Keywords: acceptability of environmental policy, consumer policy strategies, direct and indirect household energy use, quality-of-life indicators, sustainable household consumption
Sustainable household consumption and quality of life: the acceptability of sustainable consumption patterns and consumer policy strategies
A multidisciplinary computer-based field study among 393 Dutch households examined how people judge the "social" sustainability (quality-of-life effects) of "environmentally" sustainable household consumption patterns (less energy-use demanding) and associated policy options. The study revealed that about two-thirds of the households had to reduce their direct and indirect energy use within the next five years in order to move towards environmentally sustainable consumption patterns. The least sustainable consumption patterns were found among high-income groups and young couples. Overall, respondents did not believe that their quality of life will be affected as long as the necessary reduction of energy use stays below 30 gigajoules (24% of their total household energy use). Moreover, respondents were willing to accept almost all energy-saving policy measures. However, respondents did appear to be more willing to pay for sustaining their comfort, freedom and pleasure while reducing the environmental impact of their consumption than they were to give up some of their quality of life.