A number of studies have argued that recent technological and informational affordances have enabled a greater degree of transparency, which can in turn guide consumer behaviour towards more sustainable patterns of consumption. The present paper contributes to a better understanding of this relationship by examining whether and how different information presentation methods together with the actual content of information that is disclosed can influence consumer behaviour towards more sustainable choices. Our hypotheses are driven by construal level theory, and are tested through a series of stated choice experiments in the context of a self-developed online grocery store. Our results show that the different presentation methods influence consumers’ choices among products that vary according to their sustainability credentials: information disclosure that is presented in a combined textual and visual format vis-à-vis a purely textual format is more effective in terms of steering consumer choices away from unsustainable product choices, albeit partly effective in terms of influencing the choice of sustainable products. Moreover, we find that the above results are conditioned by the actual content of attribute information that is disclosed to consumers. We discuss the implications of our results for the literature on environmental sustainability, information transparency, consumer behaviour, and for practitioners.
Juliana Sutanto is a Professor in Information Systems at the Department of Management Science of Lancaster University Management School. Her research focuses on artefact design and behavioural analysis in digital communications and interactions; as such she subscribes herself to the design and behavioural sciences paradigms. In view of the dark sides of IS (e.g., privacy intrusion, information overload, ease of information manipulation and diffusion), she examines how user interactions with IS could lead to organizational and societal benefits. She won INFORMS ISS Design Science Award in 2013 for an empirical work on privacy-safe personalized offering, Literati Award for Excellence in 2014 for a conceptual work on mobile social networking application, Best Reviewer Award for Journal of the Association for Information Systems in 2015, and Best Reviewer Award for MIS Quarterly in 2016. Her research work has been published in leading information systems journals such as MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research, as well as in leading general management journal such as Management Science. She is currently an Associate Editor in MIS Quarterly.