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What can make Finns smarter consumers?

With all our different backgrounds and life contexts, one thing unites us all: we want to be happy and live a good life. Motivation profiles explain what factors affect our consumer choices.


Sari Laine

Senior Lead, Nature and daily life


What is it that drives you forward? What is it that motivates you to do things? Our daily actions arise from a variety of motives which affect our choices.

One person drinks coffee in the morning to get themselves going, while another drinks it because it fills the house with a beautiful aroma. One chooses tofu and pulled oats for their dinner plate because of their love for animals, while another chooses vegetarian food because it makes them feel better. One person cycles to work so that they conveniently get their daily exercise while travelling to work, while another does the same because it is quicker and saves time. We all make our daily choices based on different motives and from different starting points.

Because Finland is committed to emission reductions and our government is encouraging us to halve our emissions, it is important to think about how we get inspired to make more sustainable everyday choices in our daily lives. Because of this, Sitra has investigated the motives underlying Finnish people’s sustainable consumer choices. The report was done in cooperation with the service design company Palmu.

As Finns, one thing unites us all: we want to be happy and live a good daily life. This can mean very different things for each one of us. As the earth’s resources dwindle and the planet’s capacity is shrinking, the goal is that we would all make smarter consumption choices.

The Smart Consumption in Finland report lists the motivational factors affecting Finnish people’s consumption choices – only one of them is environmental friendliness. In addition to our own worldview, we are also affected by various conscious or unconscious motivational factors that arise in connection with the particular consumption context: need and practicality, bringing joy to our family, saving time, long life, low-cost, quality, saving, luxury and so on, for example.

The state of the environment and environmental friendliness are primary motivating factors for around one-third of us Finns when we make consumption choices. In order to get more Finnish people enthusiastic about sustainable choices, we need to be able to justify these choices using other methods as well. If we are able to offer eco-friendly alternatives that are cheaper, that save time, that boost well-being or in some other way ease our daily lives, these alternatives will be attractive to a much wider audience.

According to the research, we Finns can be roughly divided into seven different motivation profiles. The profiles differ from each other with regards to smart consumption. The “resourceful eco-warrior” (20% of Finnish people) and the “trend-setting feelgood green” (9%) make smart choices with awareness and purpose, whereas the “traditional voice of reason” (24%) makes choices that are very smart for the environment, but does it because “it’s just the sensible thing to do”, rather than for ecological reasons. In fact, this last profile group doesn’t want things to be talked about as eco-friendly or resource-wise choices.

We Finns are practical and savvy people, and this is one of our strengths.

Motivation profiles can help with business planning. The Smart Consumption in Finland report encourages service providers and product developments from different sectors to think about the concepts, communications and emphases of the products and services they offer. We hope that this publication will help you to get a deeper hold of the daily lives of Finnish people and understand the different motives and attitudes behind decisions and choices.

  • Smart Consumption in Finland – Using motivation profiles to support business development (coming soon)

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