Switzerland

CLEVER

Test your shopping intelligence – interactive exhibition demonstrates the consequences of consumer behaviour

The range of products available in supermarkets is vast. Food products are often on display throughout the year irrespective of the season. Goods are imported from all over the world. In addition, we now have a flood of labels advertising sustainable, environmentally responsible and fair trade products, making it almost impossible to keep track of them all. The exciting, interactive exhibition CLEVER, visitors learn how to act responsibly towards nature, the environment and fellow human beings when making their everyday purchases. CLEVER demonstrates the relationship between individual consumer behaviour and its environmental and social impact.

The exhibition is laid out like a small supermarket with shopping baskets stacked at the entrance and a checkout at the exit. The products displayed are rated on the basis of six criteria:

  • climate
  • pollution
  • livelihood
  • social responsibility
  • biodiversity
  • use of resources.

At the checkout, visitors are given a personal receipt showing their purchases. It takes the form of a spider chart that documents whether individual choices are particularly good or possibly bad.

Since 2011, CLEVER has been available as a mobile exhibition visiting locations in German-speaking parts of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Since the summer of 2015, it can also be found online.

Multi-generational and multi-cultural: CLEVER concerns all of us: Teacher Simone Strebel with two secondary-aged pupils from Pfaffechappe Baden.

Objectives

To demonstrate the notional cost of our purchases on both humans and the environment and so encourage people in Switzerland to shop in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Relevance

Using concrete examples, visitors learn how the goods they buy can encourage environmentally and socially sustainable development throughout the world. The evaluation of choices is easy to understand and clearly shows that individual consumer behaviour can influence our environment and our society. By demonstrating the specific added value of sustainable products, it puts into context their normally somewhat higher shelf price making it easier to understand why the product is more expensive.

Beneficiaries

By the end of 2015, 36,419 people had visited CLEVER but in the final analysis we all benefit – from CLEVER – only with environmentally friendly and socially responsible consumer behaviour can we ensure worthwhile lives for future generations.

Opening of exhibition at Plantahof in Landquart: Barbara Bättig (Plantahof Manager), Renzo Blumenthal (organic farmer and Mister Switzerland 2005) and Sabine Lerch (Project Manager)
Project Manager Sabine Lerch guides visitors through exhibition (here as part of a conducted tour)

Objectives and Activities 2016

  • Inform people in Switzerland, raising their awareness of the impact of personal shopping behaviour on the health of humans and the environment. 
  • Using concrete examples, show visitors to the exhibition how they can support environmentally friendly and socially responsible development
  • Successfully display the exhibition in various locations in Switzerland 
  • Develop an active online community on the CLEVER Facebook page, visited primarily by former visitors to the exhibition together with others interested in the issues 
  • Develop CLEVER Online further (e.g. more products in Online Shop) to complement the exhibition. 

Achievements

The exhibition opened in late summer 2011 at the Zurich Zoo. Since 2012, CLEVER has been on the road every season travelling within Switzerland– as a rule for 7 months from April to October. In 2015, CLEVER visited Bazenheid-Kirchberg, Zurich (as part of the food-themed month "Zürich isst“), the Paul Klee Centre in Bern und the Plantahof in Landquart. 

By the end of the 2015 season, a total of 36,419 people had visited CLEVER at 13 different locations, including 432 school groups on guided tours. A survey completed by the ZHAW, the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich showed that 48% of visitors had changed their shopping habits as a result of CLEVER.

The launch in 2015 of CLEVER-online provides a useful addition to the project. The shopping game, product assessments and our shopping tips are all available on the website, which represents a source of information for both the public and school groups. 

During the exhibition season, we also send out a monthly E-Newsletter. In addition to the latest news from CLEVER, our Facebook page contains a wide range of interesting articles, studies and events on sustainable consumption together with information and tips.