Special Issue "Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 2 February 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Paweł Bryła
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of International Marketing and Retailing, University of Lodz, Lodz, 90-131, Poland
Interests: consumer behavior; food marketing; organic products; regional products; sustainable consumption; ethnocentrism; country-of-origin effect; health claims; nutrition claims; food choice criteria
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers addressing sustainable consumption, including consumer attitudes and behaviors. Sustainable consumption and production are identified as essential requirements for sustainable development. Sustainable consumption can encompass both sustainable attitudes and sustainable behaviors. There is an “attitude–behavior gap” or “values–action gap”, as 30% of consumers report that they are very concerned about environmental issues, but are struggling to translate this into practice. Securing public participation in recycling, energy conservation measures, and green consumerism is a means of progressing toward sustainable consumption. Third-party certification labels on sustainable products provide brand-like information cues that reduce the perceived risk of sustainable products, but consumers must perceive them as credible to have their risk perceptions reduced. It is crucial to better explain and understand the holistic nature and complexity of sustainable consumer behavior in terms of its various stages (i.e., acquisition, usage, and post-use) within key behavioral functions, in particular mobility, housing, clothing, and food.

Some key research questions are as follows:

  1. What are the attitudes of consumers toward sustainable consumption in selected areas: mobility (e.g., electric cars and use of public transportation), housing (e.g., water and energy conservation, installation of solar panels and wind turbines), clothing (e.g., less frequent purchases and acceptance of second-hand items), food (e.g., reducing waste, selecting organic and local products, etc.)?
  1. What are the actual consumer behaviors in the same areas? How do they change over time?
  1. What is the level of the attitude–behavior gap or values–action gap in the various contexts of sustainable consumption, in various segments of consumers, in different cultures and countries?
  1. What is the effectiveness of various incentives to stimulate sustainable consumption (e.g., sustainable labeling, social marketing, and financial incentives)?
  1. What are the barriers to adopting sustainable consumption habits and lifestyles?

Dr. Paweł Bryła
Guest Editor

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.

References:

Akenji, L.; Bengtsson, M. Making sustainable consumption and production the core of sustainable development goals. Sustainability 2014, 6, 513–529, doi:10.3390/su6020513.

Annunziata, A.; Agovino, M.; Mariani, A. Sustainability of Italian families’ food practices: Mediterranean diet adherence combined with organic and local food consumption. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 206, 86–96, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.09.155.

Bengtsson, M.; Alfredsson, E.; Cohen, M.; Lorek, S.; Schroeder, P. Transforming systems of consumption and production for achieving the sustainable development goals: Moving beyond efficiency. Sustain. Sci. 2018, 13, 1533–1547, doi:10.1007/s11625-018-0582-1.

Brach, S.; Walsh, G.; Shaw, D. Sustainable consumption and third-party certification labels: Consumers’ perceptions and reactions. Eur. Manag. J. 2018, 36, 254–265, doi:10.1016/j.emj.2017.03.005.

Brons, A.; Oosterveer, P. Making sense of sustainability: A practice theories approach to buying food. Sustainability 2017, 9, 467, doi:10.3390/su9030467.

Bryła, P. Regional ethnocentrism on the food market as a pattern of sustainable consumption. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6408, doi: 10.3390/su11226408.

Bryła, P. The development of organic food market as an element of sustainable development implementation. Probl. Sustain. Dev. 2015, 10, 79–88.

De Bernardi, P.; Tirabeni, L. Alternative food networks: Sustainable business models for anti-consumption food cultures. Br. Food J. 2018, 120, 1776–1791, doi:10.1108/BFJ-12-2017-0731.

Giampietri, E.; Koemle, D.; Yu, X.; Finco, A. Consumers’ sense of farmers’ markets: Tasting sustainability or just purchasing food? Sustainability 2016, 8, 1157, doi:10.3390/su8111157.

Lee, M.; Fernandez, K.; Hyman, M. Anti-consumption: An overview and research agenda. J. Bus. Res. 2009, 62, 145–147, doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2008.01.021.

Minton, E.; Spielmann, N.; Kahle, L.; Kim, C. The subjective norms of sustainable consumption: A cross-cultural exploration. J. Bus. Res. 2018, 82, 400–408, doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.12.031.

Morone, P.; Falcone, P.; Lopolito, A. How to promote a new and sustainable food consumption model: A fuzzy cognitive map study. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 208, 563–574, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.10.075.

Onel, N.; Mukherjee, A.; Kreidler, N.; Díaz, E.; Furchheim, P.; Gupta, S.; Keech, J.; Murdock, M.; Wang, Q. Tell me your story and I will tell you who you are: Persona perspective in sustainable consumption. Psychol. Mark. 2018, 35, 752–765, doi:10.1002/mar.21132.

Scott, A.; Oates, C.; Young, W. A conceptual framework of the adoption and practice of environmental actions in households. Sustainability 2015, 7, 5793–5818, doi:10.3390/su7055793.

Seyfang, G. Ecological citizenship and sustainable consumption: Examining local organic food networks. J. Rural Stud. 2006, 22, 383–395, doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2006.01.003.

Torres-Ruiz, F.; Vega-Zamora, M.; Parras-Rosa, M. Sustainable consumption: Proposal of a multistage model to analyse consumer behaviour for organic foods. Bus. Strategy Environ. 2018, 27, 588–602, doi:10.1002/bse.2022.

Vermeir, I.; Verbeke, W. Sustainable food consumption: Exploring the consumer “attitude-behavioral intention” gap. J. Agric. Environ. Ethics 2006, 19, 169–194, doi:10.1007/s10806-005-5485-3.

Wang, C.; Ghadimi, P.; Lim, M.; Tseng, M. A literature review of sustainable consumption and production: A comparative analysis in developed and developing economies. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 206, 741–754, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.09.172.

Young, W.; Hwang, K.; McDonald, S.; Oates, C. Sustainable consumption: Green consumer behaviour when purchasing products. Sustain. Dev. 2010, 18, 20–31, doi:10.1002/sd.394.

Keywords

  • sustainable consumer behavior
  • green consumer behavior
  • consumer attitudes to sustainable consumption
  • attitude-behavior gap
  • values-action gap
  • sustainable labeling
  • sustainable consumption incentives and barriers
  • sustainability
  • anti-consumption
  • ecological citizenship

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
UGC Sharing Motives and Their Effects on UGC Sharing Intention from Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives: Focusing on Content Creators in South Korea
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179644 - 27 Aug 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Recently, user-generated content (UGC) has been in the limelight. This study investigates why Internet users share their own UGC and reveals how the motives behind UGC sharing affect UGC sharing intentions both quantitatively and qualitatively. Based on motivations established in existing online communication [...] Read more.
Recently, user-generated content (UGC) has been in the limelight. This study investigates why Internet users share their own UGC and reveals how the motives behind UGC sharing affect UGC sharing intentions both quantitatively and qualitatively. Based on motivations established in existing online communication literature, theoretical UGC motives are identified. Using online surveys administered to 300 users in South Korea, factor analysis is performed to identify empirical UGC sharing motives, and regression analyses shows how UGC sharing motives affect UGC sharing intention in terms of quality and quantity. A total of 10 theoretical UGC motives are consequently factorized into five motives. It is revealed that three motives—self-creation, self-expression, and reward—are related to individual purposes. Users get enjoyment from creating content, they want to be recognized by others, and further expect to be rewarded socially and economically. The other two motives, community commitment and social relationships, are related to social purposes. Users share UGC as a means of communication, desire feedback from others, and want to feel a sense of belonging within certain communities. All of these motives positively affect UGC sharing intention. This is the first study to empirically clarify UGC sharing motives. In addition, this study reveals UGC-centric self-creation and self-expression motives, which have not been the focus of previous online communication studies. Finally, the research results suggest how UGC site managers can adopt practical strategies related to UGC management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
Insights from a Survey of Texas Gulf Coast Residents on the Social Factors Contributing to Willingness to Consume and Purchase Lionfish
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9621; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179621 - 26 Aug 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) are the first marine teleost to become established in the Western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Lionfish have been labeled a global conservation issue and pose major threats to local economies. [...] Read more.
Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) are the first marine teleost to become established in the Western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Lionfish have been labeled a global conservation issue and pose major threats to local economies. To test whether commercial harvest of lionfish is a socially accepted management approach in Texas, we measured the components of an environmental behavior intention model with survey responses of Texas Gulf Coast residents (n = 420). Regression analyses of survey responses indicate that individuals were significantly more willing to consume lionfish if they had a high level of concern for the environmental problems posed by the invasive species and were more knowledgeable about the fish. Participation in an educational program that addresses lionfish was also found to be associated with greater willingness to consume lionfish among those who are moderately to highly concerned about the issue. The originality of this study is related to its contribution in identifying social factors that contribute to an individual’s willingness to consume lionfish. Insights from this study demonstrate the attitudinal and behavioral mechanisms that can be addressed to increase acceptance of using consumption as a sustainable management strategy to combat marine fish invasions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
How Spatial Distance and Message Strategy in Cause-Related Marketing Ads Influence Consumers’ Ad Believability and Attitudes
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6775; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126775 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Corporations have engaged in cause-related marketing (CRM) based on consumer expectations toward ethical and sustainable corporate management. However, it is equally important to understand how to do so effectively. The role of cause proximity has been examined as an important factor that determines [...] Read more.
Corporations have engaged in cause-related marketing (CRM) based on consumer expectations toward ethical and sustainable corporate management. However, it is equally important to understand how to do so effectively. The role of cause proximity has been examined as an important factor that determines the effectiveness of CRM messages. Limited research, however, has considered moderating variables in the context of cause proximity. This study aimed to investigate the effect of the interplay between cause proximity and message strategy on attitudes toward the ad and ad believability. Based on an experimental design, this study applies construal level theory to demonstrate the effect of a construal fit between the spatial distance of the cause and how the message is presented on consumer attitudes toward ads and ad believability. Results show that the effects of message strategy mattered only for the global CRM cause. Furthermore, the findings show a mediating role of ad believability between cause proximity and message strategy on attitude toward the ad. This study provides empirical evidence for the advantage of using abstract messages in maximizing consumer reactions such as attitudes and believability when addressing global causes in CRM ad campaigns. Specifically, it offers insights on the impact of a matched condition between the spatial distance of the cause and language abstractness in CRM advertising. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
Consumer Adoption of Consumer-Created vs. Expert-Created Information: Moderating Role of Prior Product Attitude
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042024 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 485
Abstract
Today, consumer-created information such as online consumer reviews have become important and popular, playing a key role in consumer decision making. Compared with expert-created information, each piece of information is less powerful or persuasive, but their aggregation can be more credible and acceptable. [...] Read more.
Today, consumer-created information such as online consumer reviews have become important and popular, playing a key role in consumer decision making. Compared with expert-created information, each piece of information is less powerful or persuasive, but their aggregation can be more credible and acceptable. This concept is called collective intelligence knowledge. This study focuses on the persuasive effect on consumer product attitudes of consumer-created information compared to expert-created information. Using source credibility and familiarity theory, the study reveals how prior brand attitudes can play a moderating role in the persuasive effect of consumer-created information and expert-created information. Specifically, this study shows how consumer-created information is more persuasive when consumers have more favorable prior brand attitudes, while expert-created information is more persuasive when consumers have less favorable prior brand attitudes. Based on the results, this study proposes practical strategies for information structure, curation, and presentation. If a company has a good-quality brand evaluation of its products, it should increase the weight of consumer-created information such as online consumer reviews. Otherwise, the company needs to first improve brand evaluation through expert-created information such as third-parties or power-blogger reviews. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior in Sustainable Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Maramures County, Romania
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041812 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1168
Abstract
The article explores consumer behavior in the context of sustainable consumption and the changes related to healthy food that have occurred during the pandemic. The study seeks to identify the factors that influenced consumer behavior on the consumption of fruits and vegetables. For [...] Read more.
The article explores consumer behavior in the context of sustainable consumption and the changes related to healthy food that have occurred during the pandemic. The study seeks to identify the factors that influenced consumer behavior on the consumption of fruits and vegetables. For this purpose, a questionnaire was applied to a sample of 1230 people from Maramures County, Romania. This study evaluates consumer behavior and attitudes on sustainable healthy food consumption; determining factors of consumer behavior are established by the needs, knowledge, selection of quality products, and the degree of culture and education in health diet issues. The study also presents a specific classification for fruits and vegetables in terms of consumer preferences and the clustering of local consumers by their interest in healthy food habits according to consumer culture, consumer loyalty, consumer needs, and consumer knowledge. In this study, it was revealed that consumer behavior consumption is not influenced by age, gender, or education. As a result of the correlation analysis, a positive relation was identified between the consumer preference, consumer attitude, and consumer behavior variables. The results of this study offer practical solutions and directions for future research on redesigning sustainable development of local, traditional foods. The new trend focuses on brand offerings and consumer needs for quality food and shows the consumer’s ethnocentrism and orientation for practical solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
Evaluating the Perception of Socially Responsible Consumers: The Case of Products Derived from Organic Beef
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10166; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310166 - 05 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2194
Abstract
Among the Sustainable Development Objectives adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, is the 12th objective of Ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns which aims to promote the efficient use of resources, energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructures, access to basic services, [...] Read more.
Among the Sustainable Development Objectives adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, is the 12th objective of Ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns which aims to promote the efficient use of resources, energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructures, access to basic services, ecological support, decent jobs; and a better quality of life for all. In this line, our study illustrates a real case of farm producers who propose to transform the farm into an ecological entity with aim of safe and quality food production based on the sustainable production techniques and processes. This research outlines the market study that clarifies which consumers’ perceptions could be suitable for the ecological products derived from the organic bovine cattle. The primary data were obtained from the questionnaire survey conducted at supermarkets in Spain. The research sample comprised 330 respondents from Andalusia region. Results proved that the importance of the perceived value of products derived from organic beef was established in the following way: Price > Ethics > Health > Hedonism > Quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
Empirical Identification of Latent Classes in the Assessment of Information Asymmetry and Manipulation in Online Advertising
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208693 - 20 Oct 2020
Viewed by 589
Abstract
This study’s purpose was to perform an identification analysis of the latent class in assessing information asymmetry and manipulation in online advertising. The title problem fits into the current research on sustainability with the focus on sustainable advertising and the role of modern [...] Read more.
This study’s purpose was to perform an identification analysis of the latent class in assessing information asymmetry and manipulation in online advertising. The title problem fits into the current research on sustainability with the focus on sustainable advertising and the role of modern marketing. This article presents the results of a quantitative study (N = 138) conducted among young Poles. The obtained data were subjected to latent class analysis, which allowed for three groups of respondents to be distinguished. It turned out that the respondents differ from each other in terms of susceptibility to manipulation by online advertising and the awareness thereof, which is clearly distinguished by hidden variables. Therefore, in the discussion on information asymmetry in advertising, we should take into account the obvious demographic variables and the factors that respondents often do not declare in surveys and interviews. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
Effects of Perceived Sustainability Level of Sportswear Product on Purchase Intention: Exploring the Roles of Perceived Skepticism and Perceived Brand Reputation
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8650; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208650 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1192
Abstract
Fashion companies are trying to increase the efficiency of their communication with consumers by providing information on sustainable activities or product levels. This study explored the effects of the perceived sustainability level of products offered by sports brands. An online survey was conducted [...] Read more.
Fashion companies are trying to increase the efficiency of their communication with consumers by providing information on sustainable activities or product levels. This study explored the effects of the perceived sustainability level of products offered by sports brands. An online survey was conducted of consumers in their 20s and 30s, and a total of 316 questionnaires were used for the analysis. The structural equation model analysis using AMOS showed that the perceived sustainability level had a positive effect on purchase intention and a negative effect on perceived skepticism. Furthermore, perceived skepticism was confirmed to have a negative effect on purchase intention. By verifying the moderating effect of the perceived brand reputation, it was confirmed that the effect of the perceived sustainability level on purchase intention and the influence of the perceived skepticism on purchase intention differ between high and low brand reputation groups. When the perceived brand reputation is high, the perceived sustainability level has only a direct effect on purchase intention, whereas when the perceived brand reputation is low, only the indirect effect of perceived skepticism appears. This study contributes to the literature and practice by verifying that perceived skepticism plays an important role in the purchasing behavior of sustainable products in fashion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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Article
The Effect of Sensory Satiety on Perceived Benefits: The Case of Aesthetic Consumption in South Korea
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8637; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208637 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Repeated exposure to aesthetic design results in consumers experiencing satiation because of sensory satiety. In other words, being consistently exposed to aesthetic stimuli activates consumers’ sensory satiety, defined as the drop in sensory pleasure, and the resulting reduction of their value of aesthetic [...] Read more.
Repeated exposure to aesthetic design results in consumers experiencing satiation because of sensory satiety. In other words, being consistently exposed to aesthetic stimuli activates consumers’ sensory satiety, defined as the drop in sensory pleasure, and the resulting reduction of their value of aesthetic products ultimately leads to switching intentions. That is, sensory satiety reduces functional and emotional benefits. Furthermore, consumers are unlikely to recall every item they have consumed, and are instead likely to focus on a particular option. Thus, this study predicts that consumers can recover from satiation over time. This research proposes that both satiation and accustomedness negatively affect functional benefit. As an empirical study, the research uses a multiple regression model for two purposes: The first is to test the impact of sensory satiety on perceived benefits, and the second is to observe the change in sensory satiety over time. We find that satiation and accustomedness, as sub-dimensional scales of sensory satiety, reduce perceived benefits. The results showed that it is clear that only satiation reduced functional benefits, whereas both satiation and accustomedness reduced emotional benefits. In addition, our study confirms the change in sensory satiety over time. Consumers who have been continuously exposed to, and used, aesthetic products become accustomed to them and feel satiated. Based on these results, this study will be useful for the sustainability of the product life cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
Article
Sustainable vs. Unsustainable Food Consumption Behaviour: A Study among Students from Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4699; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114699 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2051
Abstract
The importance of studying the aspects related to the sustainable food consumption behaviour of students lies in the fact that, at this age, they begin to develop certain consumption patterns that will have long-term effects. The study aimed to identify the type of [...] Read more.
The importance of studying the aspects related to the sustainable food consumption behaviour of students lies in the fact that, at this age, they begin to develop certain consumption patterns that will have long-term effects. The study aimed to identify the type of eating behaviour—sustainable vs. unsustainable—and the socio-demographic factors that influence it, among students in Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova. The research method was a survey based on a questionnaire administered to a sample of 2378 subjects in the 2017–2018 period. The ANOVA test and simple linear regression were used to identify the correlation between the various variables analysed. The results indicate both positive aspects, which characterise a sustainable diet—high consumption of fruits and vegetables, and negative—the adoption of a mixed diet, which will have a long-term impact on the environment. Age is a good predictor of unhealthy eating habits among students, as this behaviour leads to weight gain. Gender, number of household members, rural/urban and country residence are also influencing factors for food consumption behaviour. Eating while standing and having the last meal of the day after 23:00 are practices that also have negative consequences for health. Conducting campaigns to educate students on the adoption of sustainable food consumption is necessary for all three countries to empower them to choose a healthy lifestyle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumption: Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors)
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