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Special Issue "Towards Sustainable Marketing: Promoting Sustainable Behavior and Consumption"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2024 | Viewed by 160

Special Issue Editor

School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne 3000, Australia
Interests: health communication; behavior change; social marketing; sustainability marketing; sustainable behavior; social media; social advertising; sustainability; consumer behavior; digital advertising

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the escalation of the global climate emergency, promoting sustainable behaviors alongside more systemic change has become more urgent. Governments, institutions, businesses, communities as well as people/consumers have a responsibility to make changes to respond to the climate catastrophe. This means changes to the way we do things that consider people and the planet, and not just profits (Brennan et al. 2023). This is reflected in the United Nations’ twelfth Sustainable Development goal, which seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. This goal emphasizes that sustainability is the responsibility of both consumers and producers—and all stakeholders in between.

Consumers can only make sustainable choices, be they lifestyles, behaviors, or purchases, if sustainable options and opportunities are available (produced). This requires a concerted and coordinated change by all stakeholders to bring about change as well as an understanding of what drives consumers to initiate or maintain green or sustainable behaviors (Rusyani et al. 2021). Marketing and marketing systems are centered on exchange, and therefore integral to providing and promoting these opportunities and choices.

There has been mounting interest in research on sustainable consumption in marketing and related disciplines, particularly in recent years, as there has been a growing realization that our planet cannot sustain the status quo. While the earliest research in this space tended to focus on the purchase and consumption of green(er) products, more recent research has expanded to promoting sustainable lifestyles (eg. Afzal et al. 2019; Kamenidou et al. 2019; Kennedy and Kapitan, 2022). The latter recognizes that while the purchase of greener products over less-green options is good, it does not address the underlying problem of excess consumption (Heath and Chatzidakis, 2012). Marketing can play a part in promoting these sustainable lifestyles, by supporting consumers to make the best decisions and adopt the behaviors and habits, during acquisition, usage, and disposal (Kennedy and Kapitan, 2022; Stapleton et al. 2022). This also means considering marketing as a societal activity rather than merely a business function.

With global challenges including the climate emergency, pandemics, overpopulation, the collapse of ecosystems, pollution, depleting natural resources, and uncontrolled new technologies (The Commission for the Human Future, 2020), it is no longer acceptable for marketing to use the excuse that it is merely a customer-driven activity responding to markets (Kubacki et al. 2022). To continue to do so risks our very existence. Marketing has had a role to play in amplifying many of these global challenges, but it also has the potential to be a tool to support governments, organizations, and businesses to respond to them. Doing so recognizes that the world is shaped increasingly by collective as well as individual choice (Layton et al. 2022).

This Special Issue seeks to advance the current state of research on sustainable lifestyles, behavior, and consumption. The overarching aim is to explore new perspectives on sustainability and sustainable consumption, by focusing on marketing and behavior change on sustainability-related topics. Interdisciplinary contributions are encouraged, and submissions may relate to the following broad theme examples:

  • Green, responsible, and sustainable consumer behavior.
  • Social marketing of sustainable or green behaviors.
  • Specific sustainability issues and behaviors: e.g., avoiding and reducing waste, packaging waste, energy and water usage and pollution, travel and transportation choices and behaviors, sustainable fashion, reducing food miles and waste, etc.
  • Marketing and facilitating sustainable consumption choices.
  • Individual values, attitudes, and norms in sustainable consumption.
  • Promoting green behavior, awareness, and mindfulness.
  • Systems thinking and sustainability.
  • Sustainable consumers and lifestyles.
  • Demarketing to reduce consumption.
  • Micromarketing and marketing systems approaches to sustainability.
  • Marketing and the circular economy.
  • Critical perspectives on sustainability marketing.

Submissions do not need to be limited to these themes. However, if you have any doubt about your paper’s fit with this Special Issue, do not hesitate to contact the Special Issue’s guest editor, Lukas Parker ([email protected]).


  1. Afzal, F., Shao, Y., Sajid, M., & Afzal, F. (2019). Market Sustainability: A Globalization and Consumer Culture Perspective in the Chinese Retail Market. Sustainability, 11, 575.
  2. Brennan, L., Parker, L., Garg, D., Kubacki, K., Jackson, M. & Chorazy, E. (2023). Beyond the Dark Arts: Advancing marketing and communication theory and practice, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing (forthcoming).
  3. The Commission for the Human Future (2020). Surviving and thriving in the 21st century. A discussion and call to action on global catastrophic risks, Expert round table convened by The Commission for the Human Future, March 2020. Available at (accessed 11 Nov 2022).
  4. Heath, M. T. P., & Chatzidakis, A. (2012). ‘Blame it on marketing’: consumers' views on unsustainable consumption. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 36(6), pp. 656-667.
  5. Kamenidou, I. C., Mamalis, S. A., Pavlidis, S., & Bara, E.-Z. G. (2019). Segmenting the Generation Z Cohort University Students Based on Sustainable Food Consumption Behavior: A Preliminary Study. Sustainability, 11, 837.
  6. Kennedy, A.-M., & Kapitan, S. (2022). Sustainability marketing and the environmental impact of marketing. In Kubacki, K., Parker, L., Domegan, C. & Brennan, L. (Eds.). The Routledge Companion to Marketing for Social Impact (pp. 207-222). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
  7. Kubacki, K., Parker, L., Domegan, C., & Brennan, L. (2022). The social impact of the relationship between marketing and society. In Kubacki, K., Parker, L., Domegan, C. & Brennan, L. (Eds.). The Routledge Companion to Marketing for Social Impact (pp. 1-9). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
  8. Layton, R., Domegan, C., & Brennan, L. (2022). Systems thinking in marketing for social impact. In Kubacki, K., Parker, L., Domegan, C. & Brennan, L. (Eds.). The Routledge Companion to Marketing for Social Impact (pp. 13-28). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
  9. Rusyani, E., Lavuri, R., & Gunardi, A. (2021). Purchasing Eco-Sustainable Products: Interrelationship between Environmental Knowledge, Environmental Concern, Green Attitude, and Perceived Behavior. Sustainability, 13, 4601.
  10. Stapleton, A., McHugh, L., & Karekla, M. (2022). How to Effectively Promote Eco-Friendly Behaviors: Insights from Contextual Behavioral Science. Sustainability, 14, 13887.

Dr. Lukas Parker
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • sustainable marketing
  • sustainability marketing
  • sustainable behavior
  • sustainable lifestyles
  • social marketing
  • behavior change
  • responsible marketing
  • circular economy
  • attitude
  • behavior
  • packaging
  • consumer behavior
  • responsible consumer behavior
  • critical marketing
  • marketing
  • greenwash
  • demarketing
  • consumption
  • sustainable consumption
  • overconsumption
  • green behavior
  • macromarketing

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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