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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2007

Gill Seyfang

Sustainable consumption is increasingly on the policy menu, and local organic food has been widely advocated as a practical tool to make changes to conventional production…

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6794

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainable consumption is increasingly on the policy menu, and local organic food has been widely advocated as a practical tool to make changes to conventional production and consumption systems. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of community‐based initiatives at achieving sustainable consumption objectives.

Design/methodology/approach

A new multi‐criteria evaluation tool is developed, from New Economics theory, to assess the effectiveness of initiatives at achieving sustainable consumption. The key indicators are: localisation, reducing ecological footprints, community building, collective action and creating new socio‐economic institutions. This evaluation framework is applied to an organic producer cooperative in Norfolk, UK, using a mixed‐method approach comprising site visits, semi‐structured interviews and a customer survey.

Findings

The initiative was effective at achieving sustainable consumption in each of the dimensions of the appraisal tool, but nevertheless faced a number of barriers to achieving its potential.

Research limitations/implications

Future research could examine the sustainability preferences of non‐consumers of local or organic food, to compare responses and assess the scope for scaling up initiatives like this.

Practical implications

Ways forward for community‐based sustainable consumption are discussed, together with policy recommendations. Community‐based initiatives such as the local organic food network examined here should be supported to offer a diversity of local action.

Originality/value

This paper presents the first empirical evaluation of a local organic food network as a tool for sustainable consumption. It makes a timely and original contribution on environmental governance and the role of new institutions which enable consumers to change their consumption patterns. It is of interest to academics, practitioners and policymakers concerned with sustainable development.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 24 July 2019

Leah Watkins, Rob Aitken and Jess Ford

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Young Consumers, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-3616

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Peter Jones, David Hillier and Daphne Comfort

– The purpose of this paper is to offer an exploratory case study of how the UK’s leading retailers are addressing sustainable consumption.

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1451

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer an exploratory case study of how the UK’s leading retailers are addressing sustainable consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins with a discussion of the growing awareness of the importance of sustainable consumption and of the role that retailers can play in promoting more sustainable patterns of consumption. This is followed by a short literature review of current thinking on sustainable consumption. The paper draws its empirical information from the top ten UK retailers’ corporate websites and from an observational survey conducted in these retailers’ largest stores in the town of Cheltenham in the UK. The paper concludes with some reflections on how the UK’s leading retailers are addressing sustainable consumption and on how the concept fits into their business models.

Findings

The findings reveal that the UK’s top ten retailers make very limited public corporate commitments to sustainable consumption and that while some of these retailers were offering customers some information which might encourage more sustainable shopping behaviour, such information was systematically undermined by marketing messages which were designed to encourage rather than restrict consumption. More critically the paper concludes that the leading retailers’ commitments to sustainable consumption are couched within existing business models centred on continuing growth and that as such they are effectively ignoring the fact that present levels of consumption are not sustainable.

Originality/value

This paper provides an accessible review of the extent to which the UK’s leading food retailers are addressing sustainable consumption and communicating sustainable consumption agendas to their customers within stores, and, as such, it will be of value to academics, practitioners, consumer organizations and policymakers interested in the role retailers can play in promoting sustainable consumption.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Matthias Lehner

– This paper aims to contribute to the discussion about how retailers can more effectively promote sustainable food consumption in the retail store.

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2875

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the discussion about how retailers can more effectively promote sustainable food consumption in the retail store.

Design/methodology/approach

Thirteen self-proclaimed sustainable consumers were observed and interviewed during their grocery shopping. Separate observations were conducted of the stores. Finally, consumers were asked to provide three weeks worth of grocery shopping receipts.

Findings

Results show that the meaning of sustainable consumption varies among consumers. Observed consumer behaviour was mostly routinized, with little willingness to engage consciously with the choice situation. Mixed messages in the store cause confusion, uncertainty and frustration. Only for a minority of decisions, consumers showed a high level of decision-making involvement. Then, consumers were willing to engage with the retailer and accept trade-offs. The retail store should better account for consumption routines in sustainable consumption behaviour and open up to interaction with sustainably minded consumers where necessary.

Research limitations/implications

The results are specific for urban areas with high concern for sustainability. Further research should focus on areas of low concern for sustainability and the impact of the store environment on such consumers.

Practical implications

Retailers do not sufficiently take into account the contextual nature of sustainable consumption. Retailers would be well-advised to account for the habitual nature of grocery shopping and for contextually defined understanding of sustainable consumption in their efforts to promote sustainable consumption.

Originality/value

This study gives new insights into the much debated “attitude-behaviour gap” in sustainable consumption and how retailers can more effectively encourage sustainable consumption behaviour in the retail store.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 May 2019

Ninh Nguyen, Steven Greenland, Antonio Lobo and Hoang Viet Nguyen

This paper aims to address gaps in the sustainable technology literature by evaluating the demographics of energy efficient appliance consumption in Vietnam. Sustainable

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address gaps in the sustainable technology literature by evaluating the demographics of energy efficient appliance consumption in Vietnam. Sustainable technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address environmental problems such as air quality and climate change. Opportunity is the greatest in emerging markets, where population growth has triggered dramatic rises in electricity consumption. However, their adoption of energy efficient appliances has been slow and understanding why is limited.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a literature review, a questionnaire was designed to capture sustainable consumption attitudes and behaviours. In total, 682 interviews were conducted among Vietnamese electrical appliance consumers to investigate the influence of demographics on sustainable technology consumption.

Findings

While many respondents were aware of the sustainable benefits of energy efficient appliances, this did not generally translate into responsible purchase behaviour. Of the demographic variables, education had the strongest relationship with sustainability. Those with higher incomes and more children were also more likely to exhibit sustainable consumption attitudes and behaviours. Gender and age were weaker sustainability predictors.

Originality/value

This study is relevant to a wide range of sustainable technology contexts. The literature shows contrary findings regarding relationships between demographics and sustainable consumption, and the value of demographics to sustainable consumer segmentation and targeted behaviour change campaigns has been contested by some researchers. This research highlights education as the most significant demographic predictor of sustainable consumption and reveals the consistency of this finding with many other studies. The implications of this for promoting future sustainability are discussed.

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Article
Publication date: 19 August 2019

Hadeer Hammad, Viola Muster, Noha M. El-Bassiouny and Martina Schaefer

Conspicuous consumption and sustainable consumption are commonly understood as being in contradiction with each other. Yet, scholars have recently become increasingly…

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1141

Abstract

Purpose

Conspicuous consumption and sustainable consumption are commonly understood as being in contradiction with each other. Yet, scholars have recently become increasingly interested in examining positive relationships between these forms of consumption. The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize the synergies and contradictions between sustainable and luxury consumption and proposing whether and how conspicuous motives can foster a shift towards sustainable consumption in newly industrialized countries in general and Egypt in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a conceptual note, intended as a starting point and acting as an eye-opener regarding the values inherent in both conspicuous and sustainable consumption and the potential influence that conspicuous motivations could have on the latter.

Findings

The paper discusses the possibilities for and limitations of conspicuous motives to foster sustainable consumption in newly industrialized countries in the Middle East. The adoption of westernized lifestyles, spreading in Middle Eastern countries, can represent a venue for motivating sustainable consumption behaviours as a means of status distinction. On the other hand, the trickle-down effect and the preconditions of visibility and exclusiveness pose risks on promoting sustainable consumption by addressing conspicuous motives.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that the synergistic interplay between conspicuous and sustainable consumption, as well as barriers and motivations underpinning both constructs, needs to be empirically researched, while factoring in the cultural specifics of the countries under study, as cultural nuances can influence the dynamics of interaction between conspicuous and sustainable behaviours.

Originality/value

Given the salience of the relationship between luxury and sustainable consumption and the focus of most studies on early-industrialized countries, insights regarding the possible influences of conspicuous motives on sustainable consumption in newly industrialized countries are warranted. With the scarcity of research examining the ambiguous relationship between conspicuous and sustainable consumption in newly industrialized countries, this paper contributes by providing insights about the conditions that can help conspicuous motives promote sustainable consumption in newly industrialized countries.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2018

Paola De Bernardi and Lia Tirabeni

The purpose of this paper is to analyse a sustainable business model (SBM) implemented by an Alternative Food Network (AFN), namely the Italian Food Assembly, with the…

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1015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse a sustainable business model (SBM) implemented by an Alternative Food Network (AFN), namely the Italian Food Assembly, with the goal of exploring its drivers of success and explaining how it can contribute to enhance sustainable and anti-consumption behaviours. This research aims at combining principles from both SBM innovation and user-driven anti-consumption and well-being habits, in order to develop more successful, comprehensive and community-centred sustainable value propositions.

Design/methodology/approach

Given the research goal, an exploratory case study was prepared where multiple sources of data were employed, namely in-depth interviews, participant observation, focus groups and document analysis.

Findings

In the light of the Bocken et al. (2014) framework, this paper provides evidence on the implementation of an AFN where it is possible to observe a strong sharing of knowledge regarding sustainable consumption behaviours and an effective dissemination of best practices between members. The authors developed four propositions that support the creation of a sustainable food supply chain, laying the foundation for spreading consumer behaviours and motivations so that they become more sustainable in their consumption habits.

Research limitations/implications

Even though the case study is very rich in the amount of data gathered, it cannot be generalised. Further research will overcome this limitation by adding more cases within a comparative approach and through a quantitative methodology.

Originality/value

It adds value to recent literature and practice by focussing on how networks of producers, consumers and other actors could act to improve food anti-consumption behaviours, by embodying alternatives to conventional food systems.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 120 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2018

Thomas Foscht, Yuting Lin and Andreas B. Eisingerich

This paper aims to explore how and when a business’ transparency leads to greater willingness to engage in sustainable and responsible consumption by consumers.

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1662

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how and when a business’ transparency leads to greater willingness to engage in sustainable and responsible consumption by consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected in two studies. Study 1 collected data from 219 consumers in a large shopping mall. Study 2 followed an experimental approach and used data from 327 participants.

Findings

The current research contributes to theory by hypothesizing and demonstrating when transparency is associated with higher willingness for sustainable and responsible consumption. Critically, the positive benefits of transparency vary according to a business’ future orientation, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and levels of customer involvement.

Practical implications

An important societal and practical implication of the current research is that business should not be expected to only focus on transparency in isolation but rather also needs to consider levels of perceived future orientation, CSR and levels of customer involvement to strengthen sustainable and responsible behavior effectively.

Originality/value

This research builds on and extends current knowledge by exploring the key role of business’ transparency in influencing sustainable and responsible customer behavior and examines critical boundary conditions for the observed effects.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 52 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Book part
Publication date: 27 June 2016

Diane M. Martin and Terhi Väistö

The purpose of this paper is to re-evaluate the sustainable attitude-behavior gap by reconsidering the cognitive-rational aspects of consumer purchase behavior. We aim to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to re-evaluate the sustainable attitude-behavior gap by reconsidering the cognitive-rational aspects of consumer purchase behavior. We aim to show how companies can benefit from focusing on hedonic aspects of consumption in their marketing of sustainable products. We claim that consumer culture research needs to examine the link between hedonic, aesthetic, and cognitive-rational aspects of sustainable consumption.

Methodology/approach

We use the electric vehicle marketing strategy in the United States as an example of an approach to bridge the attitude-behavior gap. More specifically, we focus on the car manufacturer Tesla as an example of marketing a sustainable product.

Findings

We find that Tesla’s marketing strategy focuses on aesthetics and hedonics-ludic performance. Similarly to other luxury cars, Tesla markets itself with a full compliment of consumer benefits. Compared to economical electric vehicles, sustainability is not the primary focus of Tesla’s marketing communication strategy.

Research limitations/implications

Sustainable consumption theory benefits from examining the interlinking of hedonic, aesthetic and cognitive-rational aspects product purchasing and use. Future research in the development of sustainable consumption theory in additional complex product categories is needed.

Practical implications

Greater regard for consumer experience in sustainable consumption offers the potential for additional strategies to bridge the attitude-behavior gap and marketing of sustainable goods.

Originality/value

We move beyond the attitude-behavior gap by not only focusing on expressed attitudes of sustainability, but also focusing on the hedonic aspects at play in sustainable consumption.

Details

Marketing in and for a Sustainable Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-282-8

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 27 August 2020

Manita Matharu, Ruchi Jain and Shampy Kamboj

The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential determinants of sustainable consumption behavior. This study describes lifestyle of health and sustainability…

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1949

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential determinants of sustainable consumption behavior. This study describes lifestyle of health and sustainability (LOHAS) tendency and the effects of such lifestyles on the behavioral intentions for sustainable consumption in sharing economy.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adapts LOHAS tendency, consumer attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control and consumers' behavioral intention for sustainable consumption scale in Indian context to describe the sustainable consumption behavior by extending the theory of planned behavior (TPB). Data of 627 individuals collected through a questionnaire, after the scales validation process and thereafter a structural equation analysis has been performed.

Findings

The findings confirm the extended TPB, wherein LOHAS tendency has emerged as an antecedent to consumer attitudes for taking part in sustainable consumption. Results highlight that consumer attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control are significant determining factors of consumers' sustainable consumption behavior.

Research limitations/implications

This study has examined the sustainable consumption behavior by considering the lifestyle tendency. A few other limitations are also discussed.

Originality/value

Consumer behavior in sharing economy is surely one of the emerging research areas; there is dearth of research to understand Indian consumers' sustainable consumption, particularly from lifestyle perspective. This research establishes relationship between LOHAS tendency and sustainable consumption, which may serve as a contributor to sharing economy in terms of LOHAS consumer's lifestyle and their sustainable consumption behavior.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

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