Understanding consumer choices, habits and routines and how they can become more sustainable

Provisioning, consumption and the organisation of daily life

Making consumption more sustainable will require changes in both what goods and services people use in their daily lives, and how they use them. This, in turn, requires analysis of why people consume in particular ways. Put in different terms, to understand consumer behaviour requires analysis of: 

1. Acquisition – how goods and services are acquired;

2. Appreciation – the symbolic, communicative and aesthetic aspects of consuming; and

3. Appropriation – the use of goods and services in order to accomplish personal and social practices and standards of living.

Our focus is on how these three A’s come together in daily life, since it is everyday practices such as eating, bathing and driving that make up the bulk of energy, water and the other resources we consume.

What is distinctive about our approach to consumer behaviour is that we look beyond individual choice toward ordinary and habitual everyday practices and how they relate to changing infrastructures, policy and power. Our research seeks to understand why lifestyles have developed in their particular form and to explain their relative resilience or flexibility in order to assess the potential for sustainable interventions. 


Research projects within this area

Read more(De)synchronisation of people and practices in working households: The relationship between the temporal organisation of employment and eating in the UK.

Read moreEating Out

Read moreReshaping the domestic nexus at home: engaging policy understandings of kitchen practices and how they can change

Read moreInnovation for Sustainable Meat

Read moreThe Domestic Nexus: Interrogating the interlinked practices of water, energy and food consumption

Read moreHouseholds, Retailers and Food Waste Transitions

Read moreMacro Mechanisms and Social Policies for Sustainable Consumption: A Comparative Perspective, China and the UK

Read morePatterns of Water: Understanding Diversity and Change in Domestic Consumption

Read moreConsumption, Environmental Change and Everyday Life: The Political Economy of Future Households

Read moreMoral licensing

Read more‘Environmental Leapfrogging’: Water Use in Developing and Emerging Markets

Read moreEnergy Consumption in Britain and Japan over the Twentieth Century

Read moreAdapting infrastructure for a lower carbon society – historical project

Read moreIntegrating and developing ‘practice’ approaches to understandings sustainable consumption:

Read moreChanging Eating habits: an International Comparison

Read moreEating practices, routines and rhythms