Changing Consumption Patterns in Green Economy

Changing Consumption Patterns in Green Economy

Violeta Sima (Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiești, Romania) and Ileana Georgiana Gheorghe (Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiești, Romania)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7521-6.ch009

Abstract

This chapter has considered the recent changes occurring in consumer habits, aiming to highlight the link between them and the transition to a green economy. In the first part, after a brief introduction, the authors perform a review of the literature in the field, starting from the presentation of the concept of sustainable consumption. They start with the major changes in the social current economic environment and their impact on changes of the consumption patterns; they continue with the presentation of the changes of the consumption pattern in the European Union and the specific aspects of the current changes of the consumption patterns in Romania. Thus, the authors aim to identify the key features of the New European Consumer.
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Background

The concept of sustainable consumption was introduced in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in chapter 4 of the Agenda 21, refereeing also, to sustainable consumption patterns. Thus, developing national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption patterns was considered.

Subsequently, in 1994 within the Oslo Symposium on Sustainable Consumption, sustainable consumption was defined as follows: the use of services and related products which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations.

Consumption patterns problem was approached in the literature before the ‘80s. Analysis of the changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns should be performed in order to evaluate the role of the relations between needs and satisfaction. Among the first analyzes of the evolution of the consumption patterns, work of Wilkinson it is remarkable (1973). In the same time, we must mention proposals belonging to Douglas and Isherwood (1979), Campbell (1987) and Fine and Leopold (1993).

Max-Neef (1991) elaborated the need-satisfiers theory as the foundations of a framework for analyzing lifestyles and households consumption patterns. It defined nine basic universal needs, without establishing a hierarchy permanently fixed to them. In working out his theory, Max-Neef’s objective was helping grassroots groups to build their own conception of (human) development. Although the analyze of consumption patterns or lifestyles didn’t represent the main concern for many sociological analysis, it should be mentioned as a continuous presence in the papers of many scholars

It was not primarily meant to analyze consumption patterns or lifestyles as such, notwithstanding its use as such by several scholars (Jackson & Marks, 1999, Stagl & O’Hara, 2001, Jackson, Jager, & Stagl, 2004)

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