Muster, V. et al.Recommendations for action for the further development of the National Program for Sustainable Consumption – Part 1: Design and institutionalization of the program

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‪Viola Muster, Corinna Fischer, Franziska Wolff, Rainer Grießhammer, Lucia A. Reisch, Ulf Schrader & Christian Thorun

Release date:
November 2020

German Federal Environmental Agency, texts | 208/2020

To achieve the goals of the German Sustainability Strategy, far-reaching transformations of existing consumption and production patterns are necessary. The National Program for Sustainable Consumption (NPNK) was adopted by the German government in February 2016. It outlines how the Federal Government intends to promote sustainable consumption in Germany. So far, however, the programme has hardly shown any notable success. The programme provides for regular evaluation. For this reason, the design and implementation of the program was examined within the framework of a research project. Recommendations for action were developed on the basis of the research results. The recommendations for action consist of two parts. Part one of the recommendations addresses the conception and institutionalization of the program. Part two of the recommendations addresses relevant instruments of sustainable consumption. Following an introduction and a brief presentation of the program, this report presents six key areas for action to further develop the program:

Firstly, priorities must be set with regard to the effectiveness of the measures and focus in particular on the areas of need building and living, mobility and nutrition.

Secondly, it is recommended that the objectives be structured in accordance with SMART criteria and that central strategic principles such as limiting the consumption of resources be integrated.

Thirdly, it is recommended to develop systemic packages of measures consisting of central "hard" and "soft" measures.

Fourthly, it is proposed that the programme as a whole be given a higher priority and that its financing be anchored in budget headings.

Fifthly, instead of the currently rather broadly participatory approach, stakeholder participation should be implemented more pragmatically by first defining objectives and processes and then involving specific stakeholders. Accordingly, it is suggested that the National Network for Sustainable Consumption and the lighthouse strategy pursued should be realigned.

Finally, sixthly, it is recommended that a monitoring system be developed and implemented quickly.

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