Analysis of barriers and drivers towards sustainable consumption behaviour from an Irish consumer perspective

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Colgan, Jodie
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University College Cork
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To transition to a sustainable consumption environment, Ireland has articulated a variety of National framework plans and policies, yet several sustainability related indicators, such as resource efficiency, sustainable development goals twelve (SDG12) score and waste per capita positions Ireland at a low performance in comparison to other European Union countries. Identifying some of the drivers and barriers to sustainable consumption behaviour contributes to policy suggestions and target areas to stimulate the transition to a sustainable environment. This thesis analysed data from a survey of 318 Irish consumers to establish the presence of drivers and barriers to sustainable consumption behaviour. It applied three methodology steps accordingly, (i) Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to establish and extract sustainable consumption variables and constructs, (ii) Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to validate and analyse established sustainable consumption variables and constructs, (iii) Ordinal regression to link drivers of sustainable consumer behaviour and socio- economic characteristics. Four constructs were extracted representing the drivers of sustainable consumption behaviour as: sustainable food purchasing, shopping planning behaviour, food waste behaviour, environmental awareness while one barrier was identified, purchasing influencers. The study finds shopping planning behaviour positively drives a decrease in food waste behaviour. Furthermore, men were identified as less likely to consume food sustainably, projecting the group as a target to stimulate the sustainability transition. Women were more sustainable food consumers as they were more likely to write a shopping list before shopping and were less likely to waste food after a meal, indicating consideration for a gender dimension when planning policy interventions to reduce food waste. People in rented accommodation, either shared or privately rented, were identified as another cluster that can be targeted in the transition towards stimulating sustainable consumption behaviour.
Sustainable development goal , Sustainable consumption behaviour , Sustainable food consumption , Evidence-based policy , Exploratory factor analysis , Confirmatory factor analysis , Ireland
Colgan, J. 2020. Analysis of barriers and drivers towards sustainable consumption behaviour from an Irish consumer perspective. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.
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