Consumer Well-being and Retail Innovation 

This article refers to edition #102 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
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