Perspectives, Opportunities and Tensions in Ethical and Sustainable Luxury: Introduction to the Thematic Symposium

Victoria Sophie Osburg*, Iain Davies, Vignesh Yoganathan, Fraser McLeay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Scholars agree that the environmental and societal impacts of consumption require greater attention, and need examining in more diverse market contexts. This editorial essay focuses on the nascent area of ethical/sustainable luxury, and critically considers how the scope of ethical/sustainable consumption can be broadened in the luxury sector. We address the compatibility of ethicality/sustainability and luxury by examining a range of opportunities (e.g., durability, rarity, quality, local embedment) and inherent tensions (e.g., excess, prestige, self-gratification, uniqueness) in relation to improving the ethical/sustainable consumption practices within the luxury sector. We also introduce several original articles published as part of this Thematic Symposium, whose arguments underscore both the merits, and flaws, of ethical/sustainable luxury. On the basis of this and prior research, we present a balanced perspective by identifying various factors that facilitate or inhibit the acceptance and furtherance of ethicality/sustainability within sector. Thus, this essay serves as a springboard for further research and development in ethical/sustainable luxury whilst simultaneously highlighting the importance of the topic in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.


  • CSR and luxury
  • Ethical consumerism
  • Luxury lifestyle
  • Social media and luxury brands
  • Sustainable luxury brands


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