Sufficiency Transitions : Realizing Consumption Changes for Environmental Sustainability

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Title: Sufficiency Transitions : Realizing Consumption Changes for Environmental Sustainability
Author: Sandberg, Maria
Contributor organization: Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Svenska handelshögskolan, Institutionen för marknadsföring, Marknadsföring
Publisher: Hanken School of Economics
Date: 2022-01-13
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Economics and Society ; 358 - Ekonomi och samhälle ; 358
ISBN: 978-952-232-460-3978-952-232-459-7 (printed)
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
Discipline: Marketing
Abstract: Environmental problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss demand urgent action, with sufficiency increasingly forwarded as a means to halt environmental degradation. As an approach to (environmentally) sustainable consumption, sufficiency posits that reducing environmental footprints requires substantial changes in consumption patterns among high-consuming classes, including reduced consumption levels. Understanding how we can realize these much-needed changes in consumption patterns is essential if change is to happen. This thesis aims to improve our understanding of sufficiency transitions by addressing the following three research questions: 1) What is the normative justification for sufficiency transitions? 2) What consumption changes does sufficiency entail? 3) How can sufficiency transitions be realized? The thesis consists of three articles that together respond to the research questions of the thesis. The thesis uses three complementary research methods: Article 1 is a conceptual analysis of the normative foundations of sufficiency, Article 2 is a literature review of sufficiency research, and Article 3 is an empirical study of sufficiency in the context of downsizing of housing. The thesis provides a normative argument for a focus on sufficiency in transitions toward more sustainable modes of consumption. It identifies the types of consumption changes that sufficiency may entail (absolute reductions, modal shifts, product longevity, and sharing practices) and shows the consumption changes that are required in the consumption categories of housing, nutrition, mobility, and miscellaneous consumption. In addition, the thesis shows sufficiency transitions to require changes along several dimensions, including consumer attitudes and behavior, culture, the economic system, the political system, and the physical environment. In particular, the thesis shows how socio-cultural meanings and norms can be negotiated to realize sufficiency transitions. The thesis also identifies actors that can advance sufficiency transitions, including businesses, policymakers, citizens, NGOs, and educators. The findings of this thesis can be a starting point for practitioners working to realize sufficiency transitions, as well as for future academic research on sufficiency transitions.
Subject: degrowth
sufficiency transitions
sustainability transitions
sustainable consumption

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