Digital platforms are powerful, and they are being criticized for driving fake news, hate speech, and being a haven for 'surveillance capitalism'. However, a blind spot in the platform debate has been the ecological impact of platforms on our daily lives. Platforms and online commerce are increasingly shaping our private consumption and are thus becoming an important lever for climate, environmental and resource protection in everyday life. Advertising-financed business models and the commercial growth logic of companies are turning social media platforms, search engines and online stores into consumption drivers, without regard for climate protection and resource consumption.
Against this background, the Wuppertal Institute has commissioned ConPolicy with a research project as part of the CO:DINA research guideline 'Digital-ecological statecraft'. The aim of this project is to investigate how the existing system design of platforms affects consumer interests and societal interests. On the one hand, it will be clarified which concerns already exist with regard to consumer protection, and on the other hand, how sustainable consumption can be promoted by strengthening consumer protection. Based on the findings, political approaches will be developed on how platforms can be made more sustainable and consumer-friendly.
Further information on the project can be found here.