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Keywords:

  • Consumers;
  • sustainable consumption;
  • sustainable marketing;
  • excessive consumption

Abstract

This paper addresses consumers' attitudes towards consumption, the extent to which excessive consumption is perceived as an environmental problem and what consumers perceive as their personal responsibility vs. that of marketing for this consumption. Findings from a focus group and a survey administered to lecturers of a university in Portugal are reported. A critical reflection upon the findings reveals that participants view consumption as excessive and mostly due to marketing, but do not associate high levels of consumption with environmental damage. The consumers surveyed did not accept personal responsibility for excessive consumption, and many of them do not perceive their actions to have a significant impact on the environment. The high educational level of our sample makes these findings of particular concern. This paper feeds the debate on sustainable marketing and expresses the need to address consumers', as well as marketing's, place in sustainability. Implications of this study are drawn and directions for future research are suggested.