Special Issue "Environmental Values and Sustainable 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: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lester Johnson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Marketing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: sustainability; marketing; services; customer engagement; consumer behavior
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Chamila Perera
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: consumer cultural practices; sustainability; research methodology; pedagogy; corporate social responsibility; minimalistic life style; environmentalism; climate change related behaviour
Dr. Hassan Kalantari Daronkola
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: customer insight; mass customisation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

When engaging in sustainable consumption practices (SCP), consumers usually exert an effort to minimise or avoid the adverse effects of consumption on environmental wellbeing. This requires consumers to prioritise environmental wellbeing over personal comfort and voluntarily engage in environmentally friendly consumer practices (Connolly and Prothero, 2008). They usually buy products with favourable environmental effects (e.g., products that claim zero CO2 emissions, ethically and sustainably produced or higher level of biodegradability). Among other factors, such as health concerns, environmental values are also found to be positively related with consumers’ willingness to purchase these products (Liu, Yan and Zhou, 2017; Thøgersen, Haugaard and Olesen, 2010). By contrast, some research finds no direct association between environmental values and SCPs (Röös and Tjärnemo, 2011) Therefore, more scholarly conversations on this phenomenon are essential.

Mainstream consumer behaviour theories guide sustainable consumption researchers to investigate several antecedents or determinants of intentional sustainable consumer behaviour and specify how those antecedents are related. A large body of research in this category is drawn from the norm-activation model of altruism (Schwartz and Judith, 1981) or the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991). According to a recent review, the theoretical underpinnings are moving toward a considerable degree of convergence (Turaga, Howarth and Borsuk, 2010). However, we argue that the debate on the impact of environmental values on SCP has not been settled.

Classified into three distinctive elements (egoistic-self concerned, altruistic—others concerned—and biospheric—nature concerned) (Schultz, 2001), environmental values are defined as affective environmental concerns (Schultz et al., 2005). Drawing from Schwartz’s norm-activation model of altruism (1981), Stern, Dietz and Kalof (1993)) propose three types of environmental values. They are altruistic, egoistic, and biospheric values that are correlated and influence SCP. Positive effects of altruism on sustainable consumption are countered by negative effects of egoism, which inhibits willingness to incur extra costs associated with SCP (Stern, 2000). Confirming the above findings, Guagnano (2001) found that consumers downplay egoism when they engage in SCP. By contrast, Soper (2004) found that the altruistic values are not widely shared among sustainable consumers, and egoism still plays a significant role. Further, according to recent research, egoistic values encourage consumers to purchase environmentally sustainable products at premium prices (Binney and Hall, 2011).

There is no universally agreed definition of environmental values. This could have led previous research to investigate environmental values from several perspectives (e.g., general concerns, environmental beliefs, environmental ethics, environmental knowledge or specific actions) and hence to report inconsistent findings. Further, according to reviews of previous research (e.g., De Groot and Steg, 2007; Dietz, Stern and Guagnano, 1998; Hawcroft and Milfont, 2010), environmental values are multifaceted, and terms such as environmental concerns, environmental ethics, environmental paradigms, environmental values and value orientations are used interchangeably in previous studies. Given this background, it is reasonable to assume that the debate on the influence of environmental values on sustainable consumption has not yet been settled and is worthy of investigation.   

Possible topics might cover:

  • Sustainable consumption practices
  • Environmental concerns
  • Environmental ethics
  • Environmental values
  • Environmental attributes
  • Environmental beliefs
  • Anticonsumption
  • Minimalistic life styles
  • Nature Perceptions
  • Climate change related behaviour
  • Consumer social responsibility

References

Ajzen, I. (1991). The Theory of Planned Behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179-211.

Binney, W., & Hall, M. (2011). Towards an understanding of residents' pro-environmental behaviour. Paper presented at the Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, Peath, W.A.

Connolly, J., & Prothero, A. (2008). Green consumption: Life-politics, risk and contradictions. Journal of Consumer Culture, 8(1), 117-145.

De Groot, J. I. M., & Steg, L. (2007). Value orientations and environmental beliefs in five countries: Validity of an instrument to measure egoistic, altruistic and biospheric value orientations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(3), 318.

Dietz, T., Stern, P. C., & Guagnano, G. A. (1998). Social structural and social psychological bases of environmental concern. Environment and Behavior, 30(4), 450.

Guagnano, G. A. (2001). Altruism and market-like behavior: An analysis of willingness to pay for recycled paper products. Population & Environment, 22(4), 425-438.

Hawcroft, L. J., & Milfont, T. L. (2010). The use (and abuse) of the new environmental paradigm scale over the last 30 years: A meta-analysis. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(2), 143-158.

Liu, Q., Yan, Z., & Zhou, J. (2017). Consumer choices and motives for eco-labeled products in China: An empirical analysis based on the choice experiment. Sustainability, 9(3), 331-342.

Röös, E., & Tjärnemo, H. (2011). Challenges of carbon labelling of food products: A consumer research perspective. British Food Journal, 113(8), 982-996.

Schultz, W. P. (2001). The structure of environmental concern: Concern for self, other people, and the biosphere. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 21(4), 327-339.

Schultz, W. P., Gouveia, V., V., Cameron, L. D., Tankha, G., Schmuck, P., & Franek, M. (2005). Values and their relationship to environmental concern and conservation behavior. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36(4), 457-475.

Schwartz, S., H, & Judith, H., A. (1981). A Normative Decision-Making Model of Altruism. In J. P. Rushton & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Altruism and Helping Behavior. New Jersey: Erlbaum: Hillside.

Soper, K. (2004). Rethinking the" good life": The consumer as citizen. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 15(3), 111-116.

Stern, P. C. (2000). Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behavior. Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 407-424.

Stern, P. C., Dietz, T., & Kalof, L. (1993). Value orientations, gender, and environmental concern. Environment and Behaviour, 25(5), 322-348.

Thøgersen, J., Haugaard, P., & Olesen, A. (2010). Consumer responses to ecolabels. European Journal of Marketing, 44(11/12), 1787-1810.

Turaga, R. M. R., Howarth, R. B., & Borsuk, M. E. (2010). Pro-environmental behavior. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1185(1), 211-224.

Prof. Dr. Lester Johnson
Dr. Chamila Perera
Dr. Hassan Kalantari Daronkola
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • impact and intent of sustainable consumption practices
  • interplay of environmental values
  • sustainable product purchase intentions
  • sustainable consumption from theocratical perspectives

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Efficiency Evaluation of Regional Sustainable Innovation in China: A Slack-Based Measure (SBM) Model with Undesirable Outputs
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010031 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 976
Abstract
An efficiency evaluation of China’s regional sustainable innovation, evaluating industrial waste and total energy consumption, is the main research subject in this paper. It focuses on a regional measurement and comparison of these undesirable outputs of Chinese firm activities, such as industrial SO [...] Read more.
An efficiency evaluation of China’s regional sustainable innovation, evaluating industrial waste and total energy consumption, is the main research subject in this paper. It focuses on a regional measurement and comparison of these undesirable outputs of Chinese firm activities, such as industrial SO2 and CO2 emissions. By applying a data envelopment analysis–slack-based measure (DEA–SBM) model with undesirable outputs indicators, the regional innovation efficiency was evaluated for 30 provinces in China, from 2002 to 2014. The results indicate that the sustainable innovation efficiency of overall China is still relatively low, and varies significantly in different regions. Central and Western China have similar sustainable innovation efficiencies, which are much lower than the sustainable innovation efficiency in Eastern China. Furthermore, the data indicate that regional sustainable innovation efficiency disparities among these three areas are decreasing. Based on these findings, reasons for the sustainable innovation efficiency gap among the different regions were analyzed. To scholars, this paper extends the research on regional sustainable innovation efficiency by implementing an undesirable output perspective to the DEA–SBM model. The findings also provide Chinese policy makers with useful decision support insights for regional sustainable innovation, and energy conservation and emission reduction policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Values and Sustainable Consumption)
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Article
Clean Power Dispatching of Coal-Fired Power Generation in China Based on the Production Cleanliness Evaluation Method
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6778; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236778 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 634
Abstract
China’s achievements in climate change and clean energy have been recognized by the international community. Although China has achieved successes in the field of clean energy, especially clean power dispatch, power dispatch is still one-sided and incomplete when considering environmental aspects. This paper [...] Read more.
China’s achievements in climate change and clean energy have been recognized by the international community. Although China has achieved successes in the field of clean energy, especially clean power dispatch, power dispatch is still one-sided and incomplete when considering environmental aspects. This paper presents a comprehensive production cleanliness evaluation model to assign a comprehensive environmental value as a reference for clean power dispatch. The model considers all the pollutants currently regulated in China’s coal-fired power plants, carbon emissions, and sustainability as three basic environmental constraints. Then, emergy analysis is used to unify the input/output materials with different units of measurement, and the emergy-based environmental value added (EEVA) value is constructed. As an integrated environmental value, the EEVA can provide an environmental reference for clean power dispatch. Finally, we selected a representative coal-fired power plant in China as a case study. By applying the above model, the dispatching sequence for four generating units was arranged from the perspective of cleanliness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Values and Sustainable Consumption)
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