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Vapaaehtoisesti vaatimaton – kestävä kulutus osana kuluttajaidentiteettiä

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Title: Vapaaehtoisesti vaatimaton – kestävä kulutus osana kuluttajaidentiteettiä
Author: Näkki, Kirsi
Belongs to series: Selvityksiä - 48
ISSN: 1455-8211
Abstract: The goal of my study was to find out reasons for sustainable consumption habits through consumer identity. I focused on voluntary simplicity as a consumer identity, its motives and its limits for consumption. Also collective and personal interests were discussed from the point of view of sustainable consumption. The empirical part of the research consists of 12 interviews. The target group included high-educated parents of small children who value environmental protection. I got the interviewees through "Vihreä lanka" -journal, "Ylevi" (an internet discussion page of the Greens) and faculty e-mail lists. I wrote a summary of each interview and I analysed the data by dividing it into themes. The reliability of the data was tested by letting the interviewees read the summary of their interview.

This research shows that sustainable consumption is not easy to follow for the level of western consumption is very high. Some of the interviewees found sustainable consumption easy to follow in their everyday consumption choices while others found it easier through big consumption choices with long-term effects. The motives for sustainable consumption were found from values, a sense of duty toward the environment and a desire to keep it as good as possible for the children. Also the support of a close person was important. The most important factors for sustainable consumption were own attitude and strong will.

The interviewees defined their own limits of consumption and were not willing to cross these limits. Nevertheless, the limits could be altered if the living situation changed. A person’s pain threshold was the reason for not having given up all of the unsustainable consumption habits. The birth of children changed consumption habits because of new needs. Parents also wanted to set a good example for their children.

Sustainable consumption is a collective interest from the point of view of environmental protection. The interviewees felt that policymakers contribute more to economical than ecological development. The interviewees carried out collective interest by consuming sustainably even though they didn’t feel it gave them any direct benefit. In some cases the benefits of sustainable consumption could be experienced as an individual advantage.

Sustainable consumption has no clear limits. The limits of own consumer identity help to make decisions of consumption. Moral pleasure and the control of own consumption act as more important spurs for sustainable consumption than social norms and economical goads. At the end voluntarily chosen simple consumption is always connected with the own will of the consumer.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1975/795
Date: 2006-12-05

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