New publication on intrapersonal competencies for sustainable consumption

In a recent article published in the “International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education”, I introduce the concept of (intra-)personal competencies for sustainable consumption. I define such competencies as abilities, proficiencies, or skills related to inner states and processes that can be considered necessary or sufficient to engage with the cause of sustainability.

Looking at the challenges individuals face both when attempting to act sustainably and engaging in consumption-related learning, I demonstrate that intrapersonal competencies directly respond to the challenges experienced on an individual level.

Challenges of engaging with the cause of sustainable consumption

Rooted in the identification of individual challenges, I propose self-awareness, value clarity, emotional resilience, self-care, the access to and cultivation of ethical qualities, and the access to and cultivation of mindsets for sustainability as personal sustainability competencies.

CompetencyDescription
Self-awareness  Awareness for habits, subjective theories, inner states and processes (emotions, motivations, values, needs and their satisfaction), and psychological coping mechanisms
Value clarityBeing connected to intrinsic, sustainability-based values
Emotional resilienceAbility to persevere unpleasant emotional states and pursue intrinsic values in light of reoccurring challenges
Self-careAbility to maintain a sufficient quality of one’s inner situation and one’s sense of well-being, including bodily experiences, thoughts, values, needs and wishes, or emotions
Access to and cultivation of ethical qualitiesAbility to access and cultivate manifestations of excellence or character strength (e.g. empathy, openness, gratitude, curiosity, humility)
Mindsets for sustainabilityAbility to access and cultivate a set of attitudes (toward oneself, the future, …) facilitating a constructive, pro-active posture toward the world
Overview of intrapersonal sustainability competencies

Although more research is needed to empirically inquire into the importance of personal competencies for SC and corroborate the provided reflections, this article can serve as a starting point for specifying personal sustainability competencies and makes a case why their consideration is important when it comes to designing and evaluating ESE learning programs and activities.

Frank, P. (2021), “A proposal of personal competencies for sustainable consumption”, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-01-2020-0027

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