Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 507478
Title Promoting sustainable consumption in China : a conceptual framework and research review
Author(s) Liu, Wenling; Oosterveer, Peter; Spaargaren, Gert
Source Journal of Cleaner Production 134 (2016). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 13 - 21.
Department(s) Environmental Policy
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) China - Food - Housing - Mobility - Research agenda - Sustainable consumption

Various theories and approaches have been introduced in the debate on how to address sustainable consumption. In this study, we first discuss different theoretical perspectives on sustainable consumption, particularly developed in the fields of economics, social psychology and environmental sociology. We argue that neither an ‘individualist’ nor a system- or structural perspective alone is sufficient for understanding and analysing the transition towards sustainable consumption. Therefore, we propose to apply the Social Practices Approach (SPA) that combines both human agency and social structures to understand sustainable consumption issues. Following the SPA framework, we review and summarize research on sustainable consumption in China in particular on three consumption fields: food, housing energy and mobility. It is found that introducing more efficient production technology is commonly taken as the focal point in these sectors when sustainable consumption was introduced to China. Despite a rising interest in consumers' perceptions of products' sustainability in recent years, research has rarely paid any attention to consumers' behavioural change or to the transition dynamics towards sustainable consumption. In general, ‘individualist’ perspectives have largely dominated Chinese sustainable consumption research. This paper proposes to move attention to a better understanding of Chinese consumption issues by emphasizing the link between the provision of sustainable products and the diverse sustainable consumption practices. Also, images of food, energy, mobility and other consumption products that are undergoing transitions need to be considered in future research as these have consequences for socio-technical changes, material infrastructures and for ‘lifestyle’ innovations.

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