Understanding consumer choices, habits and routines and how they can become more sustainable
Making consumption more sustainable will require changes in both what goods and services people use in their daily lives, and how they use them. This, in turn, requires analysis of why people consume in particular ways. Put in different terms, to understand consumer behaviour requires analysis of:
1. Acquisition – how goods and services are acquired;
2. Appreciation – the symbolic, communicative and aesthetic aspects of consuming; and
3. Appropriation – the use of goods and services in order to accomplish personal and social practices and standards of living.
Our focus is on how these three A’s come together in daily life, since it is everyday practices such as eating, bathing and driving that make up the bulk of energy, water and the other resources we consume.
What is distinctive about our approach to consumer behaviour is that we look beyond individual choice toward ordinary and habitual everyday practices and how they relate to changing infrastructures, policy and power. Our research seeks to understand why lifestyles have developed in their particular form and to explain their relative resilience or flexibility in order to assess the potential for sustainable interventions.