Conscious Consumption

Sustainable Consumption: More Using, Less Shopping

Daiane Scaraboto



Keywords: Sustainability, Consumption, Mindshift, Degrowth, Circular Economy


To develop a more sustainable economy, we need a new definition of “consumption”: To consume is to use, not to buy. Understanding consumers as users – rather than shoppers – can prompt organizations to reconsider what they can do to create value for consumers. Rather than extracting resources from the planet to produce more goods that could feed into the cycle of purchases, organizations can devise value-creating ways to collect, reuse, and recycle post-consumption resources. They can consider the many ways in which services can be offered to support consumers in using the products they already own for longer.
Even though more sustainability can be fun in some cases, people will also need to make peace with the fact that consuming sustainably will not necessarily be convenient, cheap, or fast. While consumers and their actions in the marketplace play a key-role, responsibility cannot be placed on consumers alone. Developing a sustainable economy will take a concerted effort from multiple market and non-market actors.


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Daiane Scaraboto, Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Melbourne, Australia, dscaraboto@unimelb.edu.au