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How can we shift consumer behavior to encourage more sustainable practices?

I've seen a number of startup companies that are looking at the consumer behavior aspect and that instant gratification mindset. They’re trying to gamify it by giving the consumer choices that might change their behavior. For example, at eBay, we had this competition from our sustainability team. All these different groups came together to create a sustainable shipping box. The idea was that it ships out with a tag on it. If you reuse it, that tag gives you credit, which can change someone’s behavior. From the infrastructure side, the reason I wanted to get a baseline together is that when we know there are seven million locations, we know that they consume 594 terawatt hours of energy. We know what that energy is from—each of the real estate addresses for those locations can be reported. Imagine if you then set the consumer behavior like Netflix; instead of deciding, “I only want to watch this,” I'll opt in on the sustainability side, which means it will route through the data center locations that are renewable. Then there's packet tagging all the way through. There's a technology aspect of it. It’s interesting consumer behavior. And you can get them engaged in that way but you have to gamify it so that they get something out of it.

Anonymous Author
I've seen a number of startup companies that are looking at the consumer behavior aspect and that instant gratification mindset. They’re trying to gamify it by giving the consumer choices that might change their behavior. For example, at eBay, we had this competition from our sustainability team. All these different groups came together to create a sustainable shipping box. The idea was that it ships out with a tag on it. If you reuse it, that tag gives you credit, which can change someone’s behavior. From the infrastructure side, the reason I wanted to get a baseline together is that when we know there are seven million locations, we know that they consume 594 terawatt hours of energy. We know what that energy is from—each of the real estate addresses for those locations can be reported. Imagine if you then set the consumer behavior like Netflix; instead of deciding, “I only want to watch this,” I'll opt in on the sustainability side, which means it will route through the data center locations that are renewable. Then there's packet tagging all the way through. There's a technology aspect of it. It’s interesting consumer behavior. And you can get them engaged in that way but you have to gamify it so that they get something out of it.
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Anonymous Author
I was watching a documentary on how many million tons of packaging waste is produced by Amazon every year, which isn’t responsibly recycled or disposed of. It’s so much cardboard, so why can't they recycle that stuff at some point? The big shift will have to happen where rubber meets the road, when it starts impacting the consumers. Maybe then Amazon will be bold enough to say, "Sorry we're going to discontinue that offering." But right now they are not. A consumer behavior shift has to happen, and they have to drive that. There’s a company called Restalk that does responsible pulping and packaging, so there are interesting alternatives. But until there are changes in the corporate lust for acquiring customers and the consumer's demand for instant gratification, things won’t change. We can make sustainable changes on the compute side, but that will still be a small part of the puzzle in the grand scheme of things.
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