Sustainable Consumption

The issue of sustainable consumption was brought up at the Rio Conference (“Earth Summit”) in 1992 as part of the Agenda 21. The agreed wording used the term “consumption patterns”, thus avoiding the more controversial issue of consumption levels.

There has been extensive research and policy development since then, but only during the preparation of the Rio+20 conference, the issue of sustainable consumption levels emerged explicitly, and - similar to the UN Millennium Development Goals - a proposal for Millennium Consumption Goals was formulated.

Although the Rio+20 summit did not decide on this, the issue won’t go away, as “green growth” needs environmental and social safeguards to stay within planetary boundaries. Further discussion after Rio+20 concerned the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which were agreed upon by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 in New York, and include SDG 12 ("Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns").

Thus, research on sustainable consumption will be a key future issue for IINAS, and will be carried out in collaboration with its partners. As already demonstrated in the EUPOPP project, the integration of supply and demand-side issues and of policy analysis with material flow and scenario approaches can be a fruitful tool to further the debate.

IINAS will seek respective opportunities in the near future, especially regarding food, and with special emphasize on including stakeholders, social innovators, and intermediates.