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“Lifestyle Leapfrogging” in Emerging Economies: Enabling Systemic Shifts to Sustainable Consumption


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This paper combines the concept of leapfrogging with systems-thinking approaches to outline the potentials for and barriers to enabling systemic shifts to strong sustainable consumption in the emerging economies of China and India. New urban consumers in China and India have the potential to “lifestyle leapfrog” the high impact lifestyle models of the industrialized countries while simultaneously improving their quality of life. This paper argues that by implementing systemic approaches in the consumption domains of mobility and housing, the historical trajectory of high environmental footprints of mobility and housing can be avoided. The analysis based on systems-thinking principles identifies existing barriers and possible solutions. The importance of policies for strong sustainable consumption is highlighted to induce positive feedbacks in the areas of markets and society facilitating both efficient technology uptake and behavioural changes.
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Journal of Consumer Policy
Consumer Issues in Law, Economics and
Behavioural Sciences
ISSN 0168-7034
J Consum Policy
DOI 10.1007/s10603-016-9339-3
“Lifestyle Leapfrogging” in Emerging
Economies: Enabling Systemic Shifts to
Sustainable Consumption
Patrick Schroeder & Manisha
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BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies:
Enabling Systemic Shifts to Sustainable Consumption
Patrick Schroeder
&Manisha Anantharaman
Received: 1 October 2015 /Accepted: 13 December 2016
#Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016
Abstract This paper combines the concept of leapfrogging with systems-thinking approaches
to outline the potentials for and barriers to enabling systemic shifts to strong sustainable
consumption in the emerging economies of China and India. New urban consumers in China
and India have the potential to Blifestyle leapfrog^the high impact lifestyle models of the
industrialized countries while simultaneously improving their quality of life. This paper argues
that by implementing systemic approaches in the consumption domains of mobility and
housing, the historical trajectory of high environmental footprints of mobility and housing
can be avoided. The analysis based on systems-thinking principles identifies existing barriers
and possible solutions. The importance of policies for strong sustainable consumption is
highlighted to induce positive feedbacks in the areas of markets and society facilitating both
efficient technology uptake and behavioural changes.
Keywords Sustainable consumption .Leapfrogging .Systems thinking .India .China
It is now wellestablished that the consumption and production patterns of the industrialized
world are environmentally unsustainable (Vitousek et al. 1997; Wackernagel et al. 2002;
Wiedmann et al. 2006). As studies linking economic activity with climate change and
J Consum Policy
DOI 10.1007/s10603-016-9339-3
*Patrick Schroeder
Manisha Anantharaman
Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, Library Road, University of Sussex,
Brighton BN1 9RE, UK
Collaborating Center on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), Hagenauer Strasse 30,
42107 Wuppertal, Germany
Justice Community and Leadership Program, Saint Marys College of California, 1928 St. Marys
Road, Moraga, CA 94575, USA
Author's personal copy
biodiversity loss have shown, the consumption patterns of industrialized societies have
significant environmental costs that threaten to jeopardize the ecological integrity of our
planet, calling for new policy approaches to consumption challenges (UNEP 2012). This
recognition has brought renewed attention to questions of consumption patterns and consum-
erism in the Western world, prompting numerous studies and initiatives that look to promote
green consumption, voluntary simplicity, and sustainable local economies. At the same time,
the boundaries of consumption systems between the industrialized countries and emerging
economies are becoming increasingly blurred, especially as the lifestyles of urban consumers
in India and China begin to look more like those of their Western counterparts (Lange and
Meier 2009; Myers and Kent 2003).
While there is a small but significant movement calling for sustainable consumption in the
USA, Europe, and other developed countries, the question of sustainable consumption has not
yet received systematic attention in emerging economies. Instead, the development agendas of
most emerging economies, in Asia in particular, emphasize the development of a robust
domestic consumer market as a means of maintaining economic growth and stability. These
visions of a growing consumer economy in India and China directly contradict the environ-
mental reality: emerging economies cannot develop or consume in the same manner or to the
same degree as the global north due to environmental change and resource constraints.
An acknowledgement of these environmental limits necessitates a serious reexamina-
tion of consumption trajectories in emerging economies by scholars and policymakers
who can articulate alternate visions of lifestyles and identify pathways to change. It is in
response to this need that we introduce the concept of Blifestyle leapfrogging.^Lifestyle
leapfrogging is a systems-based concept that explores and outlines how sustainable
lifestyles of consumers in emerging economies could be realized from the outset,
circumventing the unsustainable lifestyles of Western consumers. We draw on systems-
thinking methods, specifically causal loop diagrams, to understand systemic drivers and
barriers to lifestyle leapfrogging in the emerging economies of China and India. We
argue that such leapfrogging is both necessary and possible and draw on a systems-based
perspective of consumption practices to demonstrate how leapfrogging could be made
possible through specific interventions in policy, markets, and civil society. We use two
case studies to develop the concept: residential housing in China and mobility in India,
chosen here because of the significant role these countries play in a global transition to
sustainable systems of production and consumption.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In the next section, we briefly review the
history of the concept of leapfrogging in its different avatars. We then extend it to the domain
of consumption to introduce the concept of lifestyle leapfrogging and discuss it in relation to
two different types of sustainable consumption: weak versus strong sustainable consumption,
where the former focuses on incremental shifts in consumption patterns that largely maintain
the status quo while the latter emphasizes absolute reductions in consumption levels through
resistance, downshifting, and voluntary simplicity. In the BLifestyle Leapfrogging to Strong
Sustainable Consumption^section, we turn to empirical evidence to show how some efforts at
lifestyle leapfrogging for weak sustainable consumption are already underway in India and
China. The BA Systems-Based Approach for Engendering Lifestyle Leapfrogging^section
shifts focus to strong sustainable consumption, and we utilize causal loop diagrams, a key tool
in systems thinking for sustainable consumption, to show how specific combinations of policy,
market, and civil society initiative might bring about lifestyle leapfrogging in China and India
in the domains of housing and mobility, respectively. The BConclusion^section concludes by
Schroeder P., Anantharaman M.
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presenting a critical assessment of the lifestyle leapfrogging concept and suggesting areas for
future research.
Conceptual Framework: Combining Environmental Leapfrogging
and Systems Thinking for Sustainable Consumption
From Environmental Leapfrogging to Lifestyle Leapfrogging
Sustainable development requires the explicit consideration of environmental issues such as
ecosystem degradation, resource depletion, and rising greenhouse gas emissions as driven by
economic growth and development. The concept of technological leapfrogging which focuses
on competitiveness and global market shares of industry sectors has been modified and
extended to develop the idea of environmental leapfrogging, to address the issue of sustainable
industrial development in developing and emerging economies (Perkins 2003;Sauterand
Wat so n 2008). Environmental leapfrogging proposes environmentally oriented development
alternatives in the greening of production processes (Ho 2005). The concept offers, at least in
theory, the prospect that emerging countries can avoid replicating the historical polluting and
resource-intense development trajectory of the industrial West and shape their development to
meet their own needs and requirements (Goldemberg 1998). Figure 1provides a visual
representation of an environmental leapfrogging pathway to achieve sustainable development.
Just as there is debate about whether industry sectors in developing countries have indeed
leapfrogged ahead of industrialized countries in terms of competitiveness, innovation, and
market shares (e.g., Hobday 1994), opinions are divided about the applicability of the concept
of environmental leapfrogging in newly industrializing developing countries and emerging
economies. While some consider it both possible and necessary (Choucri 1998; Goldemberg
Environmental Impacts through
(pollution, resource consumption, GHG emissions, etc)
low high
low high
Development level
(social-economic development, human well-being, happiness, etc.)
Development path of industrialised countries
Possible leapfrogging or “tunnellingthrough” pathway
Environmental safety threshold
Fig. 1 The process of leapfrogging using strategies for sustainability (sources: Berrah et al. 2007; Munasinghe
1999; UNEP-DTIE 2006;)
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
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1998; Tukker 2005), for others, the concept is problematic and has attracted considerable
skepticism. Empirical evidence on technological change in many developing countries tends to
lend more support to the idea of slow incremental technological changes, rather than radical
changes and leapfrogging (see Ho 2005;Perkins2003;Rocketal.2008). Additionally, many
have pointed out that the environmental Kuznets curve which is implicit in the environmental
leapfrogging concept does not apply to many types of environmental impacts, notably
greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) which have continued to rise in developed countries even
after they achieve a Bhigh^development level (Spangenberg 2001; Stern 2004). Nevertheless,
despite these criticisms, the idea of leapfrogging offers a powerful conceptual tool to consider
alternative development trajectories.a
To date, leapfrogging scholarship has been disproportionately focused on technological
solutions, focusing mainly on the greening of the production process through technological
innovations and failing to bring the domain of consumption or human behaviour under its
purview. This neglect of so-called soft factors such as consumer behaviour and consumption
patterns has significantly limited the explanatory and transformative power of the idea of
leapfrogging. Our work extends the idea of leapfrogging into the domain of consumption and
behaviour to ask if and how consumers in developing and emerging economies might adopt
sustainable consumption practices from the outset, side-stepping the resource-intense con-
sumption patterns of the developed world. In the next section, we briefly review the literature
on sustainable consumption approaches, highlighting two main variants, strong versus weak
sustainable consumption, and bring these into conversation with the conceptual tool of lifestyle
Sustainable Consumption
Consumption, what, how much, and by whom, has direct and indirect effects on ecosystems.
The greenhouse gas emissions produced through consumptive activities are especially impor-
tant in the context of climate change (Davis and Caldiera 2010). The inertia of lifestyles and
the difficulty of achieving pro-environmental behaviour in developed countries (Jackson 2005;
Jackson 2008) are increasingly recognized as an important barrier to solving environmental
problems (Whitmarsh 2009). The literature on socio-technical systems (e.g., Geels 2010)and
eco-innovation (e.g., Bleischwitz et al. 2009) also emphasizes the need to consider the Bhuman
element^in systemic changes for sustainability. It is now becoming apparent that individuals
and their daily consumption choices such as driving personal automobiles, eating food, taking
vacations, and using electricity in the home matter as much, if not more, than technical
processes on the supply side (Sovacool 2014).
While the use of terms like sustainable lifestyles and sustainable consumption is
becoming ubiquitous, critical engagement with the concept is still limited (Sedlacko
et al. 2014). Most uses of these terms are best characterized as representing a form of
Bweak sustainable consumption^(Lorek and Fuchs 2013) which fundamentally focuses
on improving the eco-efficiency of consumption activities, but does not seek any
absolute reductions in consumption levels or fundamental shifts in consumption patterns
(Fuchs and Lorek 2005). Weak sustainable consumption approaches include campaigns
that seek to promote green purchasing behaviour and product choices (Young et al. 2010)
which require increasingly complex decision-making processes by the consumer along-
side looking to improve the efficiency of production and distribution processes via
technological innovations.
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Weak sustainable consumption is contrasted with strong sustainable consumption, where
the goal is a systemic shift in consumption patterns resulting in absolute reductions in
consumption levels and the environmental impacts they produce. Strong sustainable consump-
tion requires an explicit focus on the sociological and psychological factors determining
consumption choices including social identity, habits, and practices related to values and
cultural norms (Evans and Jackson 2007), alongside a consideration of the political economy
and the socio-technical systems within which consumption practices are embedded. Strong
sustainable consumption also goes beyond viewing individuals simply as consumers of
products but also acknowledges their other identities as community members and
(ecological) citizens (Seyfang 2006,2010). Strong sustainable consumption thus is fundamen-
tally about reconfiguring social practices (Warde 2005) and the politicaleconomic and socio-
technical regimes in which they are embedded (Hargreaves et al. 2013) and, in our opinion,
about finding balance between reformist efforts that focus solely on green purchasing and eco-
innovations and radical approaches that call for the end of consumer capitalism (Geels et al.
2015). For the adoption of green and eco-efficient products, the concept of lifestyle leapfrog-
ging draws on Goldenberg and Oreg (2007) who, in their study on the consumer leapfrogging
effect, focus on Blaggards^who hold on to old technologies longer than other consumers, but
adopt the latest technologies when their old product breaks. They jump intermediate product
stages of less advanced technologies to latest innovations. Goldenberg and Oreg (2007)
specifically raise the question of how late adopters of new technologies can be incentivized
to make the switch to the latest technologies earlier than normal. This question is relevant to
emerging consumers in developing countries, Blaggards in consumption,^and the potential to
achieve uptake of eco-efficient products from the outset. Sauter and Watson (2008), in their
discussion on technological leapfrogging, also emphasize the potential involvement of con-
sumers to support leapfrogging through adoption of efficient products. The adoption of the
most efficient technologies available to households can include efficient lighting, energy-
efficient appliances and electronics, the installation of solar water heaters or even solar PV
home systems, highly efficient vehicles, and increasingly even electric vehicles.
Lifestyle Leapfrogging for Weak Sustainable Consumption in India
and China
Just like there has been a significant focus on Bgreening^consumption through market-based
alternatives in the global north, lifestyle leapfrogging to Bweak^sustainable consumption is
already taking hold in emerging economies. Some level of lifestyle leapfrogging for weak
sustainable consumption is already taking place in India and China, where government and
businesses are promoting various forms of green consumption.
Green Consumption of Energy-Efficient Appliances in China
In China, a wide range of government policies support green consumption, and the uptake of
more efficient products has been implemented in China. For example, in 2008, the government
launched the ^Financial Subsidies Fund of Promoting High Efficient Lighting^to enable
Chinese consumers to afford the initial purchase of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The
electricity consumption for lighting accounts for more than 10% of the total electricity
consumption in China (Han 2009). Initially in 2008, 62 million CFLs were subsidized through
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
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the fund; in 2009, this number rose to 120 million and to 150 million in 2010. Another
development regarding the uptake of green and energy-efficient products in China is the
diffusion of solar water heaters which are being used by more than 200 million Chinese
people. The application of solar water heaters in the building sector has already enabled several
Chinese cities to achieve technological leapfrogging in buildings (Schroeder and Chapman
2014), and the technology is installed in more than 10% of all Chinese homes (Huang and
Gong 2010), accounting for about 64% of global installed capacity (REN21 2015)(Fig.2).
Overall, however, the uptake of green products is slow, despite supportive policies. Liu
(2010) identified low environmental awareness, perception of little personal responsibility as
consumer, and lacking available information on green products as significant obstacles to
green purchasing decision. Also, behavioural changes, for instance to reduce electricity
consumption patterns in households through conservation, prove difficult to implement.
Awareness among the older generation in China to save energy is in general very high;
however, among younger generations, this awareness seems much less developed. For exam-
ple, according to a regional study about consumer attitudes relating to energy use in Liaoning
Province, roughly half (45%) of the respondents reported that they have never thought about
conserving electricity or energy efficiency before, and 10% of the respondents stated that,
although they knew how to save electricity, they decided not to (Feng et al. 2010). These issues
suggest that green consumption efforts have limited potential to truly reset the development
and consumption trajectories in China.
Green Consumption of Energy-Efficient Products in India
The Indian government has introduced a number of measures to increase the uptake of energy-
efficient products. India faces a severe energy shortage and imports much of its fossil fuels
(McNeil et al. 2008). As part of the Energy Conservation Act 2001, the government instituted
the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, a statutory public body that devises and implements measures
to reduce the energy intensity of the Indian economy (Balachandra et al. 2010). The Bureau of
Energy Efficiency (BEE) introduced a voluntary rating system for appliances like air condi-
tioners and refrigerators in 2006. Since 2011, mandatory norms and labelling standards have
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Installed capacity growth of China's solar water
heating 2006-2013 (GWth)
Fig. 2 Growth of installed capacity of Chinas solar water heating collectors, 20062013 (authorsassessment
based on data from REN21 (2015) and information provided by the China Renewable Energy Industry
Schroeder P., Anantharaman M.
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been introduced for four product categories, air conditioners, refrigerators, tubular fluorescent
lamps, and distributive transformers, with eight other appliance categories having voluntary
labelling systems. BEE estimates that these labels have alleviated the need for additional
energy-generation capacity in the 20072012 period by 7 GW (i.e., in the absence of these
initiatives, the Indian economy would have had to have generated another 7 GW of electricity
to support its production and consumption functions) (Chaudhary et al. 2012). The other space
where the government has made efforts to influence the uptake of more efficient options is in
the residential and industrial lighting sectors. Through its Bachat Lamp Yojana programme, the
BEE has tried to reduce the electricity demand for lighting, which constitutes approximately
20% of the total electricity demand in the country (Chaudhary et al. 2012). The construction of
LEED-certified energy-efficient buildings and the development of an energy efficiency build-
ing code for residential and commercial complexes are another initiative that aims to reduce
the consumption of energy in households (Chaudhary et al. 2012).
Policy efforts to encourage some forms on green consumption are complemented by
growing environmental awareness of the impacts of daily activities. Some surveys have shown
that many urban Indians are willing to adopt eco-friendly practices, even at a cost. For
example, a 2012 survey of attitudes towards environmental issues in India showed that a
majority of survey respondents favored policies that would reduce the environmental impacts
of consumption activities. Policies that had support included increasing the cost of energy to
ensure less of it is used and requiring that new automobiles be more fuel efficient (Yale Project
on Climate Change Communication 2012). However, by and large, these efforts at promoting
green consumption options are few and far in between and have failed to have any impact on
overall environmental impacts from consumption in India, particularly in Indian cities.
Lifestyle Leapfrogging to Strong Sustainable Consumption
While lifestyle leapfrogging to weak sustainable consumption through the uptake of efficient
products offers some possibilities for reduced environmental impacts, it falls short of enabling
systemic shifts to sustainable lifestyles. Lifestyle leapfrogging to strong sustainable consump-
tion would entail a qualitative shift in consumption practices through the use of the most
efficient technologies available and behavioural changes which would still result in an increase
of Bquality of life,^but would not result in an increase of overall material consumption
comparable to the level of consumption levels in western consumer societies.
Therefore, for emerging consumers, lifestyle leapfrogging would also require some form of
resistance to the adoption of unsustainable western-style consumption patterns. It would not
require downshifting or simplifying from a state of over-consumption (Jackson 2008), as is
required for many consumers in western societies and those consumers in developing countries
already following western lifestyles. Instead, it would mean maintaining a level of moderation
in material consumption patterns and, in the case of rise from poverty, achieving a moderate
consumption pattern and not adopting certain consumption patterns with high environmental
impacts, such as urban transport by private cars, meat-intensive diets, excessive accumulation
of electronic gadgets and household appliances, or holiday travel by plane, for example.
Resisting western consumption patterns can prevent Block-in^and path dependency of
lifestyles. In the context of climate change, Bcarbon lock-in^applies not only to carbon-
intensive infrastructures and investment but also to lifestyles and social activities with high
carbon intensity (Maréchal 2010). If peoples beliefs, habits, and behavioural patterns centre
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
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around having an energy-intensive lifestyle based on the current BAmerican model,^such a
lifestyle could become a key part of an overall social and cultural pattern of behavioural carbon
lock-in that includes high-carbon technologies and infrastructures and associated cultures,
institutions, and policies (Unruh and Carrillo-Hermosilla 2006). Developing countries such as
China and India are characterized by societies that are already changing rapidly. It might
therefore prove easier to guide the direction of this transition towards sustainable lifestyles than
achieving this in more stable developed countries with locked-in consumption patterns.
An additional dimension are the so-called downshifters or voluntary simplifiers who
consciously reduce levels of consumption and seek for alternatives to consumerism, resulting
in behaviours that produce fewer GHG emissions (see Swim et al. 2011). According to Lee
et al. (2011), further distinctions can be made between Banti-consumption^behaviour and
consumer resistance, although overlaps exist. Anti-consumption mainly entails three phenom-
ena: reject, restrict, and reclaim. In processes of rejecting, individuals intentionally and
meaningfully exclude particular goods from their consumption cycle. Restricting incorporates
cutting, lowering, and limiting consumption of specific goods and services when complete
anti-consumption is not possible. Reclaim represents an ideological shift regarding the pro-
cesses of acquisition, use, and dispossession, e.g., voluntary simplifiers reclaim their identity
via production instead of consumption, when they choose to grow their own vegetables rather
than acquire them through conventional markets. In comparison, consumer resistance focuses
on consumers opposing a dominant force or structure exerted by certain actors, behaviours,
and devices. For the three demand areas with the highest impacts food and drink, housing, and
mobility, as identified by the EIPRO Study (Tukker et al. 2006), some options and elements
necessary to achieve strong sustainable consumption behaviour are listed in Table 1.
We would argue, to prevent both direct and indirect rebound effects (Sorrell 2007)which
can become serious problems for developing countries as consumption of energy services is
Tab le 1 Building blocks for strong sustainable consumption in the domains of food and drink, housing, and
Type of approach Food and drink Housing Mobility
Choice of organic food and
fair trade products from
large retailers
Energy-efficient housing,
choosing green power
provider, renewable energy
applications for buildings
(e.g., solar water heating,
solar PV, heat pumps),
green building materials,
energy-efficient appliances
Purchase and use of
fuel-efficient cars, elec-
tric vehicles, fuel cell
(reject, restrict,
and reclaim)
Rejection of highly processed
food, supporting locally
grown food and farmers
markets, urban gardening
initiatives and
home-grown vegetables
and fruits
Reduction of appliances in the
home, turning off
appliances, use of
alternative heating and
cooling solutions, voluntary
behavioural changes of
Voluntary choice of public
transport, cycling,
walking, car sharing
Opposition to fast food
chains, factory farming,
Resistance to fossil fuel-based
power providers, opposition
to large unsustainable real
estate developments and re-
al estate speculation
Neighbourhood initiatives
for car-free zones, op-
position to new high-
way and ro ad
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not yet saturated (van den Bergh 2011), that the strong sustainable consumption dimension of
lifestyle leapfrogging incorporating elements of anti-consumption behaviour is crucial. The
focus on changing behaviours and practices to achieve not only relative but also absolute
reductions in environmental impacts through reduced consumption, as advocated by environ-
mental groups (e.g., Friends of the Earth 2004), is therefore also relevant for emerging
consumers in developing countries, even if technical efficiency improvements and uptake of
greener products take place. In other words, we need lifestyle leapfrogging even if environ-
mental leapfrogging occurs. There is possibly also a larger role for consumer resistance in form
of social and political activism where traditional lifestyles and existing sustainable consump-
tion patterns are being eroded, e.g., in the demand area of food through unhealthy western-
style fast food diets.
While the contribution of social and behavioural changes to leapfrogging pathways is
difficult to quantify, the research cited above suggests that behavioural changes play a much
larger role than often assumed, possibly also for developing countries. The modest scale of
behavioural changes towards sustainable consumption thus far, relative to the growth in
demand for western-style consumption, might be an explanation of why many technology
leapfrogging attempts in developing countries have so far resulted in improvements of
resource and energy intensity, but not yielded absolute reductions in environmental impacts
such as air pollution, GHG emissions, water pollution, or waste. Lifestyle leapfrogging to
strong sustainable consumption would be desirable as high individual energy and resource
consumption patterns can offset reduction of environmental impacts, despite the occurrence of
technological leapfrogging giving rise to efficiency improvements.
Clearly, lifestyle leapfrogging will not occur without strong policy instruments to enable the
uptake of green products from the outset and strong measures to persuade new consumers
resistance towards unsustainable consumption patterns, before lock-in effects take effect.
Several policy approaches could be instrumental in providing incentives for eco-innovation
and creating a demand for less environmentally damaging technologies and products. Gener-
ally, developing countries are lagging behind in the implementation of environmental policies
(Ho 2005); therefore, the early adoption of environmental policies by developing countries
will be an important factor to facilitate sustainable lifestyles. Also, early implementation of
policies that would internalize environmental costs on a macro level, such as a price on carbon
either through carbon taxes or emissions trading schemes, would be necessary. More specif-
ically, product-related policies based on life cycle assessments, such as efficiency standards for
products, sophisticated labelling schemes to inform and guide consumers, mandatory take-
back schemes, and recycling systems, are needed. Finally, policies which limit or even restrict
the sale and use of environmentally and/or socially damaging products would be useful.
A variety of concrete approaches addressing socialpsychological factors can also be
applied to bring about the changes in consumption patterns or, more specifically, to encourage
emerging consumers to resist becoming western-style consumers. Setting basic advertising
norms for certain products to protect vulnerable target groups such as children, combined with
raising basic environmental awareness and education about the impacts of consumption,
would be worth exploring. These policy changes have to be supported by the work of civil
society and social movements that could aim at strengthening values, attitudes, and personal
norms which counter the spread of materialistic and consumerist attitudes and resist consump-
tion patterns characterized by accumulation of material possessions. These suggested policy
instruments and approaches are not fundamentally different from those necessary in consumer
societies, with the important difference that in developing country societies these would need
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
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to be implemented before unsustainable lifestyles become entrenched. Nevertheless, it must be
acknowledged that certain facets of Bunsustainable^lifestyles are already entrenched in some
sections of society in developing countries, and lifestyle leapfrogging will require undoing
some of these Block-ins.^
A Systems-Based Approach for Engendering Lifestyle Leapfrogging
As the previous section demonstrates, lifestyle leapfrogging to strong sustainable consumption
will require an explicit analysis of the various drivers of consumption practices and devising
specific policy interventions. Such an analysis requires looking at the whole system of
consumption, and understanding of changes in one domain can have ripple effects. Systems-
thinking methods, emerging from the fields of cybernetics and statistical mechanics, offer
valuable tools to carry out these types of analysis.
Systems thinking is an analytical perspective which views an event or a system in a holistic
manner by placing explicit emphasis on the relationships and interactions between the systems
elements and constituents and examining system properties that emerge from the interaction of
individual elements (Senge 1990). Key elements of systems thinking for sustainable consump-
tion include the consideration of feedback cycles between different elements of consumption
and production systems, system dynamics, and a systems boundaries. Systems-based analyses
have been applied to various problems of sustainability transitions and sustainable consump-
tion, for instance, the reduction of barriers to energy efficiency (Chai and Yeo 2012)andin
exploring mental models for sustainable consumption (Sedlacko et al. 2014).
The contribution of systems thinking to sustainability transitions has been summarized by
Fath (2014), distilling ideas from three leading systems thinkers including Niklas Luhman
(e.g., Luhmann 1992), Bernard Patten (e.g., Patten 1978,1991), and Christopher Alexander
(1964,2012). Foundational concepts in systems theory are boundaries and inputoutput-
oriented interactions. For example, output of one object, through a series of direct linkages,
indirectly connects back again as input to the original generating object. Thereby, processes
embedded in and contributing to a larger system provide positive and negative feedback such
that their actions close back around on the function itself (Fath 2014). Drawing on Alexander
(2012), one additional important feature of sustainable systems is that the system boundaries
are not crisp but fuzzy and that multiple systems can overlap. Furthermore, the centre of a
system engages in interactions which aim at structure-preserving transformations. In other
words, stable systems have both positive cycles and negative cycles (also known as reinforcing
loops and balancing loops in causal loop diagrams) that work together to maintain system
stability. Understanding this concept of structure-preserving transformation of a system can be
helpful in understanding how and why systems can become locked in and when they might be
unbalanced and can then be transformed.
Systems-thinking perspectives enable the examination of endogenous causes of stability
and change and help us avoid falling into the trap of assuming that barriers to change are solely
caused by external events. Rather, systems thinking enables the examination of endogenous
causes of stability and change. Furthermore, a systems perspective dissolves the perception
that barriers are independent of each other and enables the examination of emergent properties
that can only be understood by considering the whole as opposed to the sum of parts. This
would mean that strategies aiming for strong sustainable consumption need to consider the
interactions and feedbacks between technological and behavioural system components.
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In the following two sub-sections, we apply systems thinking to two case studies to explore
how lifestyle leapfrogging to strong sustainable consumption could be brought about. We
focus on two systems, sustainable mobility in Indian cities and energy-efficient residential
buildings in China. We distinguish three main dimensions of each systempolicy, market, and
societyand describe the interaction and positive and negative feedback cycles between the
elements either driving or preventing lifestyle leapfrogging. In particular, in this paper, we
follow Sedlacko et al. (2014) who use causal loop diagrams (CLDs) to explore the potential for
promoting sustainable consumption. In this paper, CLDs are used as a conceptual tool to
explain system dynamics of Chinas residential energy efficiency and low-carbon mobility in
India. The outcomes of the analysis have been visualized through a combination of CLDs (see
Sedlacko et al. 2014) and the graphical presentation of the environmental Kuznets curve used
for visualizing leapfrogging processes (see Fig. 1). The results of this combination exercise are
shown in Figures 4and 8below which depict two pathways (business-as-usual and leapfrog-
ging) and the respective drivers for each pathway. The drivers for each pathway automatically
act as barriers to the other pathway, thereby maintaining stability of the system.
In addition, we constructed separate CLDs which depict the interconnections between
drivers and barriers of the different system variables of policy, market, and society (Figs. 3,
5,6,and7). In these CLDs, + indicates positive feedback and reinforcing loops, while
indicates negative feedback and balancing loops. The double slash on the connection indicates
Fig. 3 Causal loop diagram (CLD) showing interconnections between system variables of low-energy housing
in China
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
Author's personal copy
that the feedback takes place on a longer timescale. Further explanations about the specific
contents of the CLDs are provided below.
We constructed the CLDs for China and India based on various sources of information.
First, literature reviews on energy-efficient buildings in China and low-carbon mobility in
India were carried out. Secondly, interviews with stakeholders from the fields of housing and
mobility were carried out in China and India. The Indian CLDs were constructed using data
collected over 15 months of fieldwork by author Anantharaman in Bangalore, India, studying
the scope and potential for non-motorized transport and public transit in Bangalore, India.
During this fieldwork, Anantharaman interviewed 25 individuals and organizational represen-
tatives involved in promoting bicycling and public transit in Bangalore, in addition to
interacting with policymakers in official forums. Fieldwork data were combined with insights
from media articles on urban mobility in Bangalore and other Indian cities to present the
information below.
Furthermore, for the CLDs on China, the author Schroeder conducted site visits to
residential construction projects in Shenzhen, Beijing, and Nanjing in October 2015. Inter-
views with 10 experts and stakeholders from Chinas building sector provided further infor-
mation about the relationships and dynamics between different system elements.
Leapfrogging Towards Low-Energy Housing in China
The number of people living in urban areas in China increased between 1980 and 2000,
growing from 193 million, or 19.5% of the total in 1970 to 451.8 million (Zhou et al. 2009), or
35.6% of the total in 2000. Chinas urbanization rate reached 51% by the end of 2011 and is
expected to 60% by 2020, bringing the countrys urban population to around 850 million
(Xinhua 2012). Chinas urbanization rate increases yearly by over 2%; as a result, the building
sector is expected to experience an increase of 2 billion square meters of buildings every year
until 2020 (Tsinghua University Building Energy Research Center 2007). The residential
housing sector in urban areas accounts for about 32% of Chinas floor space (Tsinghua
University Building Energy Research Center 2012). This trend of urbanization, together with
rising energy consumption in urban areas, will lead to the building sector accounting for 35
40% of Chinas total energy consumption by 2020. The large number of new residential
buildings needed for the growing urban population shows that there are significant leapfrog-
ging potentials in the short and medium term, if low-energy housing is promoted in a
systematic approach. The CLD of Figure 3depicts the systemic barriers, the interactions,
and the feedback loops between different system variables of low-energy housing in China. In
particular, it shows the positive and negative feedback loops of reinforcing or balancing loops
between the different system variables of policy, market, and society.
As the detailed relationships and interactions between various barriers and drivers to
energy-efficient housing in China are complex, they can here only be described in a general
way that does not take into account regional differences. Overall, the current situation is
characterized by a major policy barrier, which is the lack of enforcement of energy-efficient
building codes for residential buildings on a local level. This is closely related to the fast pace
of the over-heated Chinese real estate market and speculation, which have driven up housing
prices beyond affordability for many families (B2). To reduce costs of construction, many
companies mainly rely on underpaid migrants from the countryside, often without specific
skills (B1). However, the correct application of advanced energy-efficient building materials
requires a certain set of skills; in addition, they have often higher costs than conventional
Schroeder P., Anantharaman M.
Author's personal copy
materials, both of which are barriers to their uptake. The enforcement of energy-efficient
building standards is a crucial policy element for the leapfrogging pathway, as it would
arguably put a brake on real estate speculation and at the same time stimulate subsidies as
well as skills training for construction workers. In turn, this reinforcing loop (R2) would
facilitate enforcement and gradual improvement of building standards and lead to higher
quality and better building performance.
The generally low energy prices in China are another barrier to stimulating energy saving
behaviour of residents. Furthermore, lack of heat metering systems in residential apartments
acts against reduction of energy use in buildings (B3). Based on the current model, centralized
space heating is provided during the winter months to most residential buildings based on a flat
rate that is calculated according to floor space, not based on actual usage. In most cases,
residents do not know how much energy the consumer uses for heating. Besides this, heating
systems in many cases cannot be switched off or residents cannot adjust indoor temperatures
manually. If indoor temperatures are too high for comfort, windows are opened to reduce
indoor temperature. The installation of heat metering systems (technical/market dimension)
combined with energy pricing reform for heating (policy dimension) is an example of how
these changes can affect behavioural changes of occupants (social dimension), another crucial
element for the leapfrogging pathway. The installation of heat meters, radiators with adjustable
temperature regulators in new buildings, and, most importantly, a pricing reform that will
reward energy saving behaviour of residents can facilitate strong sustainable consumption in
the domain of housing for tens of millions of Chinas new urban residents.
For electricity used in residential buildings, the Chinese government has already begun the
implementation of a tiered electricity pricing system to encourage energy-efficient consump-
tion behaviour and to increase residentsawareness. In July 2012, the electricity departments in
China reformed electricity prices to a tiered electricity power tariff (jie ti dian jia) for
residential energy users across China. The goal is to form a market-oriented price scheme
where the market plays the main role, while the macro-level national policy controls and sets
the basic standard. The Chinese government estimates that 5% of the populationthe very
highest income earnersaccount for 24% of domestic electricity consumption in China, while
the top 10% use 33% of electricity (Cui 2012). The tiered power tariff aims to address this
group of consumers in particular. The challenge with such an instrument is the huge income
gap within the Chinese population. There is the danger that such an instrument is regressive
and could negatively impact on low-income groups. Overall, the tiered power tariff coupled
with other measures can lead to a reduction in energy consumption in residential buildings.
In the social domain, changing lifestyles of urban residents are emerging as a major driver
for increasing energy demand from residential buildings. The impact of human behaviour
upon energy use has in many cases already outpaced technical improvements in Chinas
building sector. Energy use (excluding heating) in residential buildings is still lower than in
developed countries. This is mainly due to different lifestyles and habits that are dominant in
local society and the community, such as part-time and part-space operation of cooling/heating
devices, opening windows for natural ventilation, keeping warmer clothing for lower indoor
set temperature, etc. However, these Banti-consumption^practices of the older generation are
lost as more people from the countryside move into cities and western building designs and
structures are adopted, and the energy consumed per capita due to the lifestyle habits of the
Chinese urban consumers increases. This is especially true for younger people who follow
western lifestyle models with low consciousness about energy consumption, acting against a
leapfrogging pathway. Specific research on the interconnections between occupant behaviour,
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
Author's personal copy
household needs, consumer choices, and lifestyle issues in China is so far limited, but
necessary to further understand the role of these factors in driving or preventing energy-
efficient housing solutions.
One important element influencing consumer awareness and lifestyle choices, which only
emerged in recent years, is the worsening air pollution in Chinese cities. It is to a large degree a
result of the current energy and heating supply system and partly the result of energy
consumption habits of urban residents. As air quality worsens and negatively impacts the
health of tens of millions of urban residents, it positively impacts awareness about sustainable
consumption choices and thereby acts as a positive driver for the market as consumers demand
more energy efficiency buildings (R1). One can also begin to observe the emergence of
elements of Bconsumer resistance^against the political and economic causes of air pollution,
which also is having an impact on policies.
Figure 4combines and synthesizes the leapfrogging concept and the elements of the CLD
above and shows two possible pathways for Chinas housing development: first, business-as-
usual development which would lead to a growing stock of inefficient residential buildings,
thereby locking Chinese cities into high energy consumption trajectories, and secondly, a
leapfrogging pathway for the residential building sector, which would bypass the situation of
lock-in into a low-efficiency building stock.
Leapfrogging Towards Sustainable Urban Mobility in India
The ownership and use of personal automobiles in India has been growing steadily for the past
three decades, particularly in its cities. The liberalization of the Indian economy beginning in
the late 1980s heralded the arrival of a wider variety of car and motorcycle brands in the
nation. As new consumption options became available, export and foreign direct investment-
Fig. 4 Leapfrogging causal loop diagram (CLD) contrasting Blifestyle leapfrogging^towards low-energy
housing in China and business-as-usual development
Schroeder P., Anantharaman M.
Author's personal copy
driven growth produced new opportunities and rising incomes for a section of the Indian
population, prompting the emergence of a new middle class that practiced global consumer
lifestyles (Fernandes and Heller 2006;Mawdsley2004;Upadhya2009). As India began to
grow a consumer economy, cars soon solidified their position as a key middle-class status
marker (Baviskar 2011). This bevy of consumption options combined with an emergence of a
Bnew^middle class of consumers opened the floodgates to the rapid automobilization of
Indian cities, which have traditionally had high rates of bicycling, walking, and public transit
The causal loop diagram depicted in Figure 5demonstrates how factors operating at the
policy, market, and society levels combine to prompt the rapid automobilization of Indian
cities. In India today, the use and ownership of cars and motorcycles is a critical way of
signaling social status and Bhaving made it.^Car and motorcycle advertisements, which are
constantly played on most television channels, sometimes cover the front pages of newspapers,
and pepper city landscapes in the form of massive billboards play on themes of cool, comfort,
belonging, and exclusion to encourage the purchase and use of personal automobiles. These
advertisements also stigmatize other modes of transport like bicycling, signaling them as
inferior to car use. Banks and other financial institutions team up with car manufacturers
and retailers to offer financing schemes for car purchases. Consequently, Indian consumers
buy cars and motorcycles as soon as they are able to afford them (Wilhite 2008). The CLD of
Figure 5has two reinforcing loops: R1 which relates to how the city apportions its budgets and
R2 related to social norms around the car. Both these feedback loops drive the system towards
more car usage. The only balancing loop in this system (B1) is the feedback between traffic
congestion and social norms. Indian cities are plagued by traffic congestion, which offsets the
idea that cars are the most Bcool^and convenient transport option available to commuters in
the city.
Fig. 5 Causal loop diagram (CLD) depicting how Indian cities become locked in to paths of rapid
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
Author's personal copy
Market forces and strong social norms are coupled with government support, and all these
forces combine to change the physical form of Indian cities to accommodate cars and
motorcycles. Municipal governments in major Indian cities have largely focused on improving
infrastructure for motor vehicles by widening roads (often by felling trees) and constructing
flyovers and signal-free corridors (Nair 2005) (loop R1 in the CLD). In an extreme move,
bicycling has been criminalized in the Indian city of Kolkota (Gupta 2013). These changes to
roadways have come at the cost of other transport modes such as bicycling, walking, and
public transit. While there has been some effort to improve public transit options in major cities
like Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore by constructing new metro systems and making marginal
improvements to bus services, these have been largely subordinated to car-focused urban
planning. Further, public transport companies are usually poorly funded and operate on losses
and are unable to modernize their existing fleet of vehicles (Pucher et al. 2005). The rising
automobilization of Indian cities has also increased road fatalities. For instance, in 2007, 961
persons were killed and 6591 persons injured by motor vehicles in Bangalore, many of them
cyclists and pedestrians (Rahul and Verma 2013). All these factors prompt non-motorized
transit (NMT) and public transit users to Bupgrade^to motorcycles and other types of
automobiles when possible (Nair 2005; Tiwari and Jain 2013).
This trend of rapid automobilization could be stalled and averted through policy interven-
tions and increased market provision of alternate transport modes and by changing social
norms around car use and status (see Fig. 6). There are several social movements in Indian
cities that are pushing for bicycling infrastructure and public transit. These social movements
Fig. 6 Causal loop diagram (CLD) depicting how automobilization could be countered by civil society activism
pushing for more NMT and public transit options
Schroeder P., Anantharaman M.
Author's personal copy
contest the dominant social norm that cars are the most convenient and status-affirming
transport option available in Indian cities. Instead, they are developing alternate discourses
around what constitutes a good and respectable life in urban India. These discourses frequently
draw on environmental themes to motivate alternate visions, and the degrading quality of
urban environments is a major motivating factor for this civil society action (Anantharaman
The CLD of Figure 6has two reinforcing loops: R1 which relates to how the city apportions
its budgets and R2 related to social norms around car. Both these feedback loops drive the
system towards more car usage. However, in this CLD, there are two balancing loops: The first
balancing loop in this system (B1) is the feedback between traffic congestion and social norms.
Citizen activism for NMTand public transit can in the long term help overturn dominant social
norms around car use, balancing rapid automobilization (B2).
Civil society action can in turn precipitate changes in policy. The policy changes required to
reverse automobilization could include increased investment in public transport and non-
motorized transit infrastructure. These funds could be obtained by diverting budgets from
road widening and flyover construction and by implementing congestion charges and parking
fees in Indian cities, which would in turn increase the costs associated with car use. Controls
could be placed on car advertisements, especially those targeting children and other vulnerable
groups. Similarly, on the market side, there would have to be more options available for non-
motorized transit users like hi-tech bicycles that allow one to travel longer distances and
investment in modernizing the bus fleet with clean energy. Citizen activism for NMT and
Fig. 7 Causal loop diagram (CLD) depicting how Indian cities could rapidly deautomobilize through policy,
market, and civil society action
BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
Author's personal copy
public transit can in the long term help overturn dominant social norms around car use,
balancing rapid automobilization (B3). It can also drive more budget allocation for public
transit and NMT, which can in turn dampen automobilization (B1). Controls on advertising
combined with increased market provision of hi-tech bicycles can help destigmatize bicycles
and buses, decreasing car use in turn (B2) (see Fig. 7).
Figure 8synthesizes these individual CLDs to show how targeted policy, market, and civil
society interventions can help drive a leapfrogging towards more sustainable mobility in
Indian cities. It also presents the factors acting as barriers to leapfrogging, which Bdrive^
business-as-usual development.
The paper started out from the hypothesis that leapfrogging unsustainable consumption
patterns is in theory a viable option for emerging consumers in India and China. The
systems-thinking analysis of two cases from China and India in the areas of residential housing
and mobility show that lifestyle leapfrogging could be realized through targeted interventions
in policy, market, and civil society. The purpose of this paper is not to make celebratory
statements about the sustainable consumption efforts being promoted in India or China, or to
gloss over the fact that consumption and consumerism are overall rising in these nations.
Rather, it seeks to apply systems perspectives and the leapfrogging concept to locate mech-
anisms and processes by which these trajectories could be altered. It highlights the importance
of explicitly differentiating strong versus weak consumption, recognizing that any serious
efforts at sustainability in these two countries will have to involve resistance and downshifting
Fig. 8 Leapfrogging causal loop diagram (CLD) contrasting Blifestyle leapfrogging^towards sustainable urban
mobility in India and business-as-usual development
Schroeder P., Anantharaman M.
Author's personal copy
in some cases. Both case studies, although they analyse different sectors, highlight the need for
strong policy action as a key driver of Blifestyle leapfrogging.^
Both countries are already implementing measures that are a departure from the business-
as-usual development pathway of developed countries, and these can potentially enable
systemic shifts in consumption patterns and lifestyles of urban consumers. In particular,
Chinas and Indias consumer-targeted policies in these two areas deserve attention and can
serve as examples for both developing and industrialized countries. Further research on
leapfrogging potentials in other developing countries with case studies from mobility, housing,
and food applying systems thinking would be of interest for comparative research. Finally,
while the Bleapfrogging^concept might implicitly suggest that developed countries Bhave
reached the right destination^and that developing countries only have to figure out how to get
there faster, we here posit that developing countries already have several sustainable practices
that are important to preserve. The challenge for future research and practice is to analyse and
understand how to Bleapfrog^past the unsustainable practices of the developed world to new
and distinctive sustainable futures in emerging economies.
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BLifestyle Leapfrogging^in Emerging Economies
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... At the same time, rapidly industrialising countries are projected to contribute almost all the growth in carbon emissions, with increases in household consumption driving much of that increase as the expanding middle classes in China and India reach the per capita levels of the USA and EU. This underscores the importance of what has been referred to as 'lifestyle leapfrogging': supporting sustainable lifestyles in emerging economies that side-step the high-carbon emissions pathways of Northern consumerism (Schroeder & Anantharaman, 2017). ...
... Shallow scaling also incorporates top-down infrastructural de-scaling, which curates the choice architecture through choice editing. This is achieved through the provision of services to shape behaviours in line with a desired outcome, such as reducing waste or the energy intensity of certain actions and can involve a degree of 'lifestyle leapfrogging' across contexts (Schroeder & Anantharaman, 2017). Such an approach may be effective at shifting behaviours at scale, addressing both the demand and supply-side of the economy, but will not challenge the social values, norms and practices that underpin consumption behaviours. ...
... Infrastructures, income, location and social status all have a huge bearing on peoples' ability to modify their behaviour. Almost 10% of the global population continue to live in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2020), and lack basic food, housing, energy, and transport; in this context, 'lifestyle leapfrogging' can support spiral scaling, via the adoption of more sustainable pathways, avoiding fossil-fuel lock-in in the first place (Schroeder & Anantharaman, 2017). And across the board, key intervention points lie in creating enabling environments to facilitate sustainable practices among broad sections of society. ...
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Non-technical summary. Scaling sustainable behaviour change means addressing politics, power and social justice to tackle the uneven distribution of responsibility and agency for climate action, within and between societies. This requires a holistic understanding of behaviour that bridges the 'individual' and 'systemic', and acknowledges the need for absolute emissions reductions, especially by high-consuming groups, and in key 'hotspots' of polluting activity, namely, travel, diet and housing. It counters the dominant focus on individuals and households, in favour of a differentiated, but collective approach, driven by bold climate governance and social mobilisation to reorient institutions and behaviour towards just transitions, sufficiency and wellbeing. Technical summary. Sustainable behaviour change has been rising up the climate policy agenda as it becomes increasingly clear that far-reaching changes in lifestyles will be required, alongside shifts in policy, service provision and technological innovation, if we are to avoid dangerous levels of global heating. In this paper, we review different approaches to behaviour change from economics, psychology, sociology and political economy, to explore the neglected question of scalability, and identify critical points of leverage that challenge the dominant emphasis on individual responsibility. Although politically contentious and challenging to implement, in order to achieve the ambitious target of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees, we propose urgent structural interventions are necessary at all points within an ecosystem of transformation, and highlight five key spheres for action: a 'strong' sustainability pathway; pursuing just transitions (via changes to work, income and infrastructure); rebalancing political institutions to expand spaces for citizens vis-à-vis elite incumbents; focusing on high polluting actors and activities; and supporting social mobilisation. We call for a move away from linear and 'shallow' understandings of behaviour change, dominated by traditional behavioural and mainstreaming approaches, towards a 'deep', contextualised and dynamic view of scaling as a transformative process of multiple feedbacks and learning loops between individuals and systems, engaged in a mutually reinforcing 'spiral of sustainability'. Social media summary box. Scaling behaviour change means addressing power and politics: challenging polluter elites and providing affordable and sustainable services for all. © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
... Segundo Bughin et al., (2011), a aposta no CSR é o maior ganho de investimento a longo prazo que uma empresa pode ter. Falamos de uma correlação linear entre duas variáveis: quanto mais a par da situação o indivíduo estiver sobre o tema da sustentabilidade alimentar, estará também mais propenso a adotar práticas positivas que diminuam o seu desperdício pessoal (Schroeder & Anantharaman, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
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The article presents and characterizes the relationship between the motives of customer loyalty and the attitudes adopted by them and the achieved level of efficiency and growth in corporate value. The purpose of the publication is to present the author's model of the impact of customer loyalty on the company's value. The article is a conceptual study based on: results of an in-depth literature search, experience from cooperation with the small and medium-sized enterprises sector, results of research in the field of customer capital relationship management in the small and medium-sized enterprises sector (grant from the National Science Centre) and experience gained in the course of business activities. The arguments presented in the literature search and the developed model of the impact of customer loyalty on the sustainable value of the company support the thesis of the positive impact of customer loyalty motives on value creation through an increase in the level of efficiency index. The publication presents, in the form of recommendations, the most important actions that can be taken by a company to stimulate consumer behavior, which are the result of proper identification and understanding of customer loyalty motives.
... As low-income consumers rapidly shift into middle-and upper-class consumption patterns, and countries that are classified as 'low-income' and yet still are home to large numbers of high-income consumers, they will need to address the environment impacts of consumption. Particularly countries such as China and India have the opportunity for "lifestyle leapfrogging" where they skip the carbon-intensive lifestyles of the industrialized countries, but improve their quality of life [39]. ...
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Current commitments in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are insufficient to remain within the 2-degree climate change limit agreed to in the Paris Agreement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that lifestyle changes are now necessary to stay within the limit. We reviewed a range of NDCs and national climate change strategies to identify inclusion of low-carbon lifestyles. We found that most NDCs and national climate change strategies do not yet include the full range of necessary mitigation measures targeting lifestyle change, particularly those that could reduce indirect emissions. Some exceptional NDCs, such as those of Austria, Slovakia, Portugal and the Netherlands, do include lifestyle changes, such as low-carbon diets, reduced material consumption, and low-carbon mobility. Most countries focus on supply-side measures with long lag times and might miss the window of opportunity to shape low-carbon lifestyle patterns, particularly those at early stages of development trajectories. Systemic barriers exist that should be corrected before new NDCs are released, including changing the accounting and reporting methodology, accounting for extraterritorial emissions, providing guidance on NDC scope to include the menu of options identified by the IPCC, and increasing support for national level studies to design demand-side policies.
... They are deeply afraid of getting into a technological lock-in by supporting a monopoly [62]. Indeed, the ideal condition for leapfrogging technology is being led by the market, where technological advances are driven by market demand [63]. ...
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The development of electric vehicles (EVs) is happening around the world with different goals. Many researchers have worked on various aspects of EVs from technological and supporting policy issues to the development of required infrastructures. However, arguing the proper time to realize the spreading of EVs in each region is neglected. For this purpose, the performance of two contextual factors in each region on the growth of EVs is investigated. Low carbon electricity generation and greenhouse gases emissions are the selected parameters, which are explored in the context of nine European countries, besides Luxembourg, to find their impacts on the issue. These countries have the highest shares of EVs in their energy systems. The achieved results are applied to the Luxembourg case to evaluate how different contextual factors may have hindered the growth of EVs here. In the next step, an analogy between the spreading EVs in Luxembourg and leapfrogging different technologies in the world is made to build a theory of the development of EVs. The theory defines the spreading EVs in Luxembourg as a leapfrogging energy technology to adopt new technology. It is concluded that the development of EVs has a normal priority in Luxembourg.
... However, those countries will garner critical positions in the global circular value chains in the future, considering that they are currently major generators of natural resources and producers of manufactured goods and will soon experience significant consumption levels [34][35][36]. In turn, this aspect emphasizes the pivotal role of CE to ensure that the growing production and consumption systems in the GS are sustainable, resources are used efficiently, and there is an investment in low-carbon economies [33,37,38]. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how the role of CE can be materialized in the GS context [32,39]. ...
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Circular Economy (CE) is a concept that stems from the need to address environmental degradation, social unrest and inequalities, institutional instability, resource scarcity, and economic challenges caused by the linear nature-society-nature systems that the large portion of society operates on. The dissemination of the concept and its implementation has been taking place in several nations and institutions globally, mainly in high-income countries, otherwise known as the Global North (GN). Nevertheless, it remains unclear how the role of CE can be materialized in the low-income contexts, also referred to as the Global South (GS), despite the region being the center of production and starting to experience an expansion towards driving global consumption. Some critical issues include the lack of data, analysis, surveys, discussions, and practical contributions of the CE in the GS. Moreover, compared with the GN and the People’s Republic of China specifically, little is known about the status of research conducted and case studies focusing on the GS. This study presents a bibliometric analysis to provide an overview of where and how scientists address the CE concept related to the GS. The findings clarify the most and least explored research themes, thus contributing to the current knowledge on the CE concept’s advances and presenting potential relevant research and practice avenues for future focus regarding the GS.
... A intenção de compra de um produto sustentável está ligada ao perfil do consumidor, como por exemplo, nível de escolaridade e renda familiar (COLARES; MATTAR, 2016), dessa forma, para que o consumo de produtos sustentáveis seja estimulado, é necessário que haja a oferta desses produtos para a população e que esta seja instruída a compreender a diferença entre um produto sustentável e um que não seja (HEISKANEN; MONT; POWER, 2014; SCHROEDER; ANANTHARAMAN, 2017). ...
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Resumo As preocupações ambientais no Brasil cresceram nos últimos anos. Uma dessas preocupações é em relação à destinação de resíduos das atividades extrativistas que ocorrem em todo o país. O ouriço da castanha-do-brasil, proveniente da atividade extrativista, representa um desses resíduos. Uma destinação economicamente sustentável para o ouriço é que esse pode servir de matéria-prima para o desenvolvimento de um novo produto ambientalmente correto. Contudo, uma pesquisa de mercado, com base no perfil e nas percepções dos futuros consumidores, se torna fundamental para um correto posicionamento estratégico para a comercialização de um novo produto. Para isso, foi utilizada uma pesquisa na cidade de Sinop-MT, por meio de um questionário estruturado. Posteriormente, foi possível verificar o perfil dos possíveis consumidores, além de analisar os principais fatores que podem influenciar na decisão de compra do produto. A pesquisa descritiva não-probabilística contou com 316 entrevistados. Os resultados revelaram que os valores referentes à consciência ambiental demonstraram a preocupação dos entrevistados com a questão ambiental e consumo consciente, porém, apesar dessa preocupação, não existe por parte dos entrevistados a atitude de influenciar ou conscientizar pessoas próximas. Também foi verificado que o principal fator impactante na decisão de compra é o fator econômico (fator renda). Palavras-chave: Biocarvão. Renda. Resíduo. Castanha-do-Pará. Abstract Environmental concerns in Brazil have grown in recent years. One of those concerns is regarding the disposal of waste from extractive activities that occur throughout the country. "Hedgehog" of Brazil nut, from extractive activity, represents one of those residues. An economically sustainable destination for the "hedgehogs" is that they can be used as a raw material for the development of a new environmentally friendly product: the activated carbon filter of "hedgehog " of Brazil nut. However, a market analysis based on the profile and perceptions of future consumers becomes essential for a correct strategic positioning for the commercialization of a new product. Thus, a market research was used in the city of Sinop-MT, through a questionnaire to collect the information. Later, it was possible to verify the potential consumers' profile and to analyze the main factors that may influence the decision to purchase the product. The non-probabilistic descriptive research had 316 respondents. The results showed that the values regarding environmental awareness, demonstrated the interviewees' concern with the environmental issue and conscious consumption, however, despite this concern, there is no attitude when it comes to the interviewees to influence or raise awareness among close people. It was also found that the main impacting factor in the purchase decision is the economic factor (income factor). A maneira de pensar e agir tem influência na forma com que as pessoas consomem produtos (GODECKE; NAIME; FIGUEIREDO, 2012), uma crescente preocupação é estimular padrões de consumo sustentáveis pela população mundial, o que está diretamente ligado ao desenvolvimento sustentável. A intenção de compra de um produto sustentável está ligada ao perfil do consumidor, como por exemplo, nível de escolaridade e renda familiar (COLARES; MATTAR, 2016), dessa forma, para que o consumo de produtos sustentáveis seja estimulado, é necessário que haja a oferta desses produtos para a população e que esta seja instruída a compreender a diferença entre um produto sustentável e um que não seja (HEISKANEN; MONT; POWER, 2014; SCHROEDER; ANANTHARAMAN, 2017). Essa consciência ecológica vem sendo amplamente divulgada nas mídias sociais (KAMARUDDIN; AHMAD; ALWEE, 2016) e em encontros de líderes mundiais, cujo objetivo é buscar soluções para que o desenvolvimento econômico seja atrelado também a preservação ambiental (ONU-BRASIL, 2017). A educação ambiental gera a demanda por produtos ecológicos e, ao estimular o consumo sustentável por parte da população, também gera uma forte influência nas indústrias, que buscarão alternativas ambientalmente corretas em seus padrões de produção (DOMINGUES et al., 2016). A Lei nº 12.305 de 2010 (BRASIL, 2010) estabelece a
... What will be the effect on VW Group carbon emissions if new markets such as Rwanda are opened up not by selling vehicles but by offering mobility services only (VW, 2018c)? Such examples of possible "lifestyle leapfrogging", i.e. consumers in emerging economies adapting less resource-intense lifestyles than, for example, consumers in the EU (Schroeder and Anantharaman, 2017) should be included in analyses performed within the CBC method. ...
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Automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) cause considerable amounts of CO2 emissions over the life cycle of their vehicles. They are thus contributing to global climate change. To stop climate change, all industries, including OEMs, must accomplish a major reduction of CO2 emissions. OEMs report past emissions and receive external support for setting Paris Agreement-compatible reduction targets. Though currently, OEMs do not have access to a methodology that facilitates modelling their future absolute emissions and the leverage of reduction measures at the company level. They are thus unable to develop holistic carbon reduction strategies. Here I demonstrate that current carbon management approaches remain conceptual. Based on the analysis of OEMs’ future emission drivers, requirements are developed to evaluate additional methods for their applicability in the subsequent method derivation. Quantifying the effect of integrating mobility services in OEMs’ fleets on the company’s absolute emissions is evaluated as especially important. For this reason, the Carbon Budget Compliance (CBC) method is developed by integrating and refining the analysed approaches. This method facilitates computing the impact of single reduction measures on fleet level over the life cycle of vehicles and mobility services regarding compliance with a carbon budget. The CBC method is exemplarily applied in a case study for the Volkswagen Group (VW). In scenario analyses the leverage of using renewable energy sources for battery production and electrified vehicles’ use phase is computed for fleets consisting of private vehicles and mobility services (car sharing, ride hailing, ride pooling). VW’s absolute emissions between 2015 and 2050 are modelled regarding the compliance with a 2 °C-compatible carbon budget. I show that immediate operationalisation of the two reduction measures for private vehicle and mobility service fleets is crucial for budget compliance. Due to higher load factors, ride hailing and pooling vehicles provide more person-km (p-km) during their lifetime than private vehicles. Fleet sizes in these scenarios are thus reduced. As heavier ride pooling vehicles need higher battery capacities than average Group vehicles, ensuring the use of renewable energy sources over their life cycle is crucial to attain absolute emission reduction. Otherwise, the reductive effect of smaller fleets is counterbalanced. The load factor of car sharing vehicles is similar or equal to private vehicles. By offering car sharing, OEMs can thus only reduce absolute emissions via an earlier onset of fleet electrification and the use of renewable energy sources. The high dependence on the energy sector’s decarbonisation efforts calls for OEMs to play an active role in the provision of sufficient amounts of renewable energy. The lowest modelled overshoot of the carbon budget is 5% facilitated by a combination of ride hailing and private vehicles as well as by operationalising the reduction measures. OEMs should therefore analyse additional measures tackling the supply chain and less CO2-intensive emission categories such as logistics within the CBC method. The method facilitates modelling such measures due to its modular approach. By using the CBC method, OEMs are now able to develop effective carbon reduction strategies to support achieving global climate targets and monitor their success. To improve the CBC method, future research should address the automation of data flows between data systems and the integration of micro-scale mobility models to quantify rebound effects caused by mobility services. Coupling internal carbon pricing with the CBC method could further promote its applicability in OEMs’ daily business operations.
... To make the CE work for HD it will need to provide the products and services that contribute to health and well-being and enable sustainable lifestyles choices and enhanced capabilities while reducing environmental impacts. The transformation of lifestyles will be influenced by a shift from a linear economy of scale to an' economy of choice': driven by flexible production and new business models, consumers having more options (Whitney, 2015), including sustainable consumption choices for emerging consumers in developing countries that would enable 'lifestyle leapfrogging' to avoid lock-in into linear consumption patterns (Schröder and Anantharaman, 2016). Thriving CE and inclusive and diverse societies would therefore be characterised by their ability to meet societal needs, namely, that the ultimate goal of the CE would be to ensure the well-being, reduced inequality and prosperity of all its citizens, rather than simply a model allowing for economic growth, decoupled from material consumption (DiFrancesco, 2019). ...
This paper aims to re-conceptualise and advance the existing frameworks and practical applications of the circular economy (CE) towards a broader approach to development in general and, more particularly, to combine it with the approach for Human Development (HD). The CE is an alternative to the current "take, make, waste” extractive industrial model and offers a practical solution to address global and local environmental challenges, such as resource depletion, marine plastic pollution, and for staying within planetary system boundaries. Although the CE and related concepts such as cradle to cradle provide a most promising alternative to the traditional linear economy model and its impacts on the planets eco-systems, some of the CE key elements have raised debate both in the academic community and among policy makers. One of the debates concerns the missing social or human dimensions of the CE. Likewise, the HD approach lacks considerations of environmental sustainability. Drawing on both academic and grey literature and the authorsö research observations and professional experiences in the fields of promoting the CE and international development cooperation for HD, we attempt to develop an integrative conceptual framework of the CE and HD. This framework includes social-economic elements of the transformation from linear to circular economic models, combined with HD from the social sciences and development studies. We thereby complement the technological-material focused CE model that is primarily based on principles of industrial ecology and engineering. We utilize the existing ‘circular humansphereö concept to articulate the incorporation of HD into the discussion of CE. By bringing in explicit links with HD, we pursue a double aim: First, to raise awareness and understanding among the CE research community of the missing human dimension in current CE discourse, and second, to familiarise the international development community with the approaches of CE. This will advance the options for adopting CE practices in international development programmes and for the process of implementing the social SDGs concerning HD such as SDG 1, 3, 4, 5, and 10. Finally, we hope that this CE and HD framework can contribute to the resolution of environmental and developmental issues.
No poverty is goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 1995, 10 percent world population lived in extreme poverty. More than one billion, almost 13 percent of the world population, live in Sub-Saharan Africa. This area accounts for two-thirds of global extreme poverty. At the same time, Africa has the fastest growing population with a median age less than 20 years, and about 30 percent of the Earth’s remaining mineral resources. This dynamic calls for special attention, and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa is the focus in this chapter. This chapter begins with an analysis of Africa’s current situation in terms of development; it details challenges and opportunities and through concrete cases and examples summarizes what has worked and what has not worked. Based on this foundation, key issues for a sustainable future in Sub-Sahara Africa are addressed. Examples of business built on sustainable resources and business opportunities are also presented.
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This report presents a review of Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) projects in Indian cities. The study aims to highlight gaps in implementation of policy, and identify appropriate policy and design interventions required to encourage NMT use in Indian cities. The study is part of a larger research project – ‘Promoting Low Carbon Transport (LCT) in Indian Cities’, which is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
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This article applies social practice theory to study the emergence of sustainable consumption practices like bicycling among the new middle classes of Bangalore, India. I argue that expansions of bicycling practices are dependent on the construction of defensive distinctions, which I define as distinctions that draw equally on lifestyle-based and ethics-based discourses to normalize bicycling among Bangalore’s middle classes. With their environmental discourses and signage, middle-class cyclists make claims to being ethical actors and ecological citizens concerned about global environments. Their high-end bicycles and special gear enable them to maintain their social status in personal and professional circles, despite adopting what is an essentialized and stigmatized mobility practice in a social context where personal automobiles are a dominant symbol of respectability and propertied citizenship. These defensive distinctions are anchored in communities that facilitate social learning, skill-building, and the creation of collective identities. I highlight the importance of considering the role of ethical discourses in consolidating “low-status” social practices among “high-status” class fractions and discuss the implications of promoting sustainable consumption through the othering of the poor. By applying a social practice analytic to study middle-class bicycling practices, this article makes a significant contribution to the growing literature that investigates the applicability of practice-based approaches to environmental behaviors and sustainable consumption in a novel context.
How does globalization influence transitions toward more sustainable socio-technical regimes in the developing world? This paper argues that transformations of regimes, the networks and institutions governing technological and environmental practices in an industry, can be positively influenced by globalization but it depends on how global forces interact with local socio-political landscapes—the political–economic institutions, values, and regulations broadly guiding an economy and its relationship to the environment. We evaluate these relationships through a comparison of two kinds of socio-political landscapes—the neo-liberal export-led development model commonly found in the developing world and the uniquely Asian capitalist developmental state. We first show how the neo-liberal model overemphasizes the power of market forces to facilitate upgrading and more sustainable industrialization. We then argue that capitalist developmental states in East and Southeast Asia have been better able to harness global economic forces for technological and sustainability transitions through an openness to trade and investment and effective public–private institutions able to link cleaner technologies and environmental standards to production activities in firms. We buttress this argument with firm-level evidence showing the evolution of socio-technical regimes in two industries—cement and electronics. The case studies demonstrate how interactions with OECD firms can contribute to environmental technique effects provided the socio-political landscape is amenable to changes in an industry's regime. Ultimately, we find the process of transition to be complex and contingent; a hard slog not a leap frog toward a potentially more sustainable future. We close by considering the limitations on the capitalist developmental state model and with comments about what else needs to be learned about globalization's role in sustainability transitions.
The huge corpus of work on consumption still lacks theoretical consolidation. This is most obvious when contemplating the situations of different disciplines, where there is very little common ground (see, for example, the review in Miller 1995). But the problem is no less great in individual disciplines like sociology, for example, where output seems to me to have been bipolar, generating either abstract and speculative social theory or detailed case studies. Moreover, case studies have been skewed towards favourite, but restricted, topics—fashion, advertising and some forms of popular recreational activity—with particular attention paid to their symbolic meanings and role in the formation of self-identity. These case studies, perhaps encouraged by prominent versions of the abstract theories which say that the consumer has no choice but to choose and will be judged in terms of the symbolic adequacy of that choice (e.g. Bauman 1988; Giddens 1991), very often operated with models of highly autonomous individuals preoccupied with symbolic communication. Believing that these approaches give a partial understanding of consumption, this chapter sketches an alternative, avoiding methodological individualist accounts of ‘the consumer’, which are concerned as much with what people do and feel as what they mean.
The new middle classes of developing countries are held responsible for boosting extremely resource-intensive lifestyles beyond the OECD-world thus thwarting ongoing efforts to attain a more sustainable future. But how homogeneous are their consumption patterns and why should not globalization include the extension of environmental concern, too? "The New Middle Classes" challenges a narrow understanding of lifestyles and consumption by analyzing the issue not only in terms of attitudes and preferences but of socio-economic features and governmental policies, too. Original contributions from internationally renowned researchers bring fresh multidisciplinary insights in both theoretical and empirical respect. "The New Middle Classes" will be of interest mainly to sociologists, political scientists, human geographers, and anthropologists.