Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Sustainable Consumption

Handbook of Research on Sustainable Consumption

Edited by Lucia A. Reisch and John Thøgersen

This Handbook compiles the state of the art of current research on sustainable consumption from the world’s leading experts in the field. The implementation of sustainable consumption presents one of the greatest challenges and opportunities we are faced with today. On the one hand, consumption is a wanted and necessary phenomenon important for society and the economy. On the other, our means of consumption contradicts many important ecological and social long-term goals. Set against this background, the Handbook aims to offer an interdisciplinary overview of recent research on sustainable consumption, to draw attention to this subject and to encourage discussion and debate. In 27 chapters, leading authorities in the field provide their expertise in a concise and accessible manner.

Chapter 4: Environmental psychology and sustainable consumption

Linda Steg

Subjects: economics and finance, behavioural and experimental economics, economic psychology, environment, ecological economics, environmental sociology


Environmental psychology studies the transaction between human and the built and natural environment (Gifford 2007; Steg et al. 2012). On the one hand environmental psychologists examine how environmental conditions affect our thought, behaviour and well-being. This can provide important insights in whether and how different environmental (or: situational) factors affect environmental behaviour and sustainable consumption. Also it reveals which environmental conditions threaten or enhance wellbeing that could be changed by promoting sustainable consumption. On the other hand environmental psychologists study how to encourage pro-environmental behaviour and sustainable consumption. The latter involves understanding which factors affect sustainable consumption, and which strategies can be effectively employed to promote sustainable consumption. In doing so environmental psychologists tend to consider individual, social, cultural and situational factors influencing behaviour (change), as will be exemplified later in this chapter.

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