Measuring What Matters in Sustainable Consumption: An Integrative Framework for the Selection of Relevant Behaviors

Sonja Maria Geiger, Daniel Fischer, Ulf Schrader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


In the face of existing obstacles in the interdisciplinary research on sustainable consumption behaviors, we argue for the need of an integrative framework from an interdisciplinary perspective. Such a framework is presented in the form of a three-dimensional cube model of sustainable consumption behavior (SCB-cube) extended by a fourth impact dimension. The model has two purposes for application: First, to systematize existing research on different behaviors on a common taxonomy and second, to facilitate the selection of relevant sustainable consumption behaviors in social sustainability research based on impact. We critically appraise existing intent- and impact-based research approaches on the four key dimensions of the SCB-cube, focusing on the ecological and socio-economic impacts of consumption behaviors. Recommendations for the selection of relevant behaviors for empirical behavioral research are given, using the SCB-cube as a guiding heuristic. The main audience for this model is social science researchers measuring sustainable consumer behaviors on the individual level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-33
Number of pages16
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • consumption areas
  • consumption phases
  • impact-based assessment
  • intent-based assessment
  • key points of consumption
  • sustainability dimensions
  • sustainable consumption behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Development


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