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Toward sustainable consumption: researching voluntary simplifiers.

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


Seonaidh McDonald

Caroline J. Oates

C. William Young

Kumju Hwang


This article examines and extends the notion of voluntary simplifiers (VS). VS are individuals who have freely chosen a frugal, anti-consumer lifestyle that features low resource use and environmental impact. The article will begin by reviewing empirical work with VS and their mainstream counterparts, non-voluntary simplifiers (NVS). It will go on to identify and locate within this literature an intermediate group: beginner voluntary simplifiers (BVS). BVS may support some aspects of sustainability (such as buying fair-trade coffee or recycling domestic waste) without either embracing a complete lifestyle change like VS, or completely dismissing ethical or environmental features of products and services they consume, like NVS. Insight into the complex decision-making processes of BVS is crucial for the understanding of the concept of voluntary simplification and is therefore important for the advancement of sustainable consumption.


MCDONALD, S., OATES, C. J., YOUNG, C. W. and HWANG, K. 2006. Toward sustainable consumption: researching voluntary simplifiers. Psychology and marketing [online], 23(6), pages 515-534. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 1, 2006
Online Publication Date May 1, 2006
Publication Date Jun 30, 2006
Deposit Date May 28, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 28, 2015
Journal Psychology and marketing
Print ISSN 0742-6046
Electronic ISSN 1520-6793
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 6
Pages 515-534
Public URL


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