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Mindfulness and sustainable consumption: A systematic literature review of research approaches and findings

Fischer, Daniel, Stanszus, Laura, Geiger, Sonja, Grossman, Paul, Schrader, Ulf
Journal of cleaner production 2017 v.162 pp. 544-558
consumer attitudes, social behavior, sustainable development
Mindfulness, derived from Buddhist origins, refers to deliberate, unbiased and openhearted awareness of perceptible experience in the present moment. With its focus on cultivation of benevolent and clear-headed values and actions to self, others and the world, as well as its possible value in fostering greater coherence between values, attitudes and behavior, the concept of mindfulness has most recently attracted the interest of scholars in sustainable consumption research. So far, however, research on the connection between mindfulness and sustainable consumption is scattered across different disciplines and lacks integration. This paper contributes to a consolidation of the field. Based on a systematic literature review (Ninitial sample = 1137 publications, Npreliminary sample = 32, Nfinal sample = 7), it represents a stocktaking exercise to evaluate the research methodologies used and findings reported in the emerging field of empirical research relating mindfulness to sustainable consumption. The focus of the review is on four potential mechanisms of mindfulness for sustainable consumption that have been postulated in seminal conceptual works in the field: to disrupt routines, to promote more congruence with regard to the attitude-behavior gap, to nurture non-materialistic values, to enhance well-being, and to foster pro-social behavior. Preliminary evidence suggests support for these assumed potentials. However, the review also reveals that there are serious methodological challenges and shortcomings in existing empirical approaches, namely with regard to definitional issues, the development and use of instruments, selection of samples, study designs and the inclusion of mediating or moderating variables. The paper concludes with a discussion of challenges and recommendations for future work in the field.