Educating for Sustainable Consumption as a Response to the Global Water Crisis: An Investigation of an Embedded Learning Approach

Daniel Fischer, Eva Freund

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Patterns of consumption are considered as a main driver of climate change. Consequently, the promotion of sustainable consumption features prominently on the international agenda. Education and educational organizations are considered a key instrument to contribute to a more sustainable socialization of youth consumers. Surprisingly, in light of the importance accredited to education for the promotion of sustainable consumption, specifications of educational organizations’ potential contributions remain vague and empirical research on school efforts to engage students with the notion of sustainable consumption incomprehensive and rare. The paper synthesizes conceptual contributions to the discussion of education for sustainable consumption and proposes an approach to an embedded consumer learning that blends formal and informal learning methods. In the empirical study presented, qualitative research was conducted to explore the effects of curricular and action-based education on vocational school home economics students’ perceptions of and relations to sustainable consumption. The findings suggest that while the school’s educational methods exert an influence on students’ awareness, attitudes and behavioural intentions, these only have loose implications for self-reported consumer behaviour. Also, curricular methods that students are exposed to prefer certain issues such as health and environment over others such as social and cultural aspects. Drawing on the findings of the study, implications are drawn for a more holistic approach to education for sustainable consumption in schools that accounts for both rich thematic contexts and formal and informal learning processes, seeking to better align consumption-related educational theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate Change Management
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameClimate Change Management
ISSN (Print)1610-2002
ISSN (Electronic)1610-2010


  • Consumer learning
  • Education for sustainable consumption
  • Food and nutrition
  • Informal learning
  • Student company
  • Vocational school
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Ecology


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