Doing it for the kids: the role of sustainability in family consumption

Elaine Ritch, Douglas Brownlie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    13 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Purpose
    The purpose of this paper is to explore social dynamics around food and clothing provisioning for young families and how involvement in environmental concerns shapes those dynamics and presents challenges and opportunities to in terms of evolving consumer tastes. Through collecting and analysing narratives of mothering, the authors explore the influence of children on decision making in household provisioning; in particular, how their education into sustainable concepts through the European initiative of eco-schools impacts provisioning.

    Design/methodology/approach
    The exploratory research design specifically sought the demographic profile identified in extant literature as engaging with sustainability issues to explore how they were interpreted into familial consumption. This resulted in 28 unstructured interviews exploring a range of related topics with a group of highly educated working mothers with a profession.

    Findings
    The study finds that family consumption behaviour is mediated by relations towards environmental concerns and taste positions taken by both parents and children. It illustrates how care for children’s safety, social resilience and health and well-being is habitus informed as well as being the subject of wider institutional logics including educational interventions such as school eco-status and participation in mother and child activity groups. However, tensions arose surrounding the children’s socialisation with peers and space was provided to help the children self-actualise.

    Research limitations/implications
    The exploratory goal of the study limited the scope of its empirical work to a small group of participants sharing consumer characteristics and geographical location.

    Practical implications
    The research provides ideas for retailers, brands and marketers to better position their product offering as it relates to growing family concerns for ecological issues and sustainable consumption, as well as what motivates sustainable behaviours, from both the child and mothers perspective.

    Social implications
    The research identifies the immersion of sustainability into family households when there are no financial implications, influenced through campaigns, schools and society. This provides examples of what motivates sustainable behaviours for retailers and marketers to develop strategies that can be capitalised on.

    Originality/value
    The originality of the research emerges through examining how children influence sustainability within households and decision making, moving beyond health implications to educate children to be responsible consumers through play and authentic experiences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1100-1117
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
    Volume44
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016

    Fingerprint

    sustainability
    decision making
    consumption behavior
    family
    consumption
    Sustainability
    education
    safety
    food
    methodology
    household
    school
    Provisioning
    Household
    health
    Marketers
    Health
    Decision making
    Retailers
    Environmental concern

    Keywords

    • family consumption; socialisation; sustainability; children; education, concerned parenting, authenticity

    Cite this

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    title = "Doing it for the kids: the role of sustainability in family consumption",
    abstract = "PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore social dynamics around food and clothing provisioning for young families and how involvement in environmental concerns shapes those dynamics and presents challenges and opportunities to in terms of evolving consumer tastes. Through collecting and analysing narratives of mothering, the authors explore the influence of children on decision making in household provisioning; in particular, how their education into sustainable concepts through the European initiative of eco-schools impacts provisioning.Design/methodology/approachThe exploratory research design specifically sought the demographic profile identified in extant literature as engaging with sustainability issues to explore how they were interpreted into familial consumption. This resulted in 28 unstructured interviews exploring a range of related topics with a group of highly educated working mothers with a profession.FindingsThe study finds that family consumption behaviour is mediated by relations towards environmental concerns and taste positions taken by both parents and children. It illustrates how care for children’s safety, social resilience and health and well-being is habitus informed as well as being the subject of wider institutional logics including educational interventions such as school eco-status and participation in mother and child activity groups. However, tensions arose surrounding the children’s socialisation with peers and space was provided to help the children self-actualise.Research limitations/implicationsThe exploratory goal of the study limited the scope of its empirical work to a small group of participants sharing consumer characteristics and geographical location.Practical implicationsThe research provides ideas for retailers, brands and marketers to better position their product offering as it relates to growing family concerns for ecological issues and sustainable consumption, as well as what motivates sustainable behaviours, from both the child and mothers perspective.Social implicationsThe research identifies the immersion of sustainability into family households when there are no financial implications, influenced through campaigns, schools and society. This provides examples of what motivates sustainable behaviours for retailers and marketers to develop strategies that can be capitalised on.Originality/valueThe originality of the research emerges through examining how children influence sustainability within households and decision making, moving beyond health implications to educate children to be responsible consumers through play and authentic experiences.",
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    author = "Elaine Ritch and Douglas Brownlie",
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    Doing it for the kids: the role of sustainability in family consumption. / Ritch, Elaine; Brownlie, Douglas.

    In: International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, Vol. 44, No. 11, 14.11.2016, p. 1100-1117.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Doing it for the kids: the role of sustainability in family consumption

    AU - Ritch, Elaine

    AU - Brownlie, Douglas

    N1 - Accepted: 17-7-16 AAM: author confirmed version is AAM; 24m embargo No DOI found in article; linked direct to journal webpage Print pub date:

    PY - 2016/11/14

    Y1 - 2016/11/14

    N2 - PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore social dynamics around food and clothing provisioning for young families and how involvement in environmental concerns shapes those dynamics and presents challenges and opportunities to in terms of evolving consumer tastes. Through collecting and analysing narratives of mothering, the authors explore the influence of children on decision making in household provisioning; in particular, how their education into sustainable concepts through the European initiative of eco-schools impacts provisioning.Design/methodology/approachThe exploratory research design specifically sought the demographic profile identified in extant literature as engaging with sustainability issues to explore how they were interpreted into familial consumption. This resulted in 28 unstructured interviews exploring a range of related topics with a group of highly educated working mothers with a profession.FindingsThe study finds that family consumption behaviour is mediated by relations towards environmental concerns and taste positions taken by both parents and children. It illustrates how care for children’s safety, social resilience and health and well-being is habitus informed as well as being the subject of wider institutional logics including educational interventions such as school eco-status and participation in mother and child activity groups. However, tensions arose surrounding the children’s socialisation with peers and space was provided to help the children self-actualise.Research limitations/implicationsThe exploratory goal of the study limited the scope of its empirical work to a small group of participants sharing consumer characteristics and geographical location.Practical implicationsThe research provides ideas for retailers, brands and marketers to better position their product offering as it relates to growing family concerns for ecological issues and sustainable consumption, as well as what motivates sustainable behaviours, from both the child and mothers perspective.Social implicationsThe research identifies the immersion of sustainability into family households when there are no financial implications, influenced through campaigns, schools and society. This provides examples of what motivates sustainable behaviours for retailers and marketers to develop strategies that can be capitalised on.Originality/valueThe originality of the research emerges through examining how children influence sustainability within households and decision making, moving beyond health implications to educate children to be responsible consumers through play and authentic experiences.

    AB - PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore social dynamics around food and clothing provisioning for young families and how involvement in environmental concerns shapes those dynamics and presents challenges and opportunities to in terms of evolving consumer tastes. Through collecting and analysing narratives of mothering, the authors explore the influence of children on decision making in household provisioning; in particular, how their education into sustainable concepts through the European initiative of eco-schools impacts provisioning.Design/methodology/approachThe exploratory research design specifically sought the demographic profile identified in extant literature as engaging with sustainability issues to explore how they were interpreted into familial consumption. This resulted in 28 unstructured interviews exploring a range of related topics with a group of highly educated working mothers with a profession.FindingsThe study finds that family consumption behaviour is mediated by relations towards environmental concerns and taste positions taken by both parents and children. It illustrates how care for children’s safety, social resilience and health and well-being is habitus informed as well as being the subject of wider institutional logics including educational interventions such as school eco-status and participation in mother and child activity groups. However, tensions arose surrounding the children’s socialisation with peers and space was provided to help the children self-actualise.Research limitations/implicationsThe exploratory goal of the study limited the scope of its empirical work to a small group of participants sharing consumer characteristics and geographical location.Practical implicationsThe research provides ideas for retailers, brands and marketers to better position their product offering as it relates to growing family concerns for ecological issues and sustainable consumption, as well as what motivates sustainable behaviours, from both the child and mothers perspective.Social implicationsThe research identifies the immersion of sustainability into family households when there are no financial implications, influenced through campaigns, schools and society. This provides examples of what motivates sustainable behaviours for retailers and marketers to develop strategies that can be capitalised on.Originality/valueThe originality of the research emerges through examining how children influence sustainability within households and decision making, moving beyond health implications to educate children to be responsible consumers through play and authentic experiences.

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    U2 - 10.1108/IJRDM-08-2015-0136

    DO - 10.1108/IJRDM-08-2015-0136

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    JO - International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management

    JF - International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management

    SN - 0959-0552

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    ER -