5: A National Collaborative Approach
|| Consumption and low impact affluence
||Patterns of consumption are a
|| Policy approaches and action
||Summary of policy
approaches for sustainable consumption
||Industry attention and action
||Strategies for the future
||Clarifying the focus for action
||Developing better indicators
||An alternative conceptual
approach for describing systems of production
||Enhancing the potential of
limited, localized actions
||Improving products and services:
the logical focus for production and consumption
||The overall strategic goal:
leapfrog to new systems of products and services
List from the Book
chapter has been adapted for this publication by
Professor Christopher Ryan of RMIT University, Melbourne,
Australia from his report Sustainable Consumption:
Global Status Report 2002 (UNEP, 2002b). That report
was produced for the UNEP Division of Technology,
Industry and Environment (DTIE) for the World Summit
on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg
in 2002. The growing attention to the issues of
sustainable consumption is a natural outcome of
decades of work on cleaner production and eco-efficient
represents the final step in a progressive widening
of the horizons of pollution prevention; a widening
which has gone from a focus on production processes
(cleaner production), to products, (eco-design),
then to product-systems (incorporating transport
logistics, endof- life collection and component
re-use or materials recycling) and to eco-innovation
and eco-effectiveness (new products and product-systems
and enterprises designed for win-win solutions for
business and the environment).
from the Book
The UNDP 1998 Human Development Report stresses the
need for sustainable consumption to be defined in
ways that avoid ideas of giving up or losing out,
emphasizing instead the idea of what could be called
Thus patterns of consumption may differ between communities
or populations because different volumes of goods
and services are consumed which are, nevertheless,
produced in the same way (i.e. with the same resource/waste
impacts per good or service) or because the same volumes
of goods and services are consumed in different contexts
where their production impact is different.
UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) (1998)
Human Development Report, UNDP/Oxford University Press,
New York .
For a detailed analysis of this idea see Hawken, P.,
Lovins, A. and Lovins, L. H. (1999) Natural Capitalism:
Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, Earthscan,
UNEP (2002b) Sustainable Consumption: Global Status
Report 2002, UNEP, Paris (report written by Professor
Chris Ryan, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia,
and the International Institute for Industrial Environmental
Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, Sweden).
Fukasaku, Y. (1999) 'Stimulating Environmental Innovation',
The STI Review, no 25, issue 2, Special Issue on Sustainable
Development, OECD, Paris, p48.
See Tables 22.1-22.3 for a summary of the agreement
about actions and policies
UNEP (2000) Consumer Trends and Expectations: An International
Survey Focusing on Environmental Impacts by Matthew
D Bentley, in UNEP, Industry and Environment Review:
Sustainable Mobility, UNEP, Paris; Bentley, M. (2000)
'Global Consumers Have Spoken: An International Study
on Consumer Trends and Expectations', Environment
Review, vol 23, no 4.
UNEP SCOPE Pilot Workshop in Sofia , Working papers,
UNEP DTIE, Paris [AS2] (2001).
This approach is evident in UNEP initiatives both
planned and underway - see for
the WBCSD Chairman's Paper, WSSD Prep-Com 3.
Highlighted in the 'Sustainability through the market'
report, World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
For a wider view of the global trends shaping business
activity, see also UNEP, WBCSD and the WRI (2002)
Tomorrow's Markets: Global Trends and Their Implications
for Business, Earthprint , Washington , DC.
Specific targets for such reductions are being set
and are expected to require a reduction of 20 per
cent by 2010 and 50 per cent by 2020.
Initial experience with such panels has emerged from
trials in Denmark .
Kerr, W. and Ryan, C. (2001) 'Eco-Efficiency Gains
from Remanufacturing', Journal of Cleaner Production,
vol 9 no 2.
WBCSD (2001a) Sustainability Through the Market, WBCSD,
Geneva ; WBCSD (2001b) The Business Case for Sustainable
Development, WBCSD, Geneva .
As an example, see the recent review of current literature
in this area: Princen, T. (2001) 'Consumer Society
Review', Journal of Industrial Ecology, vol 5.
Even talking of unsustainable consumption is open
to a misinterpretation (which may exaggerate the role
of consumer behaviour). What such a phrase actually
means is: taking the consumption of resources, embodied
in goods and services, as a measure of the performance
of current systems of production and consumption,
and demonstrating that these systems are unsustainable.
Of course, as the OECD has emphasized in its own analysis,
consumption data can only be interpreted for a particular
site, problem and time, and the sustainability or
un-sustainability of that data can be interpreted
only where specific ecological limits can be established;
OECD (2001) Policies to Promote Sustainable Consumption:
An Overview, OECD, Paris.
For an overview see, for example, the website of Redefining
A point that the industry appears well aware of; see
GeSI (Global e-Sustainability Initiative) (2002) Information
and Communications Technology, GeSI/UNEP Division
of Technology, Industry and Economics, Paris . This
is also the focus of a research project for the Melbourne
based Lab 3000 - innovation in digital design. See:
Ryan, C. (2004) The Digital and Sustainability: Realising
an Innovative Potential, Lab Report O2, Melbourne.
This is the basis, for example, in UNEP work with
youth and activities which focuses on individuals
who are sensitive to the 'life behind the product'.
Michaelis, L. (2000) 'The Drivers of Consumption Patterns',
in Heap, B. and Kent , J. (eds) Towards Sustainable
Consumption: A European Perspective, The Royal Society,
London , pp75-84. For example, proposed a framework
consisting of four sets of forces which shape consumption:
Demographic, economic and technical changes; Resources,
infrastructure and time constraints; Motivations,
habits needs and compulsions; Social structures, identities,
discourse and symbols. The UNDP Human Development
Report 1998 examines the history of the idea of consumption
and nine hypotheses about consumption from Veblen,
through Keynes to Amartya Sen.
ACA (Australian Consumers' Association) (2002) Green
Electricity Watch Report, ACA, Marrickville, NSW.
The term 'systems of provision' has been used to describe
a framework for understanding production, consumption
and life styles. It is used here in a closely related,
but more narrowly focused, way; Chappells, H., Klintaman,
M., Linden, A., Shove, E., Spaargaren, G. and van
Vliet, B. (2001) Domestic Consumption Utility Services
and the Environment, Final DOMUS report, University
of Lancaster, Wageningen and Lund.
A point made in UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)
(1998) Human Development Report, UNDP/Oxford University
Press, New York; OECD (2001) Policies to Promote Sustainable
Consumption: An Overview, OECD, Paris; and the Kabelvåg
Workshop (1998) Consumption in a Sustainable World,
International Institute for
and Development, London .
Based around Maslow's hierarchy - see UNDP (United
Nations Development Programme) (1998) Human Development
Report, UNDP/Oxford University Press, New York ; OECD
(2002a) Towards Sustainable Household Consumption?
Trends and Policies in OECD countries, OECD, Paris.
Spaargaren, G. and van Vliet, B. (2000) 'Lifestyles,
Consumption and the Environment: The Ecological Modernization
of Domestic Consumption', Environmental Politics,
vol 9, no 1, pp50-76. Describe the ways that consumers
and producers are co-actors in the creation and maintenance
of systems of provision.
See for example, Tischner, U., Schmincke E., Rubik,
F. and Prösler, M. (2000) How to do Ecodesign?,
Verlag Form Praxis, Frankfurt .
The development of eco-footprint measurements for
some cities is a good indication of future possibilities.
Ryan, C. (2002) 'EcoLab: A Jump Towards Sustainability',
Journal of Industrial Ecology, vol 5, no 3.
For a good review of such strategies see: Tischner,
U., Schmincke E., Rubik, F. and Prösler, M. (2000)
How to do Ecodesign?, Verlag Form Praxis, Frankfurt
Studies of new car sharing systems demonstrate this
well; Meijkamp, R. (2000) Changing Consumer Behaviour
through Eco-Efficient Services, Thesis, Technical
University of Delft , Netherlands.
The UNEP DTIE plan to produce a new eco-design support
system will thus be an
step in the integration of their production and consumption
McDonough, W. and Braungart, M. (2002) Cradle to Cradle:
Remaking the Way We Make Things, North Point Press,
After Manzini, E. (2001) 'Leap-Frog: Short-Term Strategies
for Sustainability', in Allen, P. (ed) Metaphors for
Change, Greenleaf Books, Sheffield.
Stated at the International Business Forum on Sustainable
Consumption and Production; Creating Opportunities
in a Changing World, Berlin, October, 1999.
Pine, J. and Gilmore, J. (1998) 'Welcome to the Experience
Economy', Harvard Business Review, July-August.
38 See UNEP (2001)
The Role of Product Service Systems in a Sustainable
Society, UNEP, Paris; UNEP (2002a) Product Service
Systems and Sustainability: Opportunities for Sustainable
Solutions, UNEP, Paris. (both available from UNEP