Dr. Katrin Merfeld

Assistant Professor

As a sustainability marketer, I take a triple-bottom-line perspective to better understand why people do (not) engage in sustainable behavior, and how this can be changed through marketing means.My view is that sustainable behavior takes a lot more than ‘nudging’ and behavioral economics. To bring real change, I study better business models, technology enablers, and alternative modes of consumption.

One part of my work is on marketing nature with a focus on nature-based solutions – like pocket parks, green roofs, or street trees . In two European Projects – NATURESCAPES (Horizon Europe) and ClimEx-PE (Water4All NWO) – I work on improving the understanding of stakeholder perceptions of nature-based solutions and the consequent communication to increase their engagement.

The second part is working on innovations and mobility. Past projects included technology-enabled personalization in retail contexts, user innovation, autonomous driving, and blockchain technology . In this context, I’ve specifically been working on topics related to the sharing economy to better understand participation motivations.

In a similar vein, I engage with alternative modes of consumption. I’ve been working with the German World Shops for years to better understand marketing Fair Trade. Further, more recent work addresses the consumption of meat substitutes 

My teaching brings together these perspectives. I teach two Master courses: Platform Economy & Business  - where we discuss different manifestations of the platform economy, their business models, and sustainability implications – and Sustainability Marketing – where we discuss marketing perspectives to create sustainable impact. In addition to that, I serve as the program coordinator for our Master Business & Social Impact.

With my work, I offer a holistic perspective on marketing to bring permanent sustainable behavior – that is not only about fostering sales and consumption, but rather about what you make out of understanding your stakeholders better.