Sufficiency transitions: A review of consumption changes for environmental sustainability

Maria Sandberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


It has been argued that halting environmental degradation requires an approach of sufficiency, which entails substantial changes in consumption patterns for high-consuming classes, including a reduction in consumption levels. This article reviews the literature on sufficiency, asking two main questions: What are the specific consumption changes that the sufficiency literature suggests to reduce ecological footprints, and how can such consumption changes be advanced? The article uses a combination of semi-systematic and integrative review methodologies. The article shows that sufficiency may entail four types of consumption changes: absolute reductions, modal shifts, product longevity, and sharing practices. It provides an overview of sufficiency practices across four consumption categories: housing, nutrition, mobility, and miscellaneous consumption. In addition, the article identifies barriers and actors that can prevent or advance sufficiency transitions. Barriers to sufficiency transitions include consumer attitudes and behavior, culture, the economic system, the political system, and the physical environment. Actors include businesses, policymakers, citizens, NGOs, and educators. The article advances our understanding of sufficiency as a concept and the multidimensionality of sufficiency transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126097
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 25.01.2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • green consumption
  • literature review
  • sufficiency
  • sufficiency transitions
  • sustainability transitions
  • sustainable consumption

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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