Chapter 1, ‘Introduction to A Research Agenda for Sustainable Consumption Governance’ by Oksana Mont sets the scene for the book by discussing sustainable consumption as a grand challenge. It identifies unsustainable consumption and production patterns and levels as one of the main contributing factors to the grand sustainability challenges. Reasons for failure to address unsustainable consumption and production patterns and levels are briefly explained. The chapter argues for the need to employ governance approach as opposed to government intervention when engaging with such a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon as unsustainable consumption. The state of research in sustainable consumption research field in the past three decades is assessed with the help of bibliometric analysis. It indicates that sustainable consumption is a slowly developing field of research. Weak sustainable consumption research, which the chapter calls system optimization, and strong sustainable consumption research, called system reorientation, are discussed and directions for future research are highlighted for each of them. Finally, the chapter argues that this dichotomy might be problematic and a third perspective - system transformation - is outlined.
Edited by Oksana Mont
Oksana Mont and Eva Heiskanen
Oksana Mont, Yuliya Voytenko Palgan and Lucie Zvolska
The sharing economy is a fast-evolving field, but there are gaps in understanding how and why it emerges, evolves and becomes institutionalized. City governments play an important role in shaping the institutional environment of sharing economy organizations (SEOs). However, little is known about the institutional work of SEOs and city governments, and how it can help to leverage the sustainability potential of the sharing economy. This chapter aims to address these gaps by combining conceptual insights from neo-institutional theory with empirical data from five cities: Berlin, London, Malmö, San Francisco and Seoul. The mechanisms of institutional work of SEOs are analyzed using a framework developed by Lawrence and Suddaby and adapted by Zvolska and colleagues, which we modify to reflect the mechanisms of institutional work of city governments. Empirical data sources include case studies of SEOs, field observations and 80 in-depth interviews. Empirical examples illustrate the institutional work of SEOs and city governments. This chapter contributes to neo-institutional theory by testing the framework for institutional work against empirical data from SEOs, third-party actors and five city governments. It contributes to research on the sharing economy by adapting the framework for institutional work to the new agent, city government.