Project funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear SafetyMaking sustainable online consumption easy by means of artificial intelligence

Project period: 
March 2020 – July 2020

Funding agency:
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Project partner: 
Fraunhofer IAO, Center for Responsible Research and Innovation 

The Internet has an important role in promoting sustainable consumption in two respects: firstly, the vast majority of consumers use the Internet to obtain information about products and services; secondly, more and more consumers are buying products online. Search engine providers, comparison portals and online shops play a central role as "information brokers" and "gatekeepers" between consumers and producers to promote sustainable consumption. Despite the central importance of information regarding sustainability on the internet, these opportunities have so far hardly been used by providers.

Against this background, ConPolicy and Fraunhofer IAO were commissioned with this project by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The joint project "Development of an innovative concept for the promotion of AI-supported sustainable (online) consumer behavior under consideration of supplier and consumer perspectives" (FKZ: 67KI1009A) aimed to develop an innovative concept to promote sustainable consumption in search engines, comparison portals and online shops. Data-driven technologies and artificial intelligence play a key role in making sustainable consumption as easy as possible. The key levers include, for example, algorithms for search queries and product suggestions, energy efficiency, eco-labels or filter settings for "green" products (green by default). In order to actively offer sustainable product alternatives to consumers, knowledge-based systems and methods of pattern analysis and recognition were to be used.

Business and consumer perspectives were systematically brought together in this project. In order to integrate the business perspective, Google Germany, Idealo, Otto Group, Avocado Store and the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V. participated in the project as practice partners.

ConPolicy was responsible for the following work packages in this project:

  • In one work package, the current state of research on sustainable online consumption was reviewed.
  • In a further work package ConPolicy was responsible for the quantitative, representative consumer survey to test the ideas developed. 

In addition, ConPolicy was involved in the implementation of workshops with partners from the business community to develop innovative ideas for promoting sustainable consumption in an online context.

The joint project was part of the funding programme "AI Lighthouses for Environment, Climate, Nature and Resources" with the funding priority "Line 1: Call for Participation 'AI for Environmental Protection' ". Further information on the funding guidelines and background information can be found on the website of the BMU or on the website of ZUG.

Project of

Managing Director

+49 (0)30 2359116-11

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-13

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-18