可持续消费包括使用对环境和社会影响最小的服务和产品，以便后代能够满足他们的需要。消费者行为是社会对环境影响的关键。人们为消费某些服务和产品或以某种方式而不是其他方式生活而作出的选择和采取的行动，都对环境以及集体和个人福利产生间接和直接的影响。这就是为什么可持续消费是一个值得关注的重要话题(Dagher and Itani, 2014)。
当谈到可持续消费时，首先要理解的重要事情是人们为什么要以某种方式消费。制约或塑造消费者行为和选择的关键驱动力或因素是什么?另一个问题是，人们什么时候以及为什么会在消费模式方面表现出亲社会或亲环境的行为。理解这一点很重要，因为它使我们知道如何激励、促进和鼓励更可持续的生活方式、行为和态度。推动可持续消费的原因需要研究消费者行为理论以及影响行为模式和行为变化的因素(Dagher and Itani, 2014)。了解消费者行为的另一个重要方面是制定可用于促进可持续消费的营销策略。
例如，美国和欧洲国家正在推广各种可持续消费意识项目。在这样的项目下，沃尔玛(Walmart)和特易购(TESCO)等企业正在教育消费者可持续消费的好处，以及可持续消费如何成为一种理性选择。然而，理性选择理论一直受到很多批评，因为很多人认为消费者的决策并不总是理性的，而且还受到他们的态度和个人行为的影响(Jones, Comfort and Hillier, 2012)。
Sustainable consumption involves the use of services and products that cause minimal environmental and social impact so that future generations could meet their needs. Consumer behavior serves as a key towards the impact a society has on the environment. The choices made by people, and the actions they take for consuming certain services and products, or for living in some ways rather than others, all cause indirect and direct impact on the environment as well as on collective and personal well-being. That is the reason why sustainable consumption is an important topic to concern (Dagher and Itani, 2014).
When it comes to sustainable consumption, the important thing to first understand is why people consume in certain ways. What are the key drivers or factors that constrain or shape the actions and choices of consumers? Another question is when and why people behave in pro-social or pro-environmental ways in terms of their consumption pattern. This is important to understand because it enables us to know how to motivate, facilitate and encourage more sustainable lifestyles, behavior and attitudes. Motivating the cause of sustainable consumption requires the study of consumer behavior theories and the factors that can influence the behavioral patterns and behavioral changes (Dagher and Itani, 2014). Another important aspect of understanding the consumer behavior is to develop marketing tactics that can be used to promote sustainable consumption.
The study here will use various models of consumer behavior to develop an insight relating to the way consumers actually think. It will then highlight various factors that serve as a driver or constrain towards the behavior of consumers to indulge in sustainable consumption. The study will use the approach of real life examples along with an academic debate based on theories and models related to consumer behavior and behavioral change.
Factors that drive sustainable consumption
Costs/Benefits and the Rational Choice Model
For example, there are various sustainability consumption awareness programs that are being promoted in United States and European countries. Under such programs, the corporate concerns such as Walmart and TESCO are educating consumers about the benefits of sustainable consumption and how it serves as a rational choice. However, there has been a lot of criticism on the Rational Choice Theory, because many believe that the decisions of the consumers are not always rational and are also influenced by their attitude and personal behavior (Jones, Comfort and Hillier, 2012).