AI and Ethical Consumerism Among Young Consumers


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In tandem with the development of technologies, the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and youth-driven ethical consumerism has emerged as a domain that has gained increased attention among scholars (Hassan et al, 2022). With the younger generation of consumers assuming a more affluent role in shaping consumer patterns, their engagement with AI technologies and the consequential impact on ethical consumer behaviour raise important questions worth investigating. 

Ethical consumerism is the idea that one’s consumption pattern impacts the world and that consumers want an alignment between those impacts and their values. In other words, it is about understanding the footprint of the products customers consume, how they are made, and how they will be disposed of. Therefore, ethical consumption acts as a conduit allowing young consumers to take responsibility and engage in more sustainable behaviours (Thompson & Coskuner-Balli, 2007). The act of responsibilities include using their consumption choices to express underlying moral values, refraining from purchasing products from socially or environmentally irresponsible companies or opposing the exploitation of poor producers by boycotting corresponding goods (Yeow et al., 2014). To this end, research has demonstrated that young consumers expect businesses to be more transparent in their production of goods and services (Le et al., 2021), to reduce exploitation labour (Koos, 2021), pay minimum wages (Degli and Faillo, 2022), and fulfil their roles as corporate citizens contributing to social and environmental development (Tal et al., 2022). However, despite this growing popularity in research, little has been focused on AI's influence on ethical consumerism among young consumers (Djafarova and Foots, 2022). 

Therefore, this call for papers goes beyond the study of how AI enhances young consumer experiences. We want to better understand how AI, in various ways, influence young consumers’ engagement with environmental, social and governance problems. AI can influence young consumers’ ethical behavior by prompting them to consider the ethical dimensions of their consumption. AI can also pressure young consumers to adopt more ethical practices by highlighting the ethical implications of their choices and enabling them to take actions that address social and environmental issues. For instance, the “Microvist skill” encourages users to make small, positive changes for the planet through engaging challenges. As certain responsibilities are delegated to AI, it has the potential to diminish young consumers’ ethical awareness and agency. For instance, AI can provide tailored content based on users’ preferences that, in the process, potentially reinforce biases and restrict exposure to contrasting opinions. This selective presentation of information can contribute to a diminished awareness of ethical considerations and narrow young consumers’ worldviews. 

Based on the above, this special issue aims to explore the integration of AI into the sustainable consumption practices of young consumers. It seeks to address questions regarding the role of AI in facilitating sustainable consumer behaviour among the youth. Specifically, the issue aims to investigate the perceptions, expectations, and visions of young consumers regarding AI's social and environmental impacts. Additionally, the issue delves into whether AI has the potential to address the limitations of ethical agency among young consumers and contribute to more effective solutions in this context. 

List of Topic Areas

  • Protecting vulnerable young consumers in the age of AI. 
  • Unethical young consumer behaviour influenced by AI. 
  • Effects of AI-based technologies and applications in shaping responsible young consumers. 
  • Influence of ethical intelligent agents on young consumers. 
  • Role of young consumers in creating more ethical AI. 
  • Cultural and regional issues to ethical AI design for young consumers. 
  • Ethical AI considerations for organisations with young consumers as stakeholders. 
  • AI governance frameworks for young consumers. 
  • Impact of AI on young consumer lifestyles and sustainable consumption.  
  • Implications of AI on the ethical well-being of young consumers. 
  • AI and inclusivity for young consumers in the context of ethical consumerism 
  • AI divide: Ethical consumerism disparities in AI access, knowledge, and impact in the Global South in comparison to Global North/Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) countries for young consumers. 
  • Audience engagement and personalization: Investigating AI-driven strategies for audience engagement, content personalization in ethical consumerism for young consumers. 

We welcome case studies, conceptual and empirical studies that address any of these questions or other original research questions relevant to the objectives of this call. We also encourage submissions that offer both theoretical and practical implications. 

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 11/03/2024 
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31/08/2024

Guest Editors

Dr Tan Kim-Lim, James Cook University Singapore, [email protected]
Dr Nurhafihz Noor, James Cook University Singapore, [email protected]
Dr Manisha Agarwal, James Cook University Singapore, [email protected]


Djafarova, E., & Foots, S. (2022). Exploring ethical consumption of generation Z: theory of planned behaviour. Young Consumers, 23(3), 413–431. 
Degli Antoni, G., & Faillo, M. (2022). Ethical consumerism and wage levels: Evidence from an experimental market. Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility (Print), 31(3), 875–887. 
Hassan, S. M., Rahman, Z., & Paul, J. (2022). Consumer ethics: A review and research agenda. Psychology & Marketing, 39(1), 111–130. 
Koos, S. (2021). Moralising Markets, Marketizing Morality. The Fair Trade Movement, Product Labeling and the Emergence of Ethical Consumerism in Europe. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 33(2), 168–192. 
Le Grand, J., Roberts, J., & Chandra, G. (2021). Buying for good: Altruism, ethical consumerism and social policy. Social Policy & Administration, 55(7), 1341–1355. 
Tal, A., Gvili, Y., & Amar, M. (2022). The influence of companies’ moral associations on the product consumption experience: The role of moral disgust. Psychology & Marketing, 39(10), 1871–1887. 
Thompson, C. J., & Coskuner-Balli, G. (2007). Enchanting Ethical Consumerism: The case of Community Supported Agriculture. Journal of Consumer Culture, 7(3), 275–303. 
Yeow, P., Dean, A., & Tucker, D. (2014). Bags for Life: The Embedding of Ethical Consumerism. Journal of Business Ethics, 125(1), 87–99.