Thesis Working Title

How are sustainable consumption practices being integrated into the everyday lives of contemporary consumers?

My research aims to explore the limitations of ‘everyday’ or ‘ordinary’ sustainable consumption in order to uncover how a more sustainable lifestyle can exist in contemporary times, for those not willing to commit to more radical anti-consumption measures. Understanding sustainable consumption is essential as the consumers of today are making decisions in this context where sustainability may lead to changes in their behaviour. The purpose of this study is to advance current knowledge on the role of collective action in the context of sustainable consumption by taking a local, community focus. While much research exists around how individual action might address sustainability challenges, the same focus has not currently been given to understanding how collective action might address these issues. A consumer that is invested in a community with the goal to be more sustainable may be more likely to, or find it easier to, integrate sustainable consumption into their everyday practices, due to this involvement. Current research calls for a more holistic lens when focusing on research surrounding collective action in the environmental realm. For this reason, this research will focus on local communities such as urban gardens or farmer’s markets in order to take a step beyond individualized issues. Managing to integrate sustainable consumption practices into the busy, fast-paced lifestyles of contemporary consumers, could lead to the benefits of sustainable consumption being visible to consumers due to the larger scale of action. If the positive outcomes to their actions are recognised, this could provide a possible motivation for greater uptake of these practices, while also navigating individualized barriers to sustainable consumption, such as convenience. Understanding the powerful intersection between collective action and community investment, within the context of sustainable consumption, can help marketers to engage this relatively new wave of sustainability-conscious consumers.