Customer Role in Value Co-Creation – a Pathway Towards Sustainability


The paper includes a brief overview of approaches to the concept of value creation with a focus on the most contemporary one assuming the leading role of consumers. The redefined concept of value co-creation by today’s consumers implies their active role so as they can contribute also to managing social and environmental challenges. The paper addresses different trends in consumers’ behaviour which result in their altered position on the market and may lead to potentially even more prominent role in shaping future market offering and business models. More critical and hyper-connected consumers more frequently choose solutions within sharing or access economy, also in the finance industry, which shows their preferences of sustainable choices and need for active participation in service co-creation. In finance, it often takes the form of “platform economy” whose main role is to match financial counterparts, such as peer-to-peer lending and insurance, crowdfunding and social payments. Opportunities emerging from consumers’ increasing independence and trust as well as their reliance on technology and innovative solutions may contribute to financial inclusion. New firms that will understand and respond to consumers’ expectations may create business models more suitable for present conditions than existing ones. This way new players may “disrupt” financial industry in certain areas by winning customers from traditional banks or offering services for the unbanked. Examples illustrating the role firms other than banks can play in financial inclusion are provided leading to conclusions of their potential in taking over some activities traditionally performed by banks. The emergence of such players is socially vital in the light of overall development goals of sustainable development which place emphasis on financial issues, in particular inclusion. Banking industry with its specific position and function should have a part in the processes. Sustainable development goals can be met by banks’ activities within Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). From the perspective of individuals, however, such efforts are not clear or visible, hence their low awareness of socially important initiative taken by banks. On the other hand, regulatory environment of the banking industry limits the opportunities for clients’ participation and value co-creation in the process of providing services. Therefore, for financial institutions in order to take advantage of clients’ readiness to be more active, and to co-create value of the services, a good solution may be an invitation to participate in shaping CSR activities. This will improve banks’ image as institutions contributing to sustainable development, guarantee customer involvement and help maintain their position.

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