Guest Editors: André Martinuzzi, WU Vienna, Austria
Lucia Reisch, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark

  • Submission of papers: September 30th, 2015
  • Planned publication: September 2016 (No. 3)
  • Prospective contributors are invited to discuss their ideas informally with the special issue editors

Research on sustainable consumption in general and on consumer policies in particular has rarely made use of systems perspectives to date. Sustainable consumption has mostly been discussed in terms of changes in individual awareness, behaviour and consumer choices, development of societal practices, implementation of corporate strategies and as market phenomenon. Although it is broadly accepted that individual consumer behaviour is embedded in multiple contexts, such as social groups and milieus, institutions, sociocultural norms, socio-technical and socio-spatial systems; complexity theory and systems thinking approaches are comparably rare and publications are scattered across communities and academic journals.

System perspectives could inspire the development of more effective Sustainable Consumption Policies. In evaluating the effectiveness of sustainable consumption policies Tukker et al. (2008) identified a lack of systemic approaches in the development of SC policies which leads to ineffective policy instruments, blind faith in technological solutions, misbalances and incoherence in the policy mixes, and fragmentation of existing policy strategies and approaches, as well as implementation. Since then several projects have applied systems thinking in the area of sustainable consumption.

This special issue aims to introduce a systems thinking view to the scientific debate on sustainable consumption policies. This new perspective will offer more effective ways of dealing with complex situations, provide tools to work with different world views and paradigms, give proper attention to properties of systems that emerge unexpectedly, and help identify leverage points for policy interventions derived from a dynamic and holistic approach. Therefore, we invite contributions that:

  • follow a sound understanding of systems thinking and sustainable consumption
  • address a specific consumption area such as food, housing, mobility in order to provide substantial insights and recommendations
  • present conceptual and/or empirical results that take key elements of systems thinking (such as feedback cycles, systems dynamics, system boundaries) into account
  • provide conclusions, e.g. for political agenda setting, design and implementation of policy instruments and policy mixes or governance mechanisms

We expect the majority of papers in this special issue to include empirical data, however, papers with a predominantly conceptual focus are also welcomed. In all papers consumer policy implications of findings need to be addressed explicitly. All submissions are subject to the Journal of Consumer Policy’s blind-review process. The Journal of Consumer Policy does not offer individualized editorial support. This means that non-native speaker authors must send their manuscript for academic editing before submission, and that all authors must ensure that their manuscript is correct and formatted in JCP style (see Journal Website).

The interdisciplinary Journal of Consumer Policy (Springer Publ.) is a (double blind) peer reviewed journal publishing theoretical and empirical works that use a wide variety of methodological approaches that advance the studies of consumer behaviour, explore the interests of consumers and consequences of actions of consumers as well as consumers’ policy issues. It has published four issues per year for more than three decades (Vol. 33). JCP encompasses a broad range of issues concerned with consumer affairs. It looks at the consumer’s dependence on existing social and economic structures, helps to define the consumer’s interest, and discusses the ways in which consumer welfare can be fostered – or restrained – through actions and policies of consumers, industry, organizations, government, educational institutions, and the mass media. It publishes theoretical and empirical research on consumer and producer conduct, emphasizing the implications for consumers and increasing communication between the parties in the marketplace.

André Martinuzzi
Institute for Managing Sustainability, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
email:, phone: +43-1-313 36 4698,

Lucia A. Reisch
Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark