Toward Sustainability: Public Policy Global Social Innovations for Base-of-the-Pyramid Markets, and Demarketing for a Better World Academic Article uri icon


  • In numerous country markets (particularly emerging and less developed markets), inadequate and/or ineffective investments in infrastructure and the resultant quantity and quality gaps in public goods (e.g., water, electricity, sanitation, public transportation) often require consumers to engage in ecologically harmful consumption behaviors that are inconsistent with their prosustainability attitudes and values. Quantity and quality gaps in public goods also have major social and economic consequences because they necessitate consumers at the base of the market pyramid to spend significant portions of their income to purchase substantially higher-priced substitute private goods. This article presents a framework of the interdependencies among public policy actions, quantity and quality gaps in public goods, abnormal demand for certain broad types of unsustainability-accentuating products (intrinsically zero demand, intrinsically lower demand, and ecologically more harmful substitute products), sustainability-facilitating consumption behaviors (consumption elimination, reduction, and redirection), and sustainability-facilitating demand effects (demand elimination, reduction, and redirection). Implications for public policy actions, global social innovations for base-of-the-pyramid markets, demarketing, and opportunities for further research are discussed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Varadarajan, R.

citation count

  • 64

complete list of authors

  • Varadarajan, Rajan

publication date

  • January 2014