Transcending the conventional debate around efficiency in sustainable consumption, anti-consumption patterns leading to decreased levels of material consumption have been gaining importance. Change agents are crucial for the promotion of such patterns, so there may be lessons for governance interventions that can be learnt from the every-day experiences of those who actively implement and promote sustainability in the field of anti-consumption. Eighteen social innovation pioneers, who engage in and diffuse practices of voluntary simplicity and collaborative consumption as sustainable options of anti-consumption share their knowledge and personal insights in expert interviews for this research. Our qualitative content analysis reveals drivers, barriers, and governance strategies to strengthen anti-consumption patterns, which are negotiated between the market, the state, and civil society. Recommendations derived from the interviews concern entrepreneurship, municipal infrastructures in support of local grassroots projects, regulative policy measures, more positive communication to strengthen the visibility of initiatives and emphasize individual benefits, establishing a sense of community, anti-consumer activism, and education. We argue for complementary action between top-down strategies, bottom-up initiatives, corporate activities, and consumer behavior. The results are valuable to researchers, activists, marketers, and policymakers who seek to enhance their understanding of materially reduced consumption patterns based on the real-life experiences of active pioneers in the field.
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