Sustainable homeservices? Toward household services that enhance ecological, social and economic sustainability

Minna Halme, Christine Jasch, Michael Scharp

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArticleScientificvertaisarvioitu


The idea of services replacing products is increasingly offered as a solution to making the production and consumption patterns of the affluent consumers more sustainable. However, the discussion about ‘sustainable services’ or ‘sustainable product–service systems’ tends to emphasize the eco-efficiency perspective, rather than explicitly capture all sustainability aspects. Social or socioeconomic considerations are often forgotten or by-passed without scrutiny. This paper argues that there is the need for a concept of sustainable services in which the social sustainability aspect is also recognized with equal attention. Since a major part of private consumption occurs in the household context-living at home and moving to and from it—this paper will put forth the concept of sustainable homeservices and will suggest a way to assess sustainability of services directed to households. For assessing the sustainability of services directed to households, a set of indicators relating to the ecological, social and economic dimensions of sustainability is proposed. With the aim of giving an idea of how to assess homeservices in practical terms, the paper will also exemplify how one could operationalize these indicators on an ordinal rating scale. The conclusion is that it is possible to assess the sustainability of a homeservice in a relative fashion, using ‘no service’ or the ‘product alternative’ as the point of comparison. Households alone have a limited capacity to influence their consumption choices, because other actors set the frame. For this reason, institutional arrangements for making services easily available to households are outlined. It appears that housing organizations have a central role in the alternative option for organizing the supply of service provision. They are involved in five of the seven alternative ways of supplying services that could be identified. The role of the housing organization can vary from direct supply to lighter forms, such as cooperative arrangements with external service providers, or resident involvement.
JulkaisuEcological Economics
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2004
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu

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