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Individual strategies for sustainable consumption.

McDonald, Seonaidh; Oates, Caroline J.; Alevizou, Panayiota J.; Young, C. William; Hwang, Kumju


Seonaidh McDonald

Caroline J. Oates

Panayiota J. Alevizou

C. William Young

Kumju Hwang


Consumers have a key role to play in meeting government targets for reduced energy consumption, more sustainable waste management practices, and lifestyles with fewer environmental consequences. We discuss some of the assumptions underpinning academic debates about sustainable consumption and describe a research design which has helped us move beyond some of the less helpful conventions. We interviewed consumers in order to obtain a detailed understanding of several of their recent (non-)purchase processes. We identified three groups who have distinct strategies for greening their lifestyles: Translators, Exceptors, and Selectors. We illustrate these groups using empirical data. This detailed understanding of how individuals approach the problem of greening not only provides new insight into how the problem of consumption may be approached in conceptual and practical terms, but also explains some of the difficulties encountered by previous research. We revisit the literature to examine the challenges that this typology offers extant ways of thinking about 'the green consumer'. We identify ways in which we might influence the groups in our typology through marketing strategies and policy initiatives.


MCDONALD, S., OATES, C.J., ALEVIZOU, P.J., YOUNG, C.W. and HWANG, K. 2012. Individual strategies for sustainable consumption. Journal of marketing management [online], 28(3-4), pages 445-468. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2012
Online Publication Date Mar 21, 2012
Publication Date Mar 31, 2012
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2014
Journal Journal of marketing management
Print ISSN 0267-257X
Electronic ISSN 1472-1376
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 3-4
Pages 445-468
Keywords Sustainable consumption; Green consumer; Ethical consumer; Greening; Semistructured interviews
Public URL


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