Sustainable Consumption and Value Propositions: Exploring Product–Service System Practices Among Swedish Fashion Firms

Research paper by Herman I. Stål, Johan Jansson

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 24 Jan '17Published in: Sustainable Development


Since sustainable consumption (SC) research focuses primarily on consumer purchasing behaviors, there is a gap regarding how firms attempt to shape sustainable consumption in practice. Utilizing nine case studies, this gap is addressed by exploring the use of value propositions entailing product–service systems among Swedish fashion firms. The value propositions in use by the firms suggest that sustainable consumption may be extending beyond purchase to also include aspects of use and disposal, suggesting new reciprocal responsibilities for firms and consumers. Similarities are found in what elements firms incorporate in their value propositions (i.e. more sustainable textiles, repair and take-back systems), but differences in how these are elaborated, testifying to the inter-organizational dynamics that embed practices. The paper ends with the specific caution that take-back systems may send illusionary signals regarding recycling that legitimize increased consumption and further accelerate material throughput, which would be at odds with notions of strong sustainable consumption. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

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