About this Research Topic
Climate change is the fundamental issue of our time. The past decade has been the hottest period in human history, with carbon dioxide levels at record highs. A green recovery is the most direct response to climate change. A recent review article pointed out that countries will need to work four times as hard to reach the goal of controlling temperature rise proposed in the Paris Agreement. In the past, the international community mostly focused on energy conservation and emission reduction in industrial production, but with the continuous growth of household consumption, the energy consumption and carbon emissions caused by it are gradually increasing. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formally proposed that changing consumption patterns might be one of the effective ways to mitigate climate warming. In recent years, developed countries have gradually shifted their strategic focus to demand-side management, which will become an important way to solve the contradiction between energy supply and demand. Therefore, the realization of the goals of the Paris Agreement requires not only a low-carbon transformation in the production field, but also green consumption in the consumption field. Carbon emission reduction on the demand side will become a key breakthrough and an important work to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and global sustainable development.
Green consumption refers to the consumption behavior and is characterized by resource conservation and environmental protection. This is manifested in advocating thrift, reducing loss, choosing efficient and environmentally friendly products and services, and reducing resource consumption and pollution emissions in the consumption process. Green consumption is the comprehensive greening of consumption concepts, behaviors, patterns, processes, and results. It is an important subject worthy of study to promote the practice of green consumption of consumers and to transform the concept of green life into voluntary choice and conscious action of residents.
Green consumption is the concentrated embodiment of sustainable development on the consumption side. As a subsystem of the economic system, green consumption is not only a choice of consumers, but also a consequence of production and market conditions. It is the interweaving of social, economic, and environmental problems. Therefore, in the course of market operation, green consumption can easily lead to a series of problems such as product premium, market deception, product and service lag, market information asymmetry, and embezzlement of public resources. The development of green consumption is facing obstacles and challenges.
From the perspective of policy design, policy guidance is a catalyst for promoting green consumption. Green consumption requires people to abandon some inherent consumption habits, which is a difficult and painful process for most individuals. Under such a realistic background, without external policy intervention, individuals can hardly consciously and voluntarily internalize environmental protection into their own consumption habits and actively practice a green lifestyle. In order to promote a greener individual consumption in time and ensure the order and effectiveness of green consumption, it is necessary to intervene individual behavior with policy tools through the visible hand of the government. In addition to the rigid management of laws, regulations, and policies, social development and progress have created the possibility for the implementation of flexible social management. Compared with rigid management, flexible management emphasizes the guidance of people’s cognition and is marked by humanization and people-oriented, focusing on the organization’s spiritual values and cohesion of organization members. Flexible management, with the satisfaction of organization members as the guide, through the study of organization members’ psychological experience and the rules of action to coordinate individual needs and the will of the organization, so as to efficiently achieve the established goals of the organization.
From the perspective of individual choice, the transformation of consumption patterns is the active change of the public in cognition and action, involving rich and subtle psychological choices. The forms, concepts, behaviors, ways, processes, and results of green consumption are constantly evolving and upgrading, and presenting different characteristics at different stages of society. The acceptance and practice of green consumption are not only influenced by the values hidden deep, but also by the social psychology in group life. Why is the public unable or unwilling to implement green consumption? What are the deep influencing factors and their influencing path? These problems have not been well resolved by the theoretical circle. In fact, the change of consumption patterns requires a behavioral and psychological change among the public. Analyzing these psychological mechanisms is helpful to understand the internal motivation of the green transformation of residents’ consumption patterns and promote the transformation process. At the same time, as people in the society, residents have social attributes and are bound to be restricted by social norms and group behaviors. Moreover, this influence is more stable, effective, durable and comprehensive, and has a greater impact on the promotion of green consumption. Therefore, it is of profound theoretical and practical significance to actively conduct research on the group behavior and psychological mechanisms of green consumption.
This Research Topic aims to incorporate the psychology and behavior of green consumption into a broader research framework, and provide new ideas for the design and implementation of green consumption policies guided by public psychology and behavior in the future.
We welcome papers addressing, but not limited to:
- Results, theories and methods related to the psychology or behavioral aspects of green consumption.
- Major social issues (such as environment and health) and the psychology of green consumption.
- The social psychological mechanisms of green consumption at different stages.
- Design of flexible regulatory policies and social security systems for green consumption.
**This Research Topic would not have been possible without the hard work of Qianwen Li, who was instrumental in the development of this Research Topic. **
Keywords: Influencing factors; Theory and methods; Intervention and nudge policies; Social security system; Social psycho-mechanism
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.