Consumer spending drives the economy and consumer choices steer the direction of the economy, for better or worse. The age of mass consumption, driven by rising wages and ever cheaper mass-produced goods, will have to come to an end. The environmental and social burden of mass production is not sustainable and consumers will have to opt for more sustainable, healthy and fair alternatives. In many cases, this means paying more for less stuff.
As the case of Russia showed, geopolitical tensions add another dimension to moral consumption (international cancel culture) and the list of ‘bad countries’ is likely to grow.
Some, not all, consumers have adopted ‘post-material values and ‘vote with their wallets’ as they are willing to pay a premium for products that are sourced and produced in a sustainable and fair way.
Smart(er) devices with increasing levels of autonomy will have ‘hardcoded morality’ and this will increasingly determine how we can use our devices.
Data (possibly using blockchain tech) and interfaces will allow consumers to gain insight in the footprint of their spending.
A political tendency towards an internalization of environmental and social costs into the price of goods and services.
We can understand moral consumption as part of a new secular religion that not only benefits the environment, but also the fabric of our societies. Eventually, businesses will have to comply with this trend. Either because they are forced to - through taxation or environmental and social standards - or because consumers will ignore them in the future. Recent events such as Black Lives Matters protests and the war in Ukraine have shown how consumers may also boycott brands that are behaving irresponsibly in their eyes, irrespective of whether specific products are sustainable or fair; the company itself also has to play by new societal rules.