Neutralisation and Mental Accounting in Ethical Consumption: The Case of Sustainable Holidays

L. Schütte, D. Gregory-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
217 Downloads (Pure)


The present research aimed to investigate the decision-making process for sustainable holidays, as a type of ethical consumption related to environmental welfare. Using semi-structured in-depth interviews with 20 German holidaymakers of different ages, it was found that individuals use cognitive processes such as neutralisation and mental accounting to justify their unethical/unsustainable choices and to manage negative emotions. The findings also indicated a lack of spillovers between sustainable behaviours at home and holiday-related behaviours. This could be explained by the identification of “ethical” and “unethical” mental accounts, which the interviewees have disclosed. When the compensation between the two types of mental accounts takes place, neutralisation is not used. It was also found that positive and negative emotions could motivate the choice of sustainable holidays. These findings have implications in relation to marketing communications aimed at creating awareness and encouraging the purchase of sustainable holidays
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7959-7972
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2015


  • sustainable holidays
  • ethical consumption
  • neutralisation
  • mental accounting
  • emotions


Dive into the research topics of 'Neutralisation and Mental Accounting in Ethical Consumption: The Case of Sustainable Holidays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this