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 10: Unsustainable travel becoming (more) sustainable

Tommy Gärling and Margareta Friman

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


Fast motorized transportation of people and cargo is essential in contemporary societies with their specialization of functions at different locations. Cargo needs to be transported between different units in the manufacturing process as well as from manufacturers to retailers. People need to travel to and from work, shops and other locations. It is not likely that telecommunication in the future will substantially reduce the need for physical travel (Moktharian et al. 2006). Neither is it likely that electronic commerce will (Rotem-Mindali and Weltenwreden 2013). For the benefits of the individual as well as society, time for travel could be spent in better ways. In urban areas of developed countries, travel still contributes to well-being by increasing opportunities for residents to purchase the most attractive goods at the lowest prices, patronize the best restaurants, visit recreational places, attend entertaining and cultural events, and meet with relatives and friends (Leyden et al. 2011; Reardon and Abdallah 2013). In sparsely populated rural areas travel is essential for sustenance. Some travel is also enjoyed for its own sake (Moktharian and Salomon 2001). Examples include driving a new car or enjoying a recreational sailing trip in the sunshine. Today for busy people in the workforce, travel furthermore provides the privacy and time for recovery from stress (Hartig 2007). If not for recreation, travel allows work at a distance, including reading memos, preparing for meetings and using available telecommunication devices (Ettema and Verschuren 2007).

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