צדק סביבתי, צריכה וטביעת רגל אקולוגית: מערכת היחסים ומשמעויות רגולטוריות בין דירוג סוציו-אקונומי לצריכה בת-קיימה

Translated title of the contribution: Environmental Justice, Consumption and Ecological Footprint: The Regulatory Implications and Relationship between Socio-Economic Ranking and Sustainable Consumption

מיטל פלג-מזרחי, אלון טל

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research assesses how socio-economic status influences patterns of sustainable consumption within the broader context of environmental justice. The study evaluates the relative contributions of Israel’s different socio-economic deciles to the country’s collective ecological footprint and presents environmental policy and regulatory recommendations. The recommendations are based on the difference in consumption patterns found among different socio-economic groups and populations within Israeli society. The research defines sustainable consumption on the basis of four of the world’s most polluting industries: the meat industry, the textile and fashion industry, transportation and residential consumption of energy. The ecological footprint of each sector in Israel was characterized through an extensive survey. The study used both quantitative and qualitative research methods and relied on the results of questionnaires that were answered by 600 respondents, along with semi-structured, follow-up personal interviews with 25 of the participants. The results of the research reveal significant gaps in the consumption patterns of different Israeli socio-economic deciles in disparate areas: relatively inexpensive consumer items, such as food and textiles tend to give lower socio-economic consumers a higher ecological footprint with great environmental impact. In contrast, in the area of transportation and sustainable residential living (due to their high associated energy consumption levels) wealthier socio-economic deciles display a significantly larger ecological footprint, producing negative environmental effects. In-depth interviews elicited an additional, important variable: environmental involvement. We define this variable as “knowledge about the topic of sustainability, the holding of positions that are aligned with an environmental agenda and routine, environmentally friendly behavior which reduces individual ecological footprint.” Low and medium levels of environmental involvement are observed at high levels among the higher socio-economic deciles, while high environmental involvement are observed equally across the different deciles. Low to medium levels of environmental involvement are manifested in activities that have a modest overall effect on ecological footprints, such as recycling and purchasing of “green” consumer products. This contrasts with the high levels of environmental involvement that are reflected in a greater personal commitment that requires a personal change in routine, for example, forgoing private vehicles, a meaningful reduction in consumer purchases, or transition to a vegan diet. Among the central factors predicting these changes are the social benefit received, a supportive physical infrastructure and economic capacity. The interviews also confirmed that the price of a consumer product remains the central consideration among all deciles, who share a low awareness regarding sustainable consumption knowledge and its application. The findings of the research suggest that for optimal success, a regulatory strategy and policy seeking to increase access to sustainable consumption options must be designed to meet the circumstances of a given socio-economic decile. In addition, there is room for greater governmental involvement in promoting sustainable consumption in the areas of education and behavioral economics, with a focus on supporting poor populations.
Translated title of the contributionEnvironmental Justice, Consumption and Ecological Footprint: The Regulatory Implications and Relationship between Socio-Economic Ranking and Sustainable Consumption
Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)119-165
Number of pages47
Journalמחקרי רגולציה
Volumeד'
StatePublished - 2021

IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Consumers
  • Delegated legislation
  • Economics -- Sociological aspects
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmental policy
  • Environmental quality
  • Political participation
  • Public policy
  • Social stratification
  • Sustainability
  • איכות הסביבה
  • איכות הסביבה -- מעורבות צבורית
  • כלכלה בת-קיימא
  • כלכלה וחברה
  • מדיניות סביבתית
  • מדיניות ציבורית
  • צדק סביבתי
  • צרכנות וצריכה
  • קיימות
  • רגולציה (מדיניות ציבורית)
  • ריבוד חברתי
  • שימור משאבים טבעיים

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