Debates on sustainable consumption continue to focus on aspects of product efficiency and “smarter”, “greener” ways of consuming, while neglecting politically explosive, yet necessary debates on sufficiency, de-growth, and radical change as well as questions of justice that come with it. As a consequence, emphasis is placed on consumers as being the decisive actors, bearing the responsibility of forcing the economic system towards green growth through the sheer power of their demand. While there is no denying the fact that consumers’ decisions do matter, focusing on the consumer bears the risk of individualizing responsibility in a way that, on the one hand, disregards the social character of consumption, and, on the other hand, allows distracting from the common political responsibility to overcome the societal unease with the idea of change having to go way beyond aesthetic corrections.
Against this backdrop, Erik Assadourian, Jô Portilho, Julia Backhaus and Lewis Akenji address the question of consumer responsibility in the transformation process towards more sustainable consumption-production-patterns from an environmental and social justice perspective.
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