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Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 7959-7972;

Neutralisation and Mental Accounting in Ethical Consumption: The Case of Sustainable Holidays

Durham University Business School, Queen’s Campus, University Boulevard, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees TS17 6BH, UK
Sheffield University Management School, University of Sheffield, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 15 March 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
Full-Text   |   PDF [330 KB, uploaded 19 June 2015]


The present research aimed to investigate the decision-making process for sustainable holidays, as a type of ethical consumption related to environmental welfare. Using semi-structured in-depth interviews with 20 German holidaymakers of different ages, it was found that individuals use cognitive processes such as neutralisation and mental accounting to justify their unethical/unsustainable choices and to manage negative emotions. The findings also indicated a lack of spillovers between sustainable behaviours at home and holiday-related behaviours. This could be explained by the identification of “ethical” and “unethical” mental accounts, which the interviewees have disclosed. When the compensation between the two types of mental accounts takes place, neutralisation is not used. It was also found that positive and negative emotions could motivate the choice of sustainable holidays. These findings have implications in relation to marketing communications aimed at creating awareness and encouraging the purchase of sustainable holidays. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable holidays; ethical consumption; neutralisation; mental accounting; emotions sustainable holidays; ethical consumption; neutralisation; mental accounting; emotions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Schütte, L.; Gregory-Smith, D. Neutralisation and Mental Accounting in Ethical Consumption: The Case of Sustainable Holidays. Sustainability 2015, 7, 7959-7972.

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