The Environmental Impact of Consumption Lifestyles: Ethically Minded Consumption vs. Tightwads

Touchette L, Nepomuceno MV. (2020). “The Environmental Impact of Consumption Lifestyles: Ethically Minded Consumption vs. Tightwads.” Sustainability 12(23), 9954. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239954

Abstract: This study investigates the environmental impact of anti-consumption lifestyles and compares it to environmental concern and ethically minded consumption. Environmental impact was measured in a sample of 357 individuals with a carbon footprint calculator capturing all greenhouse gases released by an individual’s activities. Three types of anti-consumption lifestyles were considered: frugality, voluntary simplicity, and tightwadism. Results suggest that tightwadism is negatively associated with environmental impact. This negative association is stronger when participants are knowledgeable about the emissions impact of their behaviors. These findings suggest that tightwadism can lead to positive outcomes to achieve sustainability. Surprisingly, frugality and voluntary simplicity, as well as environmental concern, are not significantly associated with environmental impact, whereas ethically minded consumption correlates positively with the latter. This study demonstrates that increasing consumers’ environmental and ethical concerns alone might not be an effective way to lead them towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Such findings have important implications for sustainability and public policy makers.

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