Consuming apart, together: The role of multiple identities in sustainable behaviour

Jos Bartels*, M.J. Reinders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Although consumers' awareness of the environmental and ethical consequences of their behaviour has grown, research on the role of multiple consumer identities in sustainability behaviours is scarce. The aim of the current study was to explain sustainable behaviour from a social identity perspective. We conducted a longitudinal cross-national within-subjects design consumer study in six countries (T1, N=3083; T2, N=1440). The results indicate that environmental sustainability can comprise several distinct yet overlapping sustainable behaviours. Multiple social identities seem to play different roles in these different behaviours. Therefore, efforts to enhance different sustainability behaviours are challenging yet promising. Once consumers incorporate a sustainable behaviour, it becomes part of their own identity and could lead to spill over effects on other closely related sustainable behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-452
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Cross-national survey
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Longitudinal
  • Social identity


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