Research 205: CONSENSUS II: Segmentation, Experimentation and Biographies for Sustainability

Authors: Anna Davies, Frances Fahy, Henrike Rau, Laura Devaney, Ruth Doyle, Mary Jo Lavelle and Richard Manton

Summary: Research report 205 on CONSENSUS II: Segmentation, Experimentation and Biographies for Sustainability

Published: 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84095-695-5

Pages: 56

Filesize: 2,246KB

Format: pdf

Download now

Identifying Pressures

In 2015 a new global sustainable development agenda was agreed which placed responsibility on everyone, from governments and the private sector to civil society and citizens, to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Sustainable consumption, and by association sustainable production, will be essential to achieve these goals and will require action across scales from the global to the local, including households. The challenges of doing more and better with less must not be underestimated and will require new ways of living supported by social, technological, economic and environmental innovations. CONSENSUS II has identified pressure points where shifting consumption onto more sustainable pathways will be most challenging as well as opportunities to make positive changes.

Informing Policy

CONSENSUS II illustrates the diversity of factors that shape the way we consume. Through its careful analysis of diverse populations occupying different life stages in distinctive locations, CONSENSUS II highlights the importance of a co-ordinated and systematic approach to supporting sustainable consumption, from everyday habitual behaviours to the occasional or once-off purchases. Moreover, it identifies opportunities for cooperation among all actors involved in the production, distribution and consumption of goods. Here, policy remains a key means by which businesses can be facilitated to innovate for sustainable consumption and people can be incentivised to consume in ways which are less taxing on the environment.

Developing Solutions

This report highlights promising ways in which unsustainable consumption practices both in and beyond the home can be transformed through careful collection and analysis of data and the co-design of solutions that meet needs within planetary boundaries. There is no silver bullet for unsustainable consumption. However, CONSENSUS II illustrates how drawing on the resourcefulness and innovative potential of people from all sections of society in ways that acknowledge the diversity of lives and circumstances holds the greatest potential for achieving the new sustainable development goals.