ConPolicy publishes policy paper on sustainable consumption

Despite international efforts and despite the world economic crisis, last year the world community emitted more greenhouse gases than ever before in the history of mankind. Particularly the consumption patterns in the industrialized countries are far away from being sustainable. What should be done so that consumers contribute their part towards more sustainability? This policy paper seeks to answer this question. The challenges to sustainable consumption are that it often does not make sense economically to consume in a sustainable manner, it is complicated, ambiguous, against the mainstream and against the "dictate of now". In recent years policy makers primarily tried to overcome these hurdles by applying the policy instruments of consumer information and awareness raising. This attempt should be regarded as a failure. Instead of trying to convince consumers to consume more sustainably, consumer policy should aim at creating conditions that make sustainable consumption easy. Hence this paper concludes by arguing that a more dimensional approach is necessary that encompasses inter alia the internalization of external costs (Download German version .pdf).