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Greening lifecycles and lifestyles: sociotechnical innovations in consumption and production as core concerns of ecological modernisation theory

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... Their popularisation requires specific criteria to be met, including macro-and microeconomic, educational activities, and promotion of sustainable consumption. Actions promoting changes in the existing consumer behaviours toward informed and responsible behaviours are a long-term process, which should involve central-and local-government institutions, politicians shaping the socio-economic life ( Spaargaren and Van Vliet, 20 0 0 ;Spaargaren and Cohen, 2009 ;Spaargaren and Mol, 2013 ;Agnew et al., 2020 ), incentives for people to buy organic products (e.g. e-car subsidies), schools at different levels of the education system, entrepreneurs responsible for offers, corporate culture, and marketing activities (via e.g. ...
... Vliet (2000) , Spaargaren and Cohen (2009) selected social groups, e.g. young consumers. ...
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Environmental changes resulting from human activity and the negative impact of civilisational megatrends are being noticed and criticised increasingly often, and their consequences are becoming extremely severe. If people do not change their habits, changes in our ecosystems will become irreversible and it will be impossible to live in such environment. Thus, the aim of the paper is to review the lifestyles of responsible consumers against the background of the sustainable development paradigm. To engage in the debate as to how a sustainable lifestyle can be operationalized, we conducted a traditional, narrative literature review. Apart from revising the theoretical framework of a sustainable lifestyle, we describe selected lifestyles (such as lifestyle of health and sustainability, wellness, hygge, lagom, slow living, smart living, low-carbon lifestyles) and consumer behaviour patterns (fair trade, values and lifestyle segmentation). Each of these lifestyles relates to a broader or narrower extent to sustainable development, but none of the lifestyles is universal. Conscious and responsible consumer behaviour requires a long-term process and to a large extent depends on individual, political and marketing factors. Finally, we made an evaluation of the research used, pointing out challenges to be implemented, which will contribute to the development, enhancement and prominence of a sustainable lifestyle.
... Academics on the far right of the co-citation map use the context of social practices rather than that of individual consumer behavior in their consumption studies. Their exploration of food waste [129], laundry [130], and consumer agency [131] take the focus of research away from the individual to the way these practices are performed, and how sustainability of consumption can be achieved by the modification of these practices [132]. ...
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There is a causal relationship between existential dangers to our biosphere and our unsustainable consumption practices. For more than three decades, academics and researchers have explored ideas to make consumption practices sustainable. Still, a practical and widely accepted solution to the problem is missing. This review aims for a theoretical and structural understanding of the literature to identify future avenues for marketing, to explore and increase its contribution to consumption sustainability research. The review used bibliometric and integrative review methods to synthesize knowledge. The review found that sustainable consumption research has proliferated since 2015, indicating a heightened interest in the field. There are four major schools of thought in sustainable consumption research, employing three interdependent micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis to understand consumption practices. By focusing on individual consumption behaviors, this review recommends that consumption sustainability be repositioned as a means of attaining a better quality of life for consumers. It involves reforming the consumer mindset toward progress based on pro-social and pro-ecological choices, training consumers in mindful consumption practices, and providing them with an infrastructure for consuming with a mindful mindset. It is recommended that marketing should refine itself as a pro-social discipline, with consumer well-being as its primary goal, and to become a leader in reshaping quality of life in terms of non-financial standards.
... Focus is on improving the resource efficiency of consumptions, rather than challenging patterns and volumes of consumption (Fuchs & Lorek, 2005). This approach resonates with the dominant eco-modernist political agenda on green growth and decoupling, without demanding substantial structural transformations and radical changes in lifestyle (Spaargaren, 2000;Spaargaren & Cohen, 2009). As such, it is more acceptable by consumers, businesses and governments. ...
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In addition to a primary dwelling, having access to a non-primary dwelling for leisure activities is a mass phenomenon with a long tradition in Norway. This paper questions the Norwegian multi-dwelling lifestyle by critically discussing its climate implications. Based on a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews with persons having access to non-primary dwellings, the paper analyzes the mobility pattern and housing consumption pattern of the multi-dwelling lifestyle. Two lifestyle groups are distinguished: traditional, and modern multi-dwelling lifestyles. A discussion of the climate implications of the two multi-dwelling lifestyles suggests that the traditional non-primary dwelling lifestyle is less climate harmful than the modern one. Furthermore, informed by the weak and strong sustainability perspectives, the paper suggests two climate policy pathways in order to raise and enrich the debates on climate-friendly development of the multi-dwelling lifestyle.
... In particular, EM proponents have focused much of their attention on demonstrating that as socioeconomic processes and institutions develop, or modernize, renewed and intensified environmental concerns and improved efficiency and technology can lead to the decoupling of the economy and environmental impact (Mol, 1997;York & Rosa 2003;York et al., 2010). Thus, given sufficient time and economic growth, the introduction of environmentally protective political policies, and popular social movements, as well as more environmentally aware choices among consumers-and subsequently producerswithin the marketplace should lead to a relative dematerialization of economic processes and allow for economic growth and environmental mitigation to be compatible (Jorgenson & Clark, 2012;Mol, 2002;Spaargaren & Cohen, 2009). ...
... The concept of ecological rationality is a core feature of ecological modernization theory 1 (EMT). Proponents of EMT often analyze instances of environmental reform to assess the degree to which nations, organizations, and various markets are able to institute environmentally conscious production practices (Mol, Spaargaren, and Sonnenfeld 2009;Spaargaren and Cohen 2009). Critics of EMT argue that the existence of ecologically rational policies and production practices does not necessarily curtail environmental degradation at the national or global level (York and Rosa 2003). ...
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In the past two decades, income inequality has steadily increased in most developed nations. During this same period, the growth rate of CO2 emissions has declined in many developed nations, cumulating to a recent period of decoupling between economic growth and CO2 emissions. The aim of the present study is to advance research on socioeconomic drivers of CO2 emissions by assessing how the distribution of income affects the relationship between economic growth and CO2 emissions. The authors find that from 1985 to 2011, rising income inequality leads to a tighter coupling between economic growth and CO2 emissions in developed nations. Additionally, the authors find that increases in the top 20 percent of income earners’ share of national income have resulted in a larger association between economic growth and CO2 emissions, while increases in the bottom 20 percent of income earners’ share of national income reduced the association between economic growth and CO2 emissions.
... For example, ecolabels are apparently private arrangements involving voluntary standards, but in many cases states are also involved [59,60]. The "reconfiguration" approach to the field of Sustainable Consumption and Production, and third generation Ecological Modernisation approaches consider sustainability questions in terms of systems, in which both the individual choices of consumers and firms, and the overarching structures of industrial capitalism are key to improving sustainability [37,61]. The Interactive Governance approach in fisheries specifically looks at interactions between multiple diverse actors, mainly focused on the fishing node of the chain [62], but in some cases looking at whole supply chains [63]. ...
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Private standards, including ecolabels, have been posed as a governance solution for the global fisheries crisis. The conventional logic is that ecolabels meet consumer demand for certified "sustainable" seafood, with "good" players rewarded with price premiums or market share and "bad" players punished by reduced sales. Empirically, however, in the markets where ecolabeling has taken hold, retailers and brands-rather than consumers-are demanding sustainable sourcing, to build and protect their reputation. The aim of this paper is to devise a more accurate logic for understanding the sustainable seafood movement, using a qualitative literature review and reflection on our previous research. We find that replacing the consumer-driven logic with a retailer/brand-driven logic does not go far enough in making research into the sustainable seafood movement more useful. Governance is a "concert" and cannot be adequately explained through individual actor groups. We propose a new logic going beyond consumer- or retailer/brand-driven models, and call on researchers to build on the partial pictures given by studies on prices and willingness-to-pay, investigating more fully the motivations of actors in the sustainable seafood movement, and considering audience beyond the direct consumption of the product in question.
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This book is intended for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners interested in the dynamics and governance of low-carbon transitions. Drawing on the Multi-Level Perspective, it develops a whole system reconfiguration approach that explains how the incorporation of multiple innovations can cumulatively reconfigure existing systems. The book focuses on UK electricity, heat, and mobility systems, and it systematically analyses interactions between radical niche-innovations and existing (sub)systems across techno-economic, policy, and actor dimensions in the past three decades. Comparative analysis explains why the unfolding low-carbon transitions in these three systems vary in speed, scope, and depth. It evaluates to what degree these transitions qualify as Great Reconfigurations and assesses the future potential for, and barriers to, deeper low-carbon system transitions. Generalising across these systems, broader lessons are developed about the roles of incumbent firms, governance and politics, user engagement, wider public, and civil society organisations. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
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This book is intended for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners interested in the dynamics and governance of low-carbon transitions. Drawing on the Multi-Level Perspective, it develops a whole system reconfiguration approach that explains how the incorporation of multiple innovations can cumulatively reconfigure existing systems. The book focuses on UK electricity, heat, and mobility systems, and it systematically analyses interactions between radical niche-innovations and existing (sub)systems across techno-economic, policy, and actor dimensions in the past three decades. Comparative analysis explains why the unfolding low-carbon transitions in these three systems vary in speed, scope, and depth. It evaluates to what degree these transitions qualify as Great Reconfigurations and assesses the future potential for, and barriers to, deeper low-carbon system transitions. Generalising across these systems, broader lessons are developed about the roles of incumbent firms, governance and politics, user engagement, wider public, and civil society organisations. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
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The article discusses futures in housing development by applying the approaches from ‘future studies’ to design two explorative scenarios reflecting alternative strategies for achieving sustainable and just housing development. The main aim is to develop scenarios that can achieve a specific normative goal: a future housing development that is both environmentally sustainable and socially just. Two scenarios are built – ecological modernisation and degrowth – that reflect different degrees of societal change, ranging from conventional to radical. The scenarios are applied to the two selected cases of the Milan and Oslo regions, drawing on the statistics of the contextual housing system and the document analysis on planning and housing. We further discuss how the specific scenarios can take place and which challenges will be encountered.
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This paper analyzes the current practices of Cradle-to-Cradle and its potential as a strong instance of Ecological Modernization. Cradle-to-Cradle is a biomimetic approach that concerns itself with designing better production processes upstream that respect the environment by ensuring a healthy use of materials and by creating closed material loops to reduce resource consumption. It strives to eliminate the concept of waste through waste=food practices, i.e. designing products and materials with the intention for them to be used as raw material after consumption either for the biological or technical cycle. The potential for Cradle- to-Cradle to create greater structural transformation however, is impeded by a series of social, political and economic factors throughout its implementation. These are highlighted via a case study of Steelcase, a furniture company and designer of work spaces. The analysis takes us through its everyday obstacles to applying Cradle-to-Cradle as well as a deeper look into current characteristics of the approach that might assist or impede its development as strong Ecological Modernization.
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