Developing sufficiency-oriented offerings for clothing users: Business approaches to support consumption reduction

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The clothing industry’s negative social and ecological impacts have been discussed for decades, both in academia and in mainstream media. As solutions, the existing management and supply chain research literature has emphasized eco-efficiency in production, recycling, and the use of sustainable materials. However, against the backdrop of rising consumption levels, these approaches have not achieved an overall reduction in the undesired social and environmental impacts. The sufficiency approach addresses this issue and aims to reduce the total amount of clothing that is produced, used and discarded. This consumer perspective is discussed as a potentially very effective sustainability approach, but has been neglected in the management literature relating to the clothing sector. Although the sufficiency approach is often seen to contradict business goals, recent developments of service- and sharing-oriented businesses indicate that sufficiency may actually inspire the development of new business opportunities. To address this research gap, this conceptual paper builds on a generic sufficiency management concept and incorporates ideas from the clothing-specific ‘slow fashion’ literature. It proposes a framework for sufficiency-oriented business offerings and investigates related management approaches for companies aiming to reduce social and environmental problems in the clothing sector.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119589
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 20.02.2020