Sustainable Development Research Network - Motivating Sustainable Consumption: a review of evidence on consumer behaviour and behavioural change

A report by Professor Tim Jackson of University of Surrey for the Sustainable Development Research Network

Motivating Sustainable Consumption sets out to address questions about why we consume in the way that we do and what factors could shape or constrain our choices. It reviews the literature on consumer behaviour and behavioural change and discusses the evidence base for different models of change. It also highlights the dilemmas and opportunities that policy-makers face in addressing unsustainable consumption patterns and encouraging more sustainable lifestyles.

motivatingscfinal_000.pdf 1162 Kb

Interesting Research

To date, the locus of investigation seems to be around understanding how behaviour can be changed, with particular reference to the use of concepts and language. All good stuff but don't you sometimes get the feeling that there are some big issues that are simply being overlooked? For example...

  • Do small behaviours like reusing shopping bags actually trade up towards bigger changes like reduced car use?
  • Do we definitively know whether carbon offsetting actually increases carbon intensive behaviours?
  • Has anyone actually measured the over-claim customers are making about how green they really are?

If you’ve looked into these issues (or got your own view on them) or if there are any others that you feel need some closer scrutiny, then we'd love to hear from you.

One Not To Miss

Let them eat cake

A report by Anthony Kleanthous and Jules Peck for WWF

A comprehensive and thoughtful document from WWF arguing that consumer expectation now makes sustainability considerations an obligation for companies, but crucially also an opportunity for marketing. It looks at where the bottlenecks to progress are and gives some tips on how to make sustainability work within an organisation.