Should environmentalists be concerned about materialism? An analysis of attitudes, behaviours and greenhouse gas emissions
Journal article, 2016

This study analyses the relationships between materialistic values, environmental concerns, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a sample of 1004 Swedish residents. The previously established material values scale (MVS) is employed along with detailed measurements of the respondents' GHG emissions from travel behaviour, residential energy use, diet, and other consumption. The developed structural model reveals a weak but significant association between high MVS scores on the one hand and low environmental concern and high GHG emissions on the other hand. In further analysis, however, the correlation between high MVS scores and high GHG emissions is shown to be traceable to the domain of air travel in the first place, with no correlation found, for example, between MVS scores and size of accommodation and spending on cars, both traditional status commodities. Instead of possessions, the status-oriented materialists in the sample thus appeared to focus more on other aspects of their lifestyle.

Materialistic values

Sustainable consumption

Air travel

Consumption patterns

Greenhouse gas emissions


David Andersson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Jonas Nässén

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Journal of Environmental Psychology

0272-4944 (ISSN) 1522-9610 (eISSN)

Vol. 48 December 1-11

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



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