Sustainability Competences and Sustainable Consumption In Higher Education: Differences Between Student Groups

Sustainability Competences and Sustainable Consumption In Higher Education: Differences Between Student Groups

  • Ismael Pérez-Franco , Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences, University of Extremadura, Av. de Elvas,
  • Juan García-García , Department of Business Management and Sociology, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain
  • Agustín García-García , Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences, University of Extremadura, Av. de Elvas,

ABSTRACT

Purpose Our current lifestyle, based on compulsive consumption, seems to have surpassed the planet’s limits of sustainability. This problem especially concerns the younger generations, as they will suffer the consequences; so, for that reason, they should participate in finding solutions. University aims to provide students with basic competences for taking decisions and conducting professional activities from the sustainability perspective. Methodology This is an exploratory study of a quantitative character about the consumption habits of a group of young university students. Data were collected through a survey with a sample size of 271 students from three faculties belonging to different fields of knowledge. Findings Through an analysis of the differences in the distribution of consumption patterns of the three groups of students, the study detected different patterns of consumption, depending on the academic orientation. In some cases, this could explain less sustainable patterns associated to the variable ‘gender’. It was also found that syllabus does not adequately incorporate these competences. Implications to Research and Practice Our results provide clues about how to act to improve individuals’ perception of the environmental impact of their consumption habits and thus how to improve environmental education from the point of view of the educators of future consumers.

Keywords: University studies; consumption patterns; environmental impact; education.