Sustainable consumer behavior is consumers‘ behaviors that improve social and environmental performance and meet their needs. It studies why and how Consumers do or do not Incorporate sustainability issues into Their consumption behavior. Also, it studies what consumers do or do not buy, how they use it and what they do with them afterwards. [1] One mechanism to spread information about sustainable consumer behavior is word of mouth . [2]

From a consumer perspective, the consumer has had a large proportion of the total consumption process. This is because of the fact that it is the market price, and it is paid for and transferred to the consumer. Yet from a social and environmental perspective, consumer behavior is a whole process of consumption.

Total Consumption Process [3]

Know the difference between need and want

Need and want recognition when a consumer senses a difference between what he or she perceives to be the idea versus the actual state of affairs. [4]

Information search

There are three key sources for searching information, in other words personal, commercial and public sources. Especially, the mass media, which is a public source, providing information about the environmental costs and benefits of consumption. [5] Consumers become aware of them through these sources.

Evaluation of alternatives

In this internship, environmental concerns, which are expressed in terms of environmental costs, risks and benefits, will contribute to the evaluation of options in deciding what to buy. One way to evaluate more sustainable consumption is to consider the total customer cost which incurs in acquisition, use and post-use phases.


Consumers have a better performance and better design. In addition they may need to change the manner of behavior they usually do.


In this stage, maintenance, repair, use frequency and type of use are of interest. [5] Some key products such as homes, cars and domestic appliances, much of the increased impact after the purchase phase during use or post-use. [6] Again, this is why the total consumption process is needed.


In the final stage, consumers can keep, reuse (for example by selling, trading or giving a product to others). Some materials such as paper, glass, metal can be recycled or reused in production process. This phase has become significantly important due to the overloaded landfill.

The Consumer Behavior Influence

This article is not intended to be used in the past, but it seems to be a trivial action. However, this action will combine with those of other consumers to contribute to the economic success of the coffee retailer, the overall growth in the economy and the volume of waste. It will be influential, and the price of coffee and milk, and will be able to influence the lives and prosperity of thousands of farmers throughout the world, and shape their investment and planting decisions for next year. It will have knock-on impacts in terms of pesticides, fertilizer, packaging materials and energy. The economic impact of that will be the share of the retailers and the levels of income they will enjoy. At a national level, it will contribute to national prosperity and in doing so will influence the future policies on taxation and interest rates.

We would like to think about how to measure our social behavior through our collective behavior, but it is also a social and cultural process through which we place our identity and our place within society. It is also a physical process that literally consumes resources. What we eat, how we heat our homes and how do we work? However, the collective consequences of these consumption decisions, and the ways in which they are set, are a major driver behind climate change, which will have consequences for people, countries and species across the globe.

Consumers‘ purchasing behavior will be determined by the success of their sustainability performance. Because of the role of consumers in determining sustainability impacts during the use and disposal phases of the consumption process, their overall behavior will also strongly influence the sustainability performance of all goods and services. [6]

Attitude, Knowledge and Behavior Gap

There exist some inconsistencies in consumers‘ behaviors.

Attitude and behavior gap

Despite the significant increase in consumers‘ environmental awareness, many of them have taken their concerns into account in their actual consumption and behavior. This is selfishness, which is why they do not want to give up or change the way they live, or the associated costs and taxes.

Knowledge and behavior gap

There is a discrepancy between what is the behavior of consumers and the fact that they are socially and environmentally sustainable? For instance, many people in the US have limited their use of spray as they want to minimize their contribution to the impact on the ozone layer . Their behavior is not environmentally significant because the substances have been affected by the US long ago. [7] This may be due to consumers‘ lack of knowledge of general environmental impacts of consumption.

Three Theories Explanation

Rational explanations

This emphasizes the economics of sustainable consumption, and the way in which it operates. Behavioral models based on economic rationality tend to assume a high degree of self-interest on the part of the consumer.

Psychological explanations

As a complement to rational explanations for consumer behavior, there has been research into the psychology of sustainable consumption and more emotional and irrational explanations of our behavior. Much of this focuses on consumers‘ attitudes and beliefs about sustainable issues. Three important sets of attitudes that influence consumers‘ willingness to engage with sustainability issues are perceived personal relevance, social responsibility and trust.

Sociological explanations

Our behavior as consumers is not simply a reflection of the rational dimensions of the costs and benefits of a particular consumption activity and we know it, nor is it fully explained by how we perceive the consumption activity as an individual. It is also explained by how we think about how to be productive, and how it can be reflected and influenced by our place in society. [8]

Forms of Sustainable Consumption Behavior

Progress towards more sustainable consumption is therefore not simply a question of what products and services are purchased, it is about the adoption of a lifestyle in which it is reflected in all aspects of consumers‘ behavior. The most advanced form of sustainable consumer behavior is among those identified as voluntary, whose lifestyle is based on five key values:

Material simplicity

Involving goods and services, and being resource efficient, sustainable and with a reduced ecological impact.

Human scale

Following the principle of „small is beautiful“ in smaller, simpler and less centralized.


Through a large business, or even large public-sector organization, to meet one’s needs, or even to influence what those needs might be.

Ecological awareness

In terms of conservation of resources and reduction of waste in order to protect the environment.

Personal growth

Emphasizing the creation of satisfaction through experiments and the development of personal abilities instead of commercially provided. [9]

In recent years many of the key features of voluntary simplification have been exhibited by the phenomenon of downshifting. Downshifting involves a change in lifestyle and consumption patterns, which is more highly compensated, and shifts to a lower level of consumption and a higher level of quality of life. [10]

Sustainable Consumption Choices

From a sustainability perspective, we know that all types of consumption are not equally important in terms of their sustainability impacts. Greater progress can be made with the most significant impacts. The European Environmental Impact of Product Project provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of energy consumption. [11]The project`s input-output-based methodology evaluates 255 domestic product types against a wide range of environmental impacts. It concludes that 70-80% of total impacts relate to food and drink consumption; housing (including domestic energy use); and transportation (including commuting, leisure and holiday travel). Ideally, all aspects of our consumption will be oriented towards sustainability, but initially will be achieved through:

Sustainable food and drink consumption choices

Consumption level that is more conductive to health; a contribution to climate change ; organically produced and locally sourced, seasoned produce; and greater composting of biodegradable food waste

Sustainable housing consumption choices

Including more emphasis on homeowners using sustainable materials and creating homes with high levels of insulation and energy efficiency. It also involves energy use in the home based energy source, and the avoidance of energy while living in the home (eg through energy-efficient refrigerator and energy saving bulbs).

Sustainable travel behavior

Which may mean reducing the amount of money (eg through home-working or teleconference service) or finding alternative means for journeys such as cycling for leisure rather than driving. In terms of tourism consumption behaviors, it seeks to protect tourism and the environment. [12]

Toward behavior changes

Behavior change in consumption is nowadays becoming a guiding principle for sustainable development policy. However, switching unsustainable consumer behaviors to sustainable demand is far from straightforward. Individual behaviors are deeply rooted in social and institutional contexts. We are influenced by what we do and what we do, and by the institutional rules we make choice on our own. In fact, we have already been locked into unsustainable behaviors regardless of having best intentions.

Making sustainable consumption choices are significantly related to the role of clothing and routine behaviors. Habits can be thought of as a strategy to reduce the cognitive effort associated with making choices, particularly in situations that are relatively stable. They allow us to perform routine actions with a minimum of deliberation and often only limited awareness. Moreover, the evidence suggests that clothing is a crucial component in a wide variety of environmentally-significant activities: travel behavior , shopping patterns, household chores, waste disposal, leisure activities, and even personal hygiene. Habits are formed through repetition and reinforcement. Andersen (1982) identifies three stages in the formation of a new habit. The first stage, or declarative stage, involves a particular action or action. At this stage the attitudinal and affective responses to this information are both important. The information challenges the existing choice, but at this stage does not actually change coffee-buying behavior. In the second knowledge compilation stage, however, this information is converted into a new routine by exer- cising a different choice in practice. When the action itself is associated with a clear positive reinforcement, and repeated over time, A cognitive script is designed to enable the same action in similar circumstances with very little cognitive effort. This final procedural stage locks into a new coffee-buying habit and virtually without thinking of the time being. At this stage, the behavior is more or less automatized and bypassed rational deliberation almost completely.[13]

In many cases, people appear to be locked into behaviors and behavioural patternsthat seem to be resistant to change. In fact, they are changing continually and sometimes radically in a short period. The uptake of smart phones, widescreen Plasma TVs, standby modes in these devices and their behavior. The spells of change are a kind of ‚creeping evolution‘ of social and norms. Individuals alter their behaviors and sometimes individual behavior initiates new social trends. At some higher or higher level, in other words, Therefore,[14]

Sustainable consumer behavior is a complex and evolving subject. From a sustainable perspective, a holistic approach to holistic consumerism, a holistic approach to a holistic approach, a holistic approach to a broader consumer market and a process that is strongly influenced by the social context in which it takes place. Individual changes in purchasing behaviors can contribute to progress towards sustainability, but progress also depends on the support of the consumer and the society. [15]

See also

  • sustainability
  • sustainable development
  • sustainability marketing
  • sustainable transport
  • efficient energy use
  • environmental impact
  • behavioral pattern


  1. Jump up^ Belz, Frank-Martin & Peattie, Ken (2009) Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons, 73
  2. Jump up^ Lang, Bodo; Lawson, Rob (2013). „Dissecting Word-of-Mouth’s Effectiveness and How to Use It as a Proconsumer Tool“ . Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing . 25 (4): 374-399. doi : 10.1080 / 10495142.2013.845419 . Retrieved 22 January 2014 .
  3. Jump up^ Belz, Frank-Martin & Peattie, Ken (2009) Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons, 74
  4. Jump up^ Blackwell, R., Miniard, P., & Engel J. (2006) Consumer Behavior, Thomson
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Antonides, Gerrit & Fred van Raaij, W (1998) Consumer Behavior: A European Perspective, John Wiley & Sons
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  8. Jump up^ Belz, Frank-Martin & Peattie, Ken (2009) Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons, 82-85
  9. Jump up^ Belz, Frank-Martin & Peattie, Ken (2009) Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons, 86-87
  10. Jump up^ Peattie, K. & Peattie, S. (2009) Social Marketing: A Pathway to Reduction ?, Journal of Business Research 62: 260-268
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  13. Jump up^ Andersen, J (1982) Acquisition of Cognitive Skill. Psychological Review89, 369-406
  14. Jump up^ Jackson, T (2005) Motivating Sustainable Consumption: A review of evidence is consumer behavior and behavioral change
  15. Jump up^ Belz, Frank-Martin & Peattie, Ken (2009) Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons, 92