Young people as drivers or inhibitors of the sustainability movement

  • As overconsumption has negative effects on ecological balance, social equality, and individual well-being, reducing consumption levels among the materially affluent is an emerging strategy for sustainable development. Today's youth form a crucial target group for intervening in unsustainable overconsumption habits and for setting the path and ideas on responsible living. This article explores young people's motivations for engaging in three behavioural patterns linked to anti-consumption (voluntary simplicity, collaborative consumption, and living within one's means) in relation to sustainability. Applying a qualitative approach, laddering interviews reveal the consequences and values behind the anti-consumption behaviours of young people of ages 14 to 24 according to a means-end chains analysis. The findings highlight potential for and the challenges involved in motivating young people to reduce material levels of consumption for the sake of sustainability. Related consumer policy tools from the fields of education and communicationAs overconsumption has negative effects on ecological balance, social equality, and individual well-being, reducing consumption levels among the materially affluent is an emerging strategy for sustainable development. Today's youth form a crucial target group for intervening in unsustainable overconsumption habits and for setting the path and ideas on responsible living. This article explores young people's motivations for engaging in three behavioural patterns linked to anti-consumption (voluntary simplicity, collaborative consumption, and living within one's means) in relation to sustainability. Applying a qualitative approach, laddering interviews reveal the consequences and values behind the anti-consumption behaviours of young people of ages 14 to 24 according to a means-end chains analysis. The findings highlight potential for and the challenges involved in motivating young people to reduce material levels of consumption for the sake of sustainability. Related consumer policy tools from the fields of education and communication are identified. This article provides practical implications for policy makers, activists, and educators. Consumer policies may strengthen anti-consumption among young people by addressing individual benefits, enabling reflection on personal values, and referencing credible narratives. The presented insights can help give a voice to young consumers, who struggle to establish themselves as key players in shaping the future consumption regime.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author details:Florence ZiesemerORCiD, Alexandra HüttelORCiDGND, Ingo BalderjahnORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-021-09489-x
ISSN:0168-7034
ISSN:1573-0700
Title of parent work (English):Journal of consumer policy : consumer issues in law, economics and behavioural sciences
Subtitle (English):the case of anti-consumption
Publisher:Springer
Place of publishing:New York
Publication type:Article
Language:English
Date of first publication:2021/05/15
Publication year:2021
Release date:2022/11/23
Tag:Collaborative consumption; Laddering interviews; Means-end chain analysis; Sustainable; Voluntary simplicity; Youth; consumption
Volume:44
Issue:3
Number of pages:27
First page:427
Last Page:453
Funding institution:Projekt DEAL
Organizational units:Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Fachgruppe Betriebswirtschaftslehre
DDC classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 65 Management, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit / 650 Management und unterstützende Tätigkeiten
Peer review:Referiert
Publishing method:Open Access / Hybrid Open-Access
License (German):License LogoCC-BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International
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