Wolff, F. et al.Recommendations for action for the further development of the National Program for Sustainable Consumption – Part 2: Instruments for sustainable consumptions

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

Release date:
November 2020

German Federal Environmental Agency, texts | 209/2020

To achieve the goals of the German Sustainability Strategy, far-reaching transformations of existing consumption and production patterns are necessary. The National Programme 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 program 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. The report at hand is part two of the recommendations and addresses relevant instruments of sustainable consumption. After an introduction, basic types of policy instruments and a discussion of “hard”, “soft”, “strong” and “weak” instruments for sustainable consumption are presented. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of a synergetic interplay of “soft” and “hard” measures within (“strong”) instrument bundles to promote sustainable consumption. On this basis, Chapter 3 gives recommendations for instrument bundles in three areas of need with a high potential for environmental relief – construction, renovation and housing, mobility and nutrition – as well as in the cross-cutting area of energy consumption and CO2 intensity of energy used. The packages of measures address consumer activities that are particularly relevant to the environment within these areas. The recommended packages of measures are based on the following central principles:

(1) Cross-cutting: Energy prices should tell “the ecological truth”.

(2) Building and living: The most energy-efficient appliances should become mainstream; building material prices should tell “the ecological truth”; speed up the energy-efficient renovation of buildings.

(3) Mobility: Reduce air traffic; make company car taxation sustainable; set/ reduce speed limits.

(4) Nutrition: Give priority to plant-based food, make agriculture more ecological and mandatorily label food according to its ecological quality.

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