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Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 25595

Special Issue Editors

Department of Management and Business Economics, Universidad de León, León, Spain
Interests: consumer behavior; sustainable consumption; green consumerism; education for sustainability; fair trade; corporate social responsibility

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, an increasing number of consumers are becoming more educated and conscious of major environmental and social problems such as global charming, natural disasters and inequalities between countries, and they therefore claim for sustainable products and alternative product methods. On this basis, this Special Issue focuses on recent perspectives and new developments regarding consumers’ perceptions, motivations and behaviors related to sustainable products. The purpose is to get some major insights regarding the drivers of sustainable consumer behavior, by analyzing how consumers search for information on product responsibility, evaluate such information when making purchase decisions, and cause specific impacts through their responsible acts. Topics in the scope of this Special Issue include (but not exclusively) green consumerism, sustainable consumption patterns and motivations, consumers’ perceptions on sustainable actions and policies by business and institutions, the role of education to promote sustainable consumer behavior, value co-creation in sustainable consumption and the fight against green washing.

The understanding of the facilitators of sustainable consumer behavior has been a topic of great interest in recent marketing literature (Ripple et al. 2017; White et al. 2019). Many authors conclude that those businesses able to adapt to consumers’ urgent demand for sustainability will enjoy strategic benefits (Banerjee et al. 2003; Brown and Dacin 1997; Hopkins et al. 2009, Luo and Bhattacharya 2006; Olsen et al. 2014; Sen and Bhattacharya 2001). However, the encouragement of sustainable consumer behavior is usually constrained by an “attitude-behavior gap” commonly observed in sustainability contexts. Then, although consumers report favorable attitudes toward sustainability, they often do not subsequently display sustainable actions (Auger and Devinney 2007; Gatersleben et al. 2002; Young et al. 2010). This Special Issue aims to outline a comprehensive framework on key drivers of sustainable consumer behavior change.

References:

  1. Auger, P. & Devinney, T. M. Do what consumers say matter? The misalignment of preferences with unconstrained ethical intentions. Bus. Ethics2007, 76, 361–383.
  2. Banerjee, S. B., Iyer, E. S. & Kashyap, R. K. Corporate environmentalism: Antecedents and influence of industry type. Mark. 2003, 67, 106–122.
  3. Brown, T. J. & Dacin, P. A. The company and the product: Corporate associations and consumer product responses. Mark. 1997, 61, 68–84.
  4. Gatersleben, B., Steg, L. & Vlek, C. Measurement and determinants of environmentally significant consumer behavior. Behav. 2002, 34, 335–362.
  5. Hopkins, M. S., Townend, A., Khayat, Z. & Balagopal, B., Reeves, M. & Berns, M. The business of sustainability: What it means to managers now. MIT Sloan Rev. 2009, 51, 20.
  6. Luo, X. & Bhattacharya. C. B. Corporate social responsibility, customer satisfaction, and market value. Mark. 2006, 70, 1–18.
  7. Olsen, M. C., Slotegraaf, R. J. & Chandukala, S. R. Green claims and message frames: How green new products change brand attitude. Mark. 2014, 78, 119–137.
  8. Ripple, W. J., Wolf, C., Newsome, T. M., Galetti, M., Alamgir, M., Crist, E. et al. World scientists’ warning to Humanity: A second notice. BioScience, 2017, 67, 1026–1028.
  9. Sen, S. & Bhattacharya, C. B. (2001). Does doing good always lead to doing better? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility. Mark. Res. 2001, 38, 225–243.
  10. White, K., Habib, R., & Hardisty, D. J. (2019). How to SHIFT consumer behaviors to be more sustainable: A literature review and guiding framework. Journal of Marketing, 2019, 83, 22–49.
  11. Young, W., Hwang, K., McDonald, S. & Oates, C. J. (2010). Sustainable consumption: Green consumer behaviour when purchasing products. Dev. 2010, 18, 20–31.
Prof. José Luis Vázquez Burguete
Prof. Dr. Ana Lanero Carrizo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable development
  • sustainable consumer behavior
  • green marketing
  • social marketing
  • sustainability education
  • corporate social responsibility

Published Papers (8 papers)

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22 pages, 4548 KiB  
Article
Exploring Customer Behavior in Shopping Malls: A Study of Rest Areas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Sustainability 2023, 15(12), 9169; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129169 - 06 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
The city of Dubai has a population of 3.34 million and boasts 65 shopping malls, with an additional 10 currently under construction. As a result of the oppressive climate, shopping malls have emerged as de facto community centers and public squares where Dubai [...] Read more.
The city of Dubai has a population of 3.34 million and boasts 65 shopping malls, with an additional 10 currently under construction. As a result of the oppressive climate, shopping malls have emerged as de facto community centers and public squares where Dubai residents can congregate, socialize, and participate in various events. This paper aims to examine the spatial features of indoor and outdoor rest areas within Dubai’s shopping malls and identify key factors that can enhance user satisfaction in each area. To achieve this, literature studies were conducted to extract evaluation factors, such as comfort, aesthetics, convenience, and accessibility for rest areas adjacent to the escalator, restroom, open corridor, and outdoor locations. An empirical study was then carried out, where field observations and user-satisfaction surveys were conducted in the indoor and outdoor rest areas of three prominent malls, namely the Dubai Mall, Dubai Festival City, and Mirdif City Center. The results of the study indicate that in open-corridor rest areas, easy access was highly rated in the satisfaction survey, while noise and privacy maintenance received lower ratings. Comparatively, outdoor rest areas scored higher on the satisfaction survey than indoor rest areas, such as the rest area next to the escalator, open-corridor rest area, and rest area next to the bathroom. This study’s findings can provide a foundation for future rest-area planning that better reflects the needs and desires of users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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11 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
A Longitudinal Study on Sustainability Perceptions in Portugal
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 5893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075893 - 28 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1073
Abstract
This study aims to advance the understanding of sustainable behaviour by exploring the perceptions, knowledge, and opinions about the sustainability of nearly graduated students in Portugal. A three-wave exploratory and longitudinal study was conducted with Management and Marketing students in 2020, 2021, and [...] Read more.
This study aims to advance the understanding of sustainable behaviour by exploring the perceptions, knowledge, and opinions about the sustainability of nearly graduated students in Portugal. A three-wave exploratory and longitudinal study was conducted with Management and Marketing students in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The findings come from both quantitative and qualitative approaches. First, the results reveal low levels of knowledge about sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals, and other related concepts. Then, by a qualitative analysis, this study highlights the terms related to sustainability and perceived sustainable practices. It also examines changes perceived since the COVID-19 pandemic and what their threats and opportunities in the coming years are. The main conclusion of this study is the critical need for education on sustainability and related concepts beyond simple recycling practices. The use of sustainability as a marketing tool is insufficient to create a viable future. Higher education must develop a new shared and sustainable vision for sustainability education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
23 pages, 2631 KiB  
Article
Why Do Consumers Switch to Biodegradable Plastic Consumption? The Effect of Push, Pull and Mooring on the Plastic Consumption Intention of Young Consumers
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15819; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315819 - 28 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
Recent economic growth has increased human concern for the environment, especially in developing countries. Because of this paradigm shift, the Chinese population in particular has become more aware of problems with plastic pollution. To reduce the usage of single-use plastics in the nation, [...] Read more.
Recent economic growth has increased human concern for the environment, especially in developing countries. Because of this paradigm shift, the Chinese population in particular has become more aware of problems with plastic pollution. To reduce the usage of single-use plastics in the nation, this study intended to ascertain the switching intention of Chinese young consumers towards the use of biodegradable plastics. Drawing upon the push–pull–mooring model and institutional theory, this study investigates the push factors, including environmental threats, knowledge, and the strict regulative environment; pull factors, including alternative attractiveness and normative environment; and mooring factors, such as cost switching and self-efficacy. The important findings of this study indicated that all PPM factors except environmental knowledge have an impact on the intention of switching to biodegradable plastics. It was also found that mooring factors significantly moderate switching. We offer important theoretical and practical implications for policymakers and businesses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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20 pages, 1624 KiB  
Article
Exploring Sustainable Fashion Consumption Behavior in the Post-Pandemic Era: Changes in the Antecedents of Second-Hand Clothing-Sharing in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9566; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159566 - 04 Aug 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6606
Abstract
Second-hand consumption of clothing plays a vital role in promoting the overall global trend of low-carbon transition; however, the COVID-19 outbreak put this consumption model into a development dilemma. Cultivating consumers’ sustainable behavior will be an effective way to promote the sustainable development [...] Read more.
Second-hand consumption of clothing plays a vital role in promoting the overall global trend of low-carbon transition; however, the COVID-19 outbreak put this consumption model into a development dilemma. Cultivating consumers’ sustainable behavior will be an effective way to promote the sustainable development of the apparel industry. Based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT), this study starts with fashion-sharing behavior and investigates the antecedents that influence consumers’ use of second-hand clothing-sharing platforms in the post-pandemic era. The research background involves the Chinese clothing-sharing market in the growing period. The findings revealed that the pandemic raised people’s awareness of health and hygiene protection. In addition, the cleaning problem of platform clothing has become the primary reason for curbing consumers’ choice of sharing. High-cost performance, high efficiency, and convenience can stimulate consumers to use shared services. Considering that the pandemic has driven consumer economic fluctuations, perceived economic risks could widen the gap between willingness and behavior. In conclusion, platforms must fully realize the transparency of the clothing cleaning and maintenance process, improve their own construction level such as ease of use, convenience, and safety, and incorporate functional clothing-sharing to refine people’s sustainable consumption habits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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16 pages, 1132 KiB  
Article
Business Customer Satisfaction with B2B Consulting Services: AHP-Based Criteria for a New Perspective
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127437 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2751
Abstract
The paper aims to take a novel look to customer satisfaction with B2B service through the lens of customer perception of service quality criterions. By literature review, service quality models define sets of key factors, however, do not rank them by significance. Based [...] Read more.
The paper aims to take a novel look to customer satisfaction with B2B service through the lens of customer perception of service quality criterions. By literature review, service quality models define sets of key factors, however, do not rank them by significance. Based on AHP analysis of expert interview results, we argue that the current models of service quality reflect business customer perceptions partially. This is a gap in B2B service quality knowledge that this study seeks to fill. The quality criterions play a role in building a positive balance between the customers’ expected and perceived value of services. Thus, we propose the model of customer satisfaction with factors divided into essential, significant, sufficient, and marginal according to their level of significance. The model may encourage academics to understand customer satisfaction criteria in service quality not only as generic sets but also at the importance of the criteria themselves in relation to each other. In the aspect of practical implication, the model can help B2B enterprises to rationally manage resources on set quality priorities to achieve customer satisfaction and, hence, to ensure organization sustainability by more effective organizational resource management. The model also can benefit B2B customers when considering service providers capable of delivering service quality which meets the expectations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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14 pages, 1666 KiB  
Article
Comparing the Recommendations of Buyers of Energy-Efficient and Inefficient Vacuum Cleaners
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 12988; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132312988 - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 2090
Abstract
Although environmental awareness is increasing every year, and most people say they prefer to buy more sustainable products, many still do not act on their promise at the cash counter. Sustainable products are often still perceived to have lower quality or reduced performance. [...] Read more.
Although environmental awareness is increasing every year, and most people say they prefer to buy more sustainable products, many still do not act on their promise at the cash counter. Sustainable products are often still perceived to have lower quality or reduced performance. Recommendations of sustainable buyers might reduce this perceived risk of sustainability. In this research, the Net-Promotor-Scores (NPS) and the underlying reasons for such recommendations of 888 vacuum cleaner buyers were analyzed. The buyers of energy-efficient vacuum cleaners were found to be significantly less positive about their purchase. A difference in scores is, however, not caused by the difference in the energy efficiency of the products, but by differences in other drivers to recommend a product, such as perceived cleaning performance, ease of use and value for money. Additionally, higher suction power and increased weight positively mediated NPS ratings, irrespective of energy efficiency. Focusing design and communication on these aspects rather than on energy efficiency alone can be used to reduce the perceived green risk and increase trust in sustainable products. In this way, recommendations of buyers of energy-efficient appliances can be an effective additional tool in increasing sustainable consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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18 pages, 1273 KiB  
Article
Mobile Phone Buying Decisions among Young Adults: An Empirical Study of Influencing Factors
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910705 - 27 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5827
Abstract
Owing to the novelty and dynamism of mobile phone shopping behavior of adults within the context of contemporary social, technological, and market norms necessitated the need to study this phenomenon frequently. In the same league, there is a pressing need to empirically examine [...] Read more.
Owing to the novelty and dynamism of mobile phone shopping behavior of adults within the context of contemporary social, technological, and market norms necessitated the need to study this phenomenon frequently. In the same league, there is a pressing need to empirically examine the mobile shopping behavior of young adults in Pakistan. This paper examines the factors influencing mobile phone shopping behavior within the context of young adults in Pakistan. First, a questionnaire-based survey consisting of a five-point Likert scale was conducted. A total of 416 respondents provided their complete responses. Then, we employed the structural equation modeling (SEM) model using AMOS 24 to empirically test the hypothesized model. The empirical results revealed that price and attractiveness positively influence mobile phone buying behavior among young adults in Pakistan. On the other hand, Service Encounter, Convenience, Avoidance of Core Service Failure, and Response have negative but statistically insignificant influences on mobile phone buying behavior in Pakistan. This finding revealed that the mobile shopping behavior of young Pakistani adults is predominantly influenced by the price of mobile phones and their attractiveness. Therefore, it is highly recommended that companies need to offer affordable mobile phone prices. Additionally, the attractiveness of the mobile phone needs to be maintained at competitive prices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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20 pages, 4351 KiB  
Systematic Review
Connecting Social Enterprises and Sustainable Consumption: Systematic Review, Bibliometric Analysis, and Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13428; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013428 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1276
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to explore the meeting point between social enterprises (SEs) and sustainable consumption, given the proven potential of these hybrid organizations in the achievement of sustainable development. Paradoxically, scholarly attention has been scarce to this field of research, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to explore the meeting point between social enterprises (SEs) and sustainable consumption, given the proven potential of these hybrid organizations in the achievement of sustainable development. Paradoxically, scholarly attention has been scarce to this field of research, particularly from the perspectives of SE products and (potential) customers. Aiming to shed some light, a systematic literature review was conducted, resulting in 24 scientific publications descriptively and thematically explored based on a bibliometric analysis. The findings show that the link between SEs and sustainable consumption is very recent and that empirical articles using quantitative methodologies prevail focused on the analysis of capabilities and performances of SEs aiming to positively influence customers’ response. Nevertheless, the attention to the identification of product attributes and the individual determinants effective enough to press the buy button is still limited. In response to this shortcoming, the originality of this study consists of assembling the findings in this regard into an integrated conceptual framework that paves the way for future analysis in this field of study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Consumer Behavior: Perspectives and Developments)
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