Eco-Economy: New Stakeholder Relationships

Having covered so much about the various crowdsourcing modes, the whole idea behind environmentally sustainable ways and more, this post is my attempt to see things from a real world context. In the real world, I have observed many crowdsourcers who engage in crowdsourcing for environmental sustainability. They adopt various crowdsourcing modes I discussed earlier: Crowd contest, crowdfunding, open collaboration and virtual labor markets. Interestingly, I was trying to figure how crowdsourcers can be differentiated. There are distinct difference between crowdsourcers such as their agenda, degree of influence, scale of projects and mode of communication.

Thinking back to my business modules, we could classify these crowdsourcers into 3 categories: individuals, companies and governments [1].

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.14.26 am.png

Diagram from: Joost G. Vogtländer Life Cycle Assessment: 3 Stakeholders

This life cycle assessment is commonly used in companies to assess if their products have heavy environmental burden [3]. The 3 stakeholder theory is used for the assessment as is shows that creation of green products and methods is both a technology push (creation of greener products because of tech improvements) and a demand pull (creation of green products because people desire it) [1].

3 Stakeholders: 

  1. Citizens receive direct impact from pollution and other negative externalities. As such, they demand the government to impose regulations on companies and also for sustainable policies.
  2. Companies have to meet regulations in order to compete and have to constantly change their marketing. Today, there have been growing expectations for greater transparency even among consumers [4].
  3. Government manages the ties between companies and societies.

I find that this model does portray the 3 main stakeholders but misses out the change in the relationship between the 3 actors. Originally, the road to sustainability was dependent on stakeholder relationships: if the citizens wanted for more green movements, they had to propose it to the government to create policies for that. However, I feel that crowdsourcing has allowed a change in the partnership model. According to Haas, new partnerships between the 3 stakeholders have created an innovative form of governance that addresses various deficits such as implementation and participation deficit [2].

As such, I have added many more arrows into this new relationship between various stakeholders. The original relationship of marketing, policy and regulations have been kept in the diagram (namely: orange arrow “increase profit”, brown arrow “pressure for sustainability” and purple arrow “pressure through regulations”). The black dotted arrows have also been included to represent that each stakeholder has its own inclination to be more environmentally sustainable. Naturally, companies become more efficient and technologically advanced, governments are smarter and have greater foresight and citizens are more aware and environmentally conscious.

1.png

What is different here and interesting to note is the additional arrows:

  • Orange arrow: Consumers are now brainstorming for companies to create products that better suit their demand. The implementation of these ideas can cut down on a lot of developmental waste where overproduction of undesirable good happen. Market researchers, advertising departments and more are now use crowdsourcing to improve their marketing techniques[5].
  • Blue arrow: Early, I mentioned Haas’s concept of citizen participation deficit. Right now, governments are turning to appeal for the participation of citizens- creating a movement where there is governance from the bottom [2].
  • Red arrow: Individuals are growing more conscious when it comes to consumption. Studies have shown the increase in citizens being more concern about ethical and environmentally friendly production[6]. As such, there have been projects that sprung out of personal desire to create more environmentally sustainable spaces.

Crowdsourcing has given each actor an additional platform to work towards environmental sustainability. I feel it is really interesting how advanced crowdsourcing sites can give even the smallest individual (e.g. an average housewife) a degree of empowerment! As long as the individual (1) knows the means of communicating their cause, (2) is willing to adopt the crowdsourcing site and (3) communicates the cause effectively to the right audience, he/she can gain additional help that is beyond traditional ties (e.g. friendships and family ties). Companies and governments too need to explore the potential such sites hold for them as well. In future posts, I hope to explore how crowdsourcing has been for all these actors and if crowdsourcing is really that positive a route to take for everyone.

Stay tuned!
– Corinne


Citations

[1] TUDelft. (n.d.). EVR model: General – 3 Stakeholders Model. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.ecocostsvalue.com/EVR/model/theory/subject/1-general.html

[2] Haas P. (2004). Addressing the global governance deficit. Global Environmental Politics 4(4): 1–15

[3] Klöpffer, W. (1997). Life cycle assessment. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 4(4), 223-228.

[4] Schatsky, D. (2011, May 17). Companies adopt life cycle assessment to improve sustainability. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/life-cycle-assessment-sustainability

[5] Whitla, P. (2009). Crowdsourcing and its application in marketing activities.Contemporary Management Research, 5(1).

[6] Butler, S. (2013, August 19). Ethical shopping growing in popularity, survey suggests. Retrieved February 2, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/aug/19/ethical-shopping-growing-popularity-fairtrade

 

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