Measuring and enhancing children’s sustainable consumption and production literacy

Leah Watkins (University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Rob Aitken (University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Jess Ford (University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Publication date: 15 November 2019



A sustainable future requires that we empower our children to not only make green consumer choices but also consider the wider issues of sustainable consumption. This paper aims to investigate suitable measures to evaluate children’s sustainable consumption and production (SCP) knowledge, attitudes and behaviour and develop and test intervention content aimed at improving literacy in this area.


A mixed method approach was adopted to develop measurement and intervention materials for SCP. 21 Year Eight (12-13-year-old) New Zealand children participated in one-hour focus groups where they completed scales to measure their sustainable consumption attitudes two major environmental values, behaviours The middle school environmental literacy survey and knowledge and participated in discussions to evaluate the SCP knowledge intervention content and questions developed.


A qualitative analysis of group discussion was used to test the understandability, perceived usefulness and level of difficulty of the intervention booklet to inform its further development. The results show children’s (prior) knowledge score was highly correlated with their attitudes, and attitudes were highly correlated with both intention and behaviour scores. The paired t tests demonstrated significant differences in the pre- and post-intervention knowledge scores.

Research limitations/implications

The measures and intervention content piloted in this study fill an important gap in existing literature, addressing the lack of appropriate measures and resources to encourage and enhance children’s important role in contributing to a sustainable consumption future.


The development of a measurable intervention will enable the establishment of a platform for the continued and participatory development of sustainable consumption and production resources for children.



Watkins, L., Aitken, R. and Ford, J. (2019), "Measuring and enhancing children’s sustainable consumption and production literacy", Young Consumers, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 285-298.

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