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For sustainable consumption

Associate Professor Jenni Sipilä used to be an avid shopper, but nowadays she doesn't enjoy shopping as much as before. In her research and teaching, she deals with sustainable and digital consumer behavior and corporate social responsibility communication.

Jenni Sipilä, doctor of science in economics and business administration, has worked as an associate professor at the LUT School of Business and Management since the beginning of March 2020. Sipilä’s position at LUT’s Lahti campus is sponsored by the local trade and industry.

Sipilä transferred to LUT from the University of Mannheim in Germany, where she was as a post-doctoral researcher. She has also worked as a visiting researcher at Stanford University in the United States.

“Business life in the Lahti area is very active. With the cooperation of companies and the strengthening of LUT University, great development will certainly be achieved – sustainably”, Sipilä says.

In Sipilä’s opinion, the entire Niemi campus – LUT University, the LAB University of Applied Sciences, the University of Helsinki and companies – is a growing and vibrant cluster of expertise.

Consumers reject gimmickry

Together with her colleagues from Germany, Sipilä conducted a study on consumer reactions to luxury companies’ corporate social responsibility engagement. Surprisingly, this engagement by luxury companies may decrease sales revenue growth and brand value growth in the long run. The finding required further investigation and the researchers selected companies such as a luxury car dealership for further scrutiny.

“Consumers today are refreshingly critical and skeptical. People may think, for example, that a luxury brand’s charitable donations are a marketing ploy and an image booster and in conflict with the dominating and exclusive values a luxury brand represents. Consumers appreciate it when luxury companies invest in their employees’ well-being instead of greenwashing.”

The research paper was published in 2020 in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, one of the world’s top 50 business journals in the Financial Times Research Rank.

Master’s thesis cooperation is worthwhile

Sipilä supervises about ten master’s theses each year and recommends this form of cooperation to companies in the Lahti area.

“The student works under my guidance for several months to produce new academic knowledge, which is also useful for the company.”

According to Sipilä, project planning between the business world and university is an excellent form of cooperation. Funding for projects can be applied for, for example, from the EU or Business Finland. Sipilä is currently involved in various projects and encourages companies to get in touch if they are interested in project cooperation with the university.