Low carbon innovations for mobility, food, homes and energy: A synthesis of consumer attributes

Hazel Pettifor (Lead Author), Charlie Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Novel consumer goods and services in mobility, food, homes and energy domains are needed to help mitigate climate change. Appealing attributes of low carbon innovations accelerate their diffusion out of early-adopting segments into the mass market (1, 2). In this paper we synthesise insights on the attributes of low carbon consumer innovations across multiple domains. Using a directed literature review and content analysis, guided by Levitt’s hierarchical ring model which distinguishes core from non-core attributes, we identified over 170 relevant studies across mobility, food, homes and energy domains. We extracted a set of 16 attributes generalisable to low carbon innovations across multiple domains of consumption, with the exception of energy innovations which appeal on a reduced set of attributes. Using multi-dimensional scaling techniques we found the appeal of non-core attributes varies between domains but core attributes are consistent across domains in line with Levitt’s theory. As examples, low-carbon consumer innovations within mobility and food domains share non-core attributes related to improved private and public health, whereas innovations within food and home domains share non-core attributes related to technology acceptance and usability. We develop these findings to argue that many low carbon consumer innovations are currently positioned to appeal to a distinctive but limited group of early adopters who value novelty and climate benefits. To achieve mass market diffusion, product and service development, policy interventions, and communication strategies should focus on enhancing a wider set of attributes to broaden consumer appeal.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109954
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • low carbon consumer innovations; attributes; diffusion; directed review; mobility; homes; food; energy

Cite this