Reisch, L. , M. Cohen, J. Thøgersen & A. TukkerSustainable consumption: Research challenges


Lucia Reisch, Maurie Cohen, John Thøgersen & Arnold Tukker 

April 2016 


Mistra – The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research

The Board of the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) decided in October 2015 that a proposal for a funding application call in the research area of "sustainable consumption" should be drawn up. Mistra commissioned a committee of four international senior researchers in the field (Lucia A. Reisch, Maurie J. Cohen, John B. Thøgersen and Arnold Tukker) to draft a background report to prepare the call. The aim of this background report is to shed light on future research topics within sustainable consumption from a Swedish perspective. The research promoted should help to develop Sweden’s sustainable consumption research community, to help cope with the most urgent challenges in the field, and to promote Sweden’s international competitiveness.

The group’s tasks were outlined as follows:

  • To describe the challenges facing society in this area, and the political (and policy) processes that are underway in Sweden and the rest of the European Union (EU) to tackle these challenges
  • To provide an overview of where the international research frontline is located and the status of Swedish research gaps in the area from an international perspective
  • To propose in detail the orientation of a new research program to be used as draft text for the call for funding applications.

The Committee was tasked with developing a research program adopting a comprehensive approach to sustainable consumption. However, a number of useful overviews of the field, both conceptual as well as specifically covering consumption areas such as food, energy, housing, transport, finance and others have been published recently and the report should not be read as a thoroughgoing assessment of the status of the field. Rather, it strives to go beyond what is already known and to identify relevant and worthwhile future research focus areas and themes. These are presented in Part 4 of this report.

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