Special Issue "The Future of Consumption: Children and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Robert Aitken
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Marketing, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Interests: sustainability; marketing ethics; corporate social responsibility; children and marketing; materialism; consumer socialisation; consumer culture
Prof. Dr. Leah Watkins
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Marketing, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Interests: sustainability; marketing ethics; children and marketing; materialism; consumer lifestyles and values; cross-cultural consumer behaviour

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

The urgent need to promote more sustainable consumption behaviours has been prominently reaffirmed in the 2016 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 12, which has the goal of ensuring global sustainable consumption and production patterns. To meet this goal, it is necessary to encourage all stakeholders to engage in changes to present patterns of consumption behaviour.

One key stakeholder group in conceptualisations of sustainable living and changing consumption behaviour is young consumers. As ‘tomorrow’s leaders’ (Emanuel and Adams, 2011 pp. 90), future citizens, consumers, workers and innovators (Hume 2010), young consumers are not only likely to have the opportunity to contribute to decisions determining the nature of a post-consumption future but also to be the ones most committed to its achievement (Emanuel and Adams, 2011). Further, childhood is a unique period during which attitudes towards, and patterns of, consumption are formed which provide the basis for long-term consumption behaviour (Connell et al., 2014). Childhood, therefore, provides an opportunity to establish values and norms of consumption behaviour that are more conducive to long-term sustainability. Breaking the cycle of (over) consumption begins by understanding the experience of those on whom the continuation of the cycle depends: young people.

This Special Issue calls for the latest and most insightful research to understand the issues, roles, experiences and importance of young people in moving towards a more sustainable consumption future. The Special Issue also aims to develop a research agenda to encourage further studies in this area.

We are pleased, therefore, to invite academic papers, both empirical and theoretical, including reviews of literature, which address the issues related to young people and sustainable consumption.

The following is an indicative list of a number of areas in relation to children that would be appropriate for the Special Issue:

  • Sustainable consumption and materialism;
  • The symbolic value of commodities;
  • Lifestyle and sustainability;
  • Media literacy and sustainability;
  • Education, sustainable literacy and consumption behavior;
  • Consumer agency;
  • Socialisation;
  • Intergenerational attitudes and behaviours;
  • Culture and sustainability;
  • Envisioning sustainable futures;
  • Young leaders and sustainability.

Please note that the list is not exhaustive or prescriptive, and the Editors would be pleased to consider additional suggestions.

For the purposes of this Special Issue, we consider children and young people to comprise individuals up to 25 years of age.


Connell, P. M., Brucks, M., and Nielsen, J. H. 2014, "How childhood advertising exposure can create biased product evaluations that persist into adulthood", Journal of Consumer Research, 41(1), 119-134.

Emanuel, R. and Adams, J.N. 2011, “College Students' Perceptions of Campus Sustainability”, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 12, no. 1: 79-92.

Hume, M. 2010, “Compassion Without Action: Examining the Young Consumers Consumption and Attitude to Sustainable Consumption.” Journal of World Business 45, no. 4: 385-394.

U.N Assembly 2015, Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, resolution adopted by the general assembly. A/70/L. 1. New York: UN General Assembly.

Associate Professor Robert Aitken
Associate Professor Leah Watkins
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com 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 papers will be 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 1900 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.


  • children
  • consumption
  • materialism
  • envisioning
  • sustainability
  • literacy

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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