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The role of sustainability in profiling voluntary simplifiers

Mathias Peyer, Ingo Balderjahn, Barbara Seegebarth, Alexandra Klemm



Studies focusing on voluntary simplifiers are gaining in popularity, but doubt remains about the relevance to business of this segment and to what extent this lifestyle is attributable to sustainability-rooted choices. Instead of the commonly used self-reported scales, a novel measurement approach is applied using objective data to identify voluntary simplifiers. Based on equivalent household incomes and level of product possession this research provides, using a large-scale, representative sample, empirical evidence that voluntary simplifiers comprise almost one-sixth of the German population. Results indicate that voluntary simplifiers buy more green products, exhibit a greater environmental and economic sustainability consciousness and share more universalistic values compared to four other uncovered segments, namely well-off consumers, over-consumption consumers, less well-off consumers and poor consumers. From a business perspective, moderate voluntary simplifiers do not exit the market. Instead, they constitute an attractive target group for ecological products and alternative consumption options such as sharing.


Nachhaltig Konsumieren – nur ein Lippenbekenntnis?

Neue Ergebnisse aus einer repräsentativen Studie in Zusammenarbeit mit dem GfK-Verein.



The Sustainability Roots of Anti-Consumption Lifestyles and Initial Insights Regarding Their Effects on Consumers' Well-Being

Barbara Seegebarth, Mathias Peyer, Ingo Balderjahn, Klaus-Peter Wiedmann



This article introduces the concept of sustainability-rooted anticonsumption (SRAC), which refers to consumers' anticonsumption practices of voluntary simplicity in living and, on a smaller level, collaborative consumption and boycotting with the goal of supporting sustainable economic development. The SRAC measurement approach is validated based on three empirical studies. Results of a representative German sample (Study 2) reveal that SRAC is predominantly negatively linked to consumer overconsumption dispositions. Exemplary, voluntary simplification and boycott intention may result in declining levels of indebtedness. Study 3 shows that psychosocial well-being is positively related to SRAC and overconsumption. However, a simplified lifestyle and a greater willingness to boycott are not necessarily associated with psychosocial well-being. This article provides insights for practitioners and policymakers to leverage existing SRAC values via “new” business models (sharing offers) or to influence the existing level of consciousness to effectively pave the way for solid progress in the sustainability movement.


Verzichten statt vernichten, teilen statt besitzen

Prof. Dr. Ingo Balderjahn


In: Portal Wissen, Das Forschungsmagazin der Universität Potsdam, Zwei 2015, S. 64-66

Vorstellung des SPIN-Teilprojekts "Förderung genügsamer, kollaborativer und schuldenfreier Konsumstile sowie verbraucherorientierte Schulung zur Förderung einer nachhaltigen Konsumkompetenz" der Universität Potsdam


Teilnahme an der Auftaktveranstaltung der Fördermaßnahme „Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften“ im Rahmen der Sozial-ökologischen Forschung

15./16. September, Bonn


Präsentation des SPIN-Projekts gemeinsam mit dem Praxispartner Knauber Freizeit GmbH & Co. KG sowie Teilnahme an der Poster Session bei der Auftaktveranstaltung der Fördermaßnahme „Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften“ im Rahmen der Sozial-ökologischen Forschung


Nachhaltiges Konsumbewusstsein: Validierung eines neuen Messansatzes anhand einer repräsentativen Online-Befragung

Ingo Balderjahn, Anja Buerke, Evmorfia Karampournioti, Manfred Kirchgeorg, Alexandra Klemm, Mathias Peyer, Barbara Seegebarth, Stefanie Sohn, Klaus-Peter Wiedmann, Florence Ziesemer

Copyright: GfK Verein

Nachdruck, Weitergabe etc. – auch auszugsweise – sind nur mit vorheriger schriftlicher Genehmigung des GfK-Nürnberg e.V. gestattet.

Nürnberg, im August 2015
Verantwortlich: Prof. Dr. Raimund Wildner


Consciousness for sustainable consumption: scale development and new insights in the economic dimension of consumers’ sustainability

Ingo Balderjahn, Anja Buerke, Manfred Kirchgeorg, Mathias Peyer, Barbara Seegebarth, Klaus-Peter Wiedmann



The “triple bottom line” concept (planet, people, and profit) represents an important guideline for the sustainable, hence future-oriented, development of societies and for the behaviors of all societal members. For institutions promoting societal change, as well as for companies being confronted with growing expectations regarding compelling contributions to sustainable changes, it is of great importance to know if, and to what extent, consumers have already internalized the idea of sustainability. Against the background of existing research gaps regarding a comprehensive measurement of the consciousness for sustainable consumption (CSC), the authors present the result of a scale development. Consciousness was operationalized by weighting personal beliefs with the importance attached by consumers to sustainability dimensions. Four separate tests of the CSC scale indicated an appropriate psychometric quality of the scale and provided support for this new measurement approach that incorporates the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability.