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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    Meditating for the Planet: Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Sustainable Consumption Behaviors
    Geiger, Sonja M. ; Fischer, Daniel ; Schrader, Ulf ; Grossman, Paul - \ 2020
    Environment and Behavior 52 (2020)9. - ISSN 0013-9165 - p. 1012 - 1042.
    attitude–behavior gap - intervention study - material values - mindfulness - pro-environmental behavior - sustainable consumption - well-being

    Recent research suggests that mindfulness may foster sustainable consumption behavior through the reduction of the so-called attitude–behavior gap, or by weakening material values while increasing subjective well-being. The current controlled longitudinal study tested these propositions by employing a sustainability-adapted mindfulness-based intervention (sMBI) to two different samples (n = 60 university students; n = 71 employees). Although the intervention successfully enhanced mindful experiences in both samples, we found no evidence for neither direct effects on sustainable consumption behavior or related attitudes, nor for the reduction of the attitude–behavior gap. However, the intervention led to greater well-being in the student sample and suggested a decline of materialistic value orientations in both samples. The results blunt previous claims about potential causal effects of mindfulness practice on sustainable consumption behavior. Nevertheless, they indicate that the sMBI affects behavior-distal variables, such as material values and well-being, which in turn could influence consumption behavior in the long run.

    Defining a land boundary for sustainable livestock consumption
    Zanten, Hannah H.E. van; Herrero, Mario ; Hal, Ollie van; Röös, Elin ; Muller, Adrian ; Garnett, Tara ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Schader, Christian ; Boer, Imke J.M. De - \ 2018
    Global Change Biology 24 (2018)9. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 4185 - 4194.
    animal source food - greenhouse gas emissions - land boundary - land use - leftovers - livestock - recycling biomass - sustainable consumption - sustainable development goals

    The need for more sustainable production and consumption of animal source food (ASF) is central to the achievement of the sustainable development goals: within this context, wise use of land is a core challenge and concern. A key question in feeding the future world is: how much ASF should we eat? We demonstrate that livestock raised under the circular economy concept could provide a significant, nonnegligible part (9–23 g/per capita) of our daily protein needs (~50–60 g/per capita). This livestock then would not consume human-edible biomass, such as grains, but mainly convert leftovers from arable land and grass resources into valuable food, implying that production of livestock feed is largely decoupled from arable land. The availability of these biomass streams for livestock then determines the boundaries for livestock production and consumption. Under this concept, the competition for land for feed or food would be minimized and compared to no ASF, including some ASF in the human diet could free up about one quarter of global arable land. Our results also demonstrate that restricted growth in consumption of ASF in Africa and Asia would be feasible under these boundary conditions, while reductions in the rest of the world would be necessary to meet land use sustainability criteria. Managing this expansion and contraction of future consumption of ASF is essential for achieving sustainable nutrition security.

    Sustainable food consumption: norms, morality and consumer ethos
    Wahlen, Stefan - \ 2018
    food consumption - eating - norms - morality - consumption governance - sustainable consumption
    The sustainable development goal on sustainable consumption and production outlines that food can significantly contribute to a more sustainable development. In recent years increased research as well as public interest has attempted to promote more sustainable food consumption. Yet, the debates often responsibilize individual consumers for the outcome of their behavior. Many of these debates neglect collective features of consumption. This is where this contribution seeks to fill a gap: the contribution aims at scrutinizing media debates surrounding sustainable consumption. I am interested to the contribution of media debates rendering sustainable consumption as morally acceptable. The research question accordingly asks: how is sustainable consumption and associated consumer ethos as way of thinking about consumers described in media debates. The contribution scrutinizes the description of sustainable food consumption in daily press and the moral associations. The analysis of newspaper articles published in a daily press review of the major German consumer organization reveals two different consumer ethoses: a parsimonious and a renunciative consumer ethos. Discussions centred around food and packaging waste, the best-before date, but also around organic and vegetarian food as a more sustainable option and the social acceptability thereof. In a parsimonious consumer ethos, consumers are depicted as relating to efficiency. Consumer should follow a morality of thriftiness in what concerns sustainable food consumption. In the renunciative consumer ethos, the data reveal sustainable consumption as relating more to sufficiency. Consumers should refrain from particular parts of food consumption in order to protect the environment. We can also see that the consumer is to some extent responsibilised for activities that lie beyond the consumers’ scope of practice but should be looked after in terms of scrutinizing systems of provision. In the end, distinguishing these two ethoses can assist in developing policy measures, as these extent beyond the traditional understanding of the consumer as market participant, but acknowledge everyday activity and its morality in consuming as collective features of consumption.
    Education for Sustainable Consumption through Mindfulness Training : Development of a Consumption-Specific Intervention
    Stanszus, Laura ; Fischer, Daniel ; Böhme, Tina ; Frank, Pascal ; Fritzsche, Jacomo ; Geiger, Sonja ; Harfensteller, Julia ; Grossman, Paul ; Schrader, Ulf - \ 2017
    Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability 19 (2017)1. - ISSN 1691-4147 - p. 5 - 21.
    curriculum development - education for sustainable consumption - ethics - intervention design - mindfulness - mindfulness-based stress reduction - sustainable consumption - values

    Several widespread approaches to Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) have emerged from the tradition of consumer information. A major shortcoming of such cognitive-focused approaches is their limited capacity to facilitate reflection on the affective processes underpinning people's engagement with consumption. More holistic pedagogies are thus needed to increase the effectiveness of ESC. The concept of mindfulness has recently received growing attention in research on sustainable consumption, given its potential to address both cognitive and affective processes and to stimulate reflection on the drivers of often routinized consumption practices. Despite this recent interest, mindfulness has to date not been systematically connected to ESC. This paper provides a reflexive case study of the development of mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) specifically tailored to ESC ("BiNKA-training"). It elaborates the conceptual connections between mindfulness and ESC, offers insights into the process of adapting MBI to ESC and concludes with lessons learnt and an outlook on future work seeking to tap the potential of MBIs to form more holistic approaches to sustainability education.

    Food sovereignty and consumer sovereignty : Two antagonistic goals?
    Timmermann, Cristian ; Félix, Georges F. ; Tittonell, Pablo - \ 2017
    Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 42 (2017)3. - ISSN 2168-3565 - p. 274 - 298.
    Food justice - global justice - right to food - sustainable agriculture - sustainable consumption
    The concept of food sovereignty is becoming an element of everyday parlance in development politics and food justice advocacy. Yet to successfully achieve food sovereignty, the demands within this movement have to be compatible with the way people are pursuing consumer sovereignty and vice versa. The aim of this article is to examine the different sets of demands that the two ideals of sovereignty bring about, analyze in how far these different demands can stand in constructive relations with each other, and explain why consumers have to adjust their food choices to seasonal production variability to promote food sovereignty and so secure future autonomy.
    Making Sense of Sustainability: A Practice Theories Approach to Buying Food
    Brons, Anke ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2017
    Sustainability 9 (2017)3. - ISSN 2071-1050 - 15 p.
    sustainable consumption - food access - practice theories
    In light of global climate change the relevance of sustainable food consumption is growing, yet access to it has not correspondingly developed. This paper addresses the issue of accessing sustainable food from a practice theories perspective. The case of students in Paris is examined by means of interviews and participant observation. Four indicators serve to structure the results, i.e., mode of recruitment, mode of engagement, degree of commitment, and bundles of practices. Based on this analysis, three types are constructed, each with distinct access issues. We conclude that access to sustainable food is not necessarily determined by financial means only, nor by individual attitudes, but should be analysed as embedded in the complex dynamics of multiple social practices. Building on these insights means that more attention for the actual practice of accessing sustainable food, the different elements, and bundles involved is needed when looking for ways to increase access to sustainable food.
    Pesticide use practices among smallholder vegetable farmers in Ethiopian Central Rift Valley
    Mengistie, B.T. ; Mol, A.P.J. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2017
    Environment, Development and Sustainability 19 (2017)1. - ISSN 1387-585X - p. 301 - 324.
    pesticide use - social practice theory - environmentally correct practices - sustainable consumption - smallholder farmers - vegetable - Ethiopia
    Pesticide use is a common practice to control pests and diseases in vegetable cultivation, but often at the expense of the environment and human health. This article studies pesticide-buying and use practices among smallholder vegetable farmers in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, using a practice perspective. Through in-depth interviews and observations, data were collected from a sample of farmers, suppliers and key governmental actors. The results reveal that farmers apply pesticides in violation of the recommendations: they use unsafe storage facilities, ignore risks and safety instructions, do not use protective devices when applying pesticides, and dispose containers unsafely. By applying a social practice approach, we show that these pesticide-handling practices are steered by the combination of the system of provision, the farmers’ lifestyle and the everyday context in which pesticides are being bought and used. Bringing in new actors such as environmental authorities, suppliers, NGOs and private actors, as well as social and technological innovations, may contribute to changes in the actual performance of these pesticides buying and using practices. This article argues that a practice approach represents a promising perspective to analyse pesticide handling and use and to systematically identify ways to change these.
    Multiperspektivische Verbraucherforschung
    Wahlen, Stefan - \ 2016
    consumer policy - consumer citizen - citizen consumer - practice theories - sustainable consumption
    Verbraucherbürger – Bürgerverbraucher: Praxistheoretische Überlegungen
    Zukunft heute leben
    Wahlen, Stefan - \ 2016
    social practices - sustainable consumption
    Nachhaltiger Konsum - eine praxistheoretische Perspektive
    Konsum neu denken?
    Wahlen, Stefan - \ 2015
    sustainable consumption - social inequality - economic crisis
    Was bedeutet „Nachhaltiger Konsum“ in Zeiten ökonomischer Krisen?

    Soziale Dimensionen „Nachhaltigen Konsums“ aus verschiedenen Blickwinkeln Menschen lassen sich beim Konsumieren selten von rationalen Motiven leiten, sondern oft von Gewohnheiten, Geschmack oder Statusdenken. Die Konsummuster und Konsumpraktiken sind daher sehr heterogen, so dass es nicht möglich ist, von dem „nachhaltigen Lebensstil“ zu spre- chen. Meist wird nachhaltiger Konsum aus der ökologischen Perspektive diskutiert - sozialen As- pekten einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung werden im Diskurs weniger Raum gegeben bzw. oft einsei- tig betrachtet. Gerade in Zeiten anhaltender wirtschaftlicher Krisen spielt soziale Nachhaltigkeit im Rahmen sozialer Ungleichheit eine wichtige Rolle. Diese Ungleichheiten können sich im Produkti- ons- oder Herstellungsprozess manifestieren, wie z.B. in Produkten die mit Kinderarbeit hergestellt wurden. Auf der anderen Seite ist eine wachsende Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich zu verzeichnen, so dass alltägliche Konsummuster verschiedener Gesellschaftsschichten von ökonomischen Kri- sen betroffen sind. Themen wie Fleischkonsum, artgerechte Tierhaltung oder „Markenware“ im Bekleidungssektor machen uns die Verschränkungen von nachhaltigem Konsum, ökonomischer Krise und sozialer Ungleichheit deutlich. Daher möchte dieser Tisch die folgenden Fragen aufwerfen: - Aus welchen Gründen konsumieren Menschen „nachhaltiger“? - Welche Rolle spielt das Thema „Suffizienz“ in Zeiten ökonomischer Krisen? - Wieviel sind uns Produkte wert? Und welche Rolle spielen dabei unterschiedliche soziale Hin- tergründe? - Welchen Beitrag leistet Konsum zur sozialen Ungleichheit? - Welche Möglichkeiten sind gegeben bzw. welche Voraussetzungen müssen geschaffen werden um durch Konsum eine nachhaltige Inklusion zu fördern? Gemeinsame Leitfrage: „Kann man durch nachhaltigen Konsum soziale Ausbeutung einerseits, aber auch gesellschaftliche Ungleichheit anderseits tatsächlich verringern?“
    12th Conference of the European Sociological Association: Differences, Inequalities and Sociological Imagination
    Wahlen, Stefan - \ 2015
    sustainable consumption - social practices - social movements
    Sustainable Practices and Change
    The social meaning of food
    Wahlen, Stefan - \ 2015
    social practices - sustainable consumption - consumer ethos
    Consumer ethos, morality and the meaning of sustainable food consumption in daily press - a German perspective
    The impact of domestic energy efficiency retrofit schemes on householder attitudes and behaviours
    Long, T.B. ; Young, W. ; Webber, P. ; Gouldson, A. ; Harwatt, H. - \ 2015
    Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 58 (2015)10. - ISSN 0964-0568 - p. 1853 - 1876.
    sustainable consumption - uk households - cold homes - conservation - policy - strategies - spillover - barriers - savings - agenda
    Retrofitting existing housing stock to improve energy efficiency is often required to meet climate mitigation, public health and fuel poverty targets. Increasing uptake and effectiveness of retrofit schemes requires understanding of their impacts on householder attitudes and behaviours. This paper reports results of a survey of 500 Kirklees householders in the UK, where the Kirklees Warm Zone scheme took place. This was a local government led city scale domestic retrofit programme that installed energy efficiency measures at no charge in over 50,000 houses. The results highlight key design features of the scheme, socio-economic and attitudinal factors that affected take-up of energy efficiency measures and impacts on behaviour and energy use after adoption. The results emphasise the role that positive feedback plays in reinforcing pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours of participants and in addressing concerns of non-participants. Our findings have implications for the design and operation of future domestic energy efficiency retrofit schemes.
    Food safety in everyday life: Shopping for vegetables in a rural city in Vietnam
    Wertheim-Heck, S.C.O. ; Spaargaren, G. ; Vellema, S. - \ 2014
    Journal of Rural Studies 35 (2014). - ISSN 0743-0167 - p. 37 - 48.
    sustainable consumption - supermarkets - networks - policy - asia
    Concerns about food safety influence the way in which Vietnamese consumers confront the question of where, how and from whom they buy their fresh vegetables. In this paper we analyze in what manner and to what extent existing shopping practices inhibit the adoption of modern retail based food safety strategies. Using a social practices theory based approach, we analyze in detail the sales practices of sellers and the purchasing practices of consumers in a Vietnamese provincial city. This study reveals how both sellers and buyers in wet-markets, Asian style fresh food markets, apply different sets of skills and knowledge, based on locality, personal contacts and private judgment, to match supply and demand in the context of food safety threats. Within the everyday practice of shopping for vegetables, trust is shown to be continuously reproduced along pre-given lines. Consumers do not easily look outside or move beyond their existing routines even when food safety concerns would urge them to do so. From these findings we conclude that in situations where wet-markets serve as the dominant channel for distributing and purchasing fresh food, the efficacy of government and retail induced food safety strategies depends on their articulation within existing food purchasing routines of Vietnamese consumers.
    Greening consumption at the retail outlet: the case of the Thai appliance industry
    Thongplew, N. ; Spaargaren, G. ; Koppen, C.S.A. van - \ 2014
    International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 21 (2014)2. - ISSN 1350-4509 - p. 99 - 110.
    sustainable consumption - methodology - product - market
    Over the decades, the Thai appliance industry has developed into a strong and export-oriented industry with rigorous strategies to improve the environmental performance of products and production. Leading producers have recently begun to develop greening strategies targeting the consumption behavior of consumers, materialized through the provision of green appliances, environmental information, and sustainable images and storylines. However, communication regarding green provision in the retail setting has been found to be passive and to not correspond with the orientation of Thai consumers. Consequently, it has been found to be difficult to empower and activate citizen-consumers to buy more sustainable appliances. For this situation to change, green communication strategies of providers must become more proactive by adopting environmental labels to discern green appliances from general appliances and by improving the environmental content of communications in a way that (re)establishes stagnant or even absent consumer trust in green providers.
    Companies contributing to the greening of consumption: findings from the dairy and appliance industries in Thailand
    Thongplew, N. ; Koppen, C.S.A. van; Spaargaren, G. - \ 2014
    Journal of Cleaner Production 75 (2014). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 96 - 105.
    sustainable consumption - supply chain - responsibility - hybrid - world - foods - asia
    Over the last decades, the scope of corporate environmental strategies has shifted from improving internal environmental performance to reducing environmental footprint of the product chain in collaboration with actors in the chain. Consumer-oriented CSR strategies are a vital part of this trend but have received little scholarly attention, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Focusing on Thailand, this article shows how corporate strategies aimed at greening consumption have become visible because of an increase in sustainable products, environmental information flows, and green narratives and images. We investigated two illustrative cases, dairy and appliance industries, and found that their environmental performances in greening consumption diverge. In the dairy industry, green products and environmental product information are mainly found among small producers for niche markets. Larger producers have only recently started adopting consumer-oriented environmental strategies. Appliance companies offer consumers not only green products, but also environmental information, storylines, and images reflecting general sustainability topics and, to a modest extent, consumer eco-lifestyles. We discuss underlying factors and argue that environmental communication strategies directed at consumers have strategic relevance for both industries.
    Smart grids, information flows and emerging domestic energy practices
    Naus, J. ; Spaargaren, G. ; Vliet, B.J.M. van; Horst, H.M. van der - \ 2014
    Energy Policy 68 (2014). - ISSN 0301-4215 - p. 436 - 446.
    sustainable consumption - policy - technology - governance - politics - monitors - systems
    Smart energy grids and smart meters are commonly expected to promote more sustainable ways of living. This paper presents a conceptual framework for analysing the different ways in which smart grid developments shape – and are shaped by – the everyday lives of residents. Drawing upon theories of social practices and the concept of informational governance, the framework discerns three categories of ‘information flows’: flows between household-members, flows between households and energy service providers, and flows between local and distant households. Based on interviews with Dutch stakeholders and observations at workshops we examine, for all three information flows, the changes in domestic energy practices and the social relations they help to create. The analysis reveals that new information flows may not produce more sustainable practices in linear and predictable ways. Instead, changes are contextual and emergent. Second, new possibilities for information sharing between households open up a terrain for new practices. Third, information flows affect social relationships in ways as illustrated by the debates on consumer privacy in the Netherlands. An exclusive focus on privacy, however, deviates attention from opportunities for information disclosure by energy providers, and from the significance of transparency issues in redefining relationships both within and between households.
    Carbon flows, carbon markets, and low-carbon lifestyles: reflecting on the role of markets in climate governance
    Spaargaren, G. ; Mol, A.P.J. - \ 2013
    Environmental Politics 22 (2013)1. - ISSN 0964-4016 - p. 174 - 193.
    ecological modernization - sustainable consumption - governance - environment - modernity - politics
    The role of carbon markets in governing global carbon flows triggers substantial debates among policymakers, social movements and social scientists. The present debate on carbon markets is different from the earlier debate on market-based instruments in environmental politics. Carbon markets represent both more radical and more risky forms of governing global carbon flows, as illustrated by an analysis of both regulatory and voluntary carbon markets operating on the global and personal level. To make use of their environmental potential and to prevent them from generating perverse consequences, carbon markets are to be regulated by state, market and civil society authorities. Embedding carbon markets in civil society means connecting carbon flows to the households and the lifestyles of citizen-consumers in a direct and meaningful manner, which can increase legitimacy and foreground climate change politics among citizen-consumers.
    Greening global consumption: Redefining politics and authority
    Spaargaren, G. ; Mol, A.P.J. - \ 2008
    Global environmental change : human and policy dimensions 18 (2008)3. - ISSN 0959-3780 - p. 350 - 359.
    sustainable consumption - environmental-policy
    In the recent upsurge of environmental concerns worldwide, sustainable consumption issues are more prominent than before on public and political agendas. But formulating policies for the greening of lifestyles and consumption patterns (e.g. traffic-behaviour, food, housing and leisure) turns out not to be an easy task, as consumption has become a global phenomenon and nation¿states have lost their authoritative monopoly. This paper argues that, in the context of a globalising world of networks and flows, sustainable consumption policies have to be conceived of in terms of deterritorialised politics and programs which rely also on non-state environmental authority for the greening of consumption practices. In reflecting on the role of citizen¿consumers in politics for the greening of global consumption, three basic concepts are presented to facilitate such analysis and to discuss non-state environmental authority: ecological citizenship, political consumerism, and life-politics
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