Social movements and consumer attitudes



To address the influences of social movements such as social activists to consumer attitudes, the paper begins with a comparative examination of current energy sources and the alternative forms of energy. This analysis explores how prevailing social movements such as the social activists influence consumer attitudes, and the developments they seek in facilitation of alternative forms of energy. The analysis is based on the study of two companies: Tesla an electric car manufacturer and Solyndra a solar energy company. The analysis seeks to show what impact social movements can create on consumers to influence their attitude and how relevant the influence will be in determining consumer products. The concept of consumer influenced manufacture of eco-friendly products and the significance social movements can attain by protecting eco-friendly companies from big fossil fuel companies. The paper will also address some of the factors like government policy, oil prices, and special interest groups hindering the development of alternative forms of energy.

Social movements and consumer attitudes

Public support is an essential element social movements count on in the efforts to overcome inertia and the interests of the powerful. Social movements have a central goal in that they aim at changing the attitudes and behavior on the part of the public (Stern, Dietz, Abel, Guagnano, and Kalof, 1999). Energy concerns are particularly striking in the United States and the world at large. Increasing the proportion of the energy originating from renewable sources is a fundamental goal of regional energy policies. Wright states that public acceptance is a critical issue shaping the implementation and achievement of energy policy targets.

Energy security and climate change concerns drive significant changes in how energy gets to be generated, transmitted, and consumed. (Wright). Activists and social movements have realized that public acceptability is an essential condition for technological developments and diffusion demands understanding the views of the people. Social movements realize that developing organizational practice is that inventive industrial concepts need a nourishing and supportive setting for the early stages (Oliver, 2009). Increased awareness of environmental issues resulting from energy production has shifted the approach consumers take in dealing with various activities (Jacob and Jacob, 2012). Social movements adopted a theme of sustainability and the call for the sustainable use of the energy by corporations, consumer, and research facilities. The need for a sustainable business approach by corporations around the globe gets viewed as the overall result of the lack of consumer protection and social issues (Jacob and Jacob, 2012).

In many businesses, it is all about profit as they try to overcome customer challenges disregarding the effects they cause to the environment. The limitations between firms in the life sciences are disintegrating with new changes that haze the difference concerning research and commercial expansions (Oliver, 2009). Corporations such as Tesla Energy adopted a sustainable development approach in the production of eco-friendly products. Most corporations in the same are basing their development on fossil energy that is known to contribute profoundly to the increased carbon dioxide emissions. Due to the significant costs of operation by Tesla, social movements and environmentalists are necessary to change consumer attitude so that corporations can adopt the green approach. Jackson (2014) states that the government cannot provide corporate protection to businesses like Tesla and if people fail to do so then most green energy corporations will collapse like the Solyndra. The clean energy loan promised by the government as part of the Obamas stimulus package failed to provide the billions of dollars for environmental friendly energy (Jackson, 2014).

Activists call for renewable energy has enabled Tesla Motors to flourish past the failure stage as companies adopt solar energy strategies (Jackson, 2014). Customer contribution in utility green valuing plans and competitive market programs has augmented over the years; however, penetration rates remain low. Social movements generate new positions in shaping the markets with deliberations of market shares (Rao, 2008). Over 1.4 million users procure green energy through their efficacy or retail energy providers or even in the REC market, with the vast majority of consumers purchasing through their utility or retail electricity provider. Social movements aim at ensuring consumer concerns do not appear to be diminishing. Consumer attitude on renewable energy sources has contributed more to the sustainable development and inventions.

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Bryne, Toly and Glover (2006) state that social movements and environmental activists ability to influence consumer attitudes is the only promise for a new future; they should be united against corporate giants responsible for the devastation shaped by the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy use. Social movements through consumer attitudes and environmental activists will see renewable energy move from counter culture domains to corporate mainstay. Bryne et al. (2006) states that through social movement admittance, green energy can be understood as the mainstay of environmentalists. The duration to adopt new developments in industries is twenty nine years with a fifteen year standard deviation (Rao, 2008). Social movements have to protect industries like Tesla to ensure that the electric car is adopted by consumers in less than fifteen years to prevent collapse like in Solyndra.

Consumer attitudes influenced by social environmentalist movements shift contemporary research and development of energy technologies in state and corporate spheres (Bryne, 2006). Business sectors are adopting the development and manufacture of commercial products towards greener energy. A corporation like Tesla makes electric cars shifting from the use of fossil fuels to a greener electrical power. Wright conducted a study that indicated that consumers were less concerned about where energy gets used but more interested in the type of energy used. The study shows that though most consumers lack interest on the efficient use of the energy they are worried about the significances of energy used and are more skewed in favor of green energy. Switching over to green products and services is essential to both marketers and consumers. However, the shift to green is expensive to both the consumers and the industries. If done efficiently, it will most certainly amortize in the long run (Jacob and Jacob, 2012).

There are a number of factors hindering green energy. The government policies are rigid to change, and this rigidity is working in the favor of pollutant energy sources. The government may suggest things in the public eye, but then never implements these suggestions. Jackson (2014) indicates the failure of the Obamas stimulus package as one of the claims made by the government and the failed implementation. It is a difficult endeavor acquiring commercial scale financing from the government especially in the field of green energy projects (Jackson 2014). Bryne et al. (2006) states that social movement and environmental activism does not mean politics is bound to bend when the control of given technologies get passed from the consumer and corporations to the government.

Special interest groups are another force hindering the implementation of renewable and alternative energy. Most corporations invested heavily in the production of fossil fuel energies and a focus on alternative energy is a threat to the normal functioning of their business. In the case of Tesla, the approach to developing electric cars will affect all major motor manufacturers like the Volkswagen, Mercedes, Ferrari, and many more. Large companies find it hard to follow these fringe opportunities as they have to reorganize and dent their economies of scale (Rao, 2008). These companies seek to protect their economic positions at the expense of the community at large. Without proper government intervention and partly because of the sponsorship political candidates receive from these organizations the push for alternative energy wont get achieved.

Other significant contributors to war against alternative energy are the oil prices and products. The world today is in part controlled by the economic strength and contributions by nations. Oil exploration companies and oil-reliant organization pose considerable influence on the economic wellbeing of the nation. The economy gets affected by the stability in the oil industry and a call for alternative energy source is a threat to the oil prices and would cause adverse effects to the economy. These organization and government forces seeking to maintain the status quo in the oil and energy industries form a considerable force opposing the implementation of alternative energy.

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