How to SHIFT consumer behaviors to be more sustainable: A literature review and guiding framework

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Abstract

Highlighting the important role of marketing in encouraging sustainable consumption, the current research presents a review of the academic literature from marketing and behavioral science that examines the most effective ways to shift consumer behaviors to be more sustainable. In the process of the review, the authors develop a comprehensive framework for conceptualizing and encouraging sustainable consumer behavior change. The framework is represented by the acronym SHIFT, and it proposes that consumers are more inclined to engage in pro-environmental behaviors when the message or context leverages the following psychological factors: Social influence, Habit formation, Individual self, Feelings and cognition, and Tangibility. The authors also identify five broad challenges to encouraging sustainable behaviors and use these to develop novel theoretical propositions and directions for future research. Finally, the authors outline how practitioners aiming to encourage sustainable consumer behaviors can use this framework.

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White, K., Habib, R., & Hardisty, D. J. (2019). How to SHIFT consumer behaviors to be more sustainable: A literature review and guiding framework. Journal of Marketing, 83(3), 22–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022242919825649

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