Encouraging Sustainable Behaviour Change via a Social Practice Approach: A Focus on Apparel Consumption Practices

Morven McEachern, Deborah Middleton, Tracy Cassidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


To encourage greater sustainability regarding apparel consumption practices, policymakers have traditionally focused on economic and/or social psychology frameworks which rely on information-based campaigns to achieve behavioural change. Whilst such campaigns have had limited success and received significant criticism, additional policy solutions are called for. In contrast to conventional behavioural change strategies, this study responds to calls for further methodological insight and explores the potential of creative methods such as upcycling workshops and contemplative theatre performance, as practice-based mechanisms to engender a greater understanding of the environmental impact of apparel consumption and help bring about behavioural change to current apparel consumption practice. Via the theoretical lens of behavioural change theory and contemplative performance practice, our findings reveal the dynamic and continuously reshaping nature of the apparel market, in that most of our participants were until recently unaware of the unsustainable nature of the apparel industry. Despite some participants citing barriers, such as a lack of time, peer pressure, and the desire to express a specific social identity, reactions to practice-based methods were overwhelmingly positive. Thus, initiating a more proactive engagement with sustainability issues as well as increased reflection and discussion on how they might modify current apparel consumption behaviours in the future. We conclude by making suggestions for policymakers regarding future sustainability initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-418
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Consumer Policy
Issue number2
Early online date31 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Encouraging Sustainable Behaviour Change via a Social Practice Approach: A Focus on Apparel Consumption Practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this