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Businesses’ activities for consumer carbon emissions reduction: strategies, outcomes and contribution to sustainability transitions

Morgan, Elizabeth Anne (2018) Businesses’ activities for consumer carbon emissions reduction: strategies, outcomes and contribution to sustainability transitions. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Morgan_EAM_Earth and Environment_PhD_2018.pdf - Final eThesis - redacted (pdf)
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Emissions reductions in consumption remain a key requirement if the goals of the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement to reduce emissions to keep global temperature rise this century to below 2°C are to be met. This thesis analyses the roles and impacts that consumer-facing businesses can have on achieving consumption emissions reductions. It examines this through focus on large established businesses, which have designed and implemented voluntarily activities aimed to influence consumer behaviour. The thesis contributes to the field of sustainable consumption research by using a coevolutionary approach and combining this with theories of business drivers, business model innovation, corporate responsibility and models of consumer behaviour change, thus bringing together disparate academic areas. It analyses the roles that large consumer-facing businesses in two industry sectors, retailing and detergent manufacturing, have played over time, to influence consumer behaviour to reduce product-related carbon emissions at home, and assesses their motivations for those roles, how effective they have been and how their roles have been influenced. It finds that initiatives have not resulted in change in consumer practice at a scale that would deliver significant emissions reductions. In using a coevolutionary approach to examine sectors as a whole, there are number of explanations for this, including that both competition and cooperation between firms can shape individual businesses’ responses. However, the over-riding conclusion is that consumption emissions from households are a result of sector-level, multi-directional influences along the chain of manufacturers, retailers, shoppers and consumers and arise from interdependent systems of provision, technologies and infrastructure. Therefore, in spite of considerable efforts and resources deployed, business initiatives, individually and at sector level, could be more effective. However policy makers could improve effectiveness by taking a wider perspective of system-level and intra-sector influences in order to develop policy to achieve lower emissions at the scale needed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr E A Morgan
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2019 11:52
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2019 11:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22824

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