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sustainability features to the products

This approach moves away from a segmentation approach, and focuses on establishing opportunities for all consumers to behave in a more sustainable way, irrespective of their attitudes. Mainstreaming sustainability is achieved by normalising the purchase of more sustainable products. The effort here is placed on product design and it differs from the sustainability consumerism, or market-led approach because it plays down sustainability benefits and emphasises personal benefits to the consumer instead. This approach has the advantage that the product can be continuously improved towards greater sustainability, without having to sacrifice commercialisation of the product until it meets certain standards, reducing fears of claims of greenwashing, and where effort is directed to continuously fine tune the sustainability features of the product in the background, ensuring that sales are maintained (Grant, 2007Grant, J. (2007). The green marketing manifesto. Chichester: Wiley. [Google Scholar]; Ottman, Stafford, & Hartman, 2006Ottman, J. A., Stafford, E. R., & Hartman, C. L. (2006). Avoiding green marketing myopia: Ways to improve consumer appeal for environmentally preferable products. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development48(5), 22–36.[Taylor & Francis Online][Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]).

Two studies in this special issue help us make the case for a product design approach. Mossaz and Coghlan (2017Mossaz, A., & Coghlan, A. (2017). The role of travel agents’ ethical concerns when brokering information in the marketing and sale of sustainable tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1–18. doi:10.1080/09669582.2016.1198358.[Taylor & Francis Online][Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]) developed a framework to study how travel agents choose to speak about sustainability as part of their sales process, that looks at message framing, salience, cognitive effort, the role of affect, projection bias and false consensus. The nuanced account they provide gives a candid understanding of the importance of conservation to tourism professionals’ social identity as professional safari travel agents, how selecting suppliers with conservation efforts has been normalised, and yet how these choices are not verbalised as part of the sales process for fear that they will jeopardise a focus on the hedonistic benefits of a unique experience