|Part of series on|
Sustainable consumption (sometimes abbreviated to "SC")is the use of material products, energy and immaterial services in such a way that their use minimizes impacts on the environment, so that human needs can be met not only in the present but also for future generations. Consumption refers not only to individuals and households, but also to governments, business, and other institutions. Sustainable consumption is closely related to sustainable production and sustainable lifestyles. "A sustainable lifestyle minimizes ecological impacts while enabling a flourishing life for individuals, households, communities, and beyond. It is the product of individual and collective decisions about aspirations and about satisfying needs and adopting practices, which are in turn conditioned, facilitated, and constrained by societal norms, political institutions, public policies, infrastructures, markets, and culture."
The United Nations includes analyses of efficiency, infrastructure, and waste, as well as access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all within the concept of sustainable consumption.It shares a number of common features with and is closely linked to the terms sustainable production and sustainable development. Sustainable consumption, as part of sustainable development, is a prerequisite in the worldwide struggle against sustainability challenges such as climate change, resource depletion, famines or environmental pollution.
Sustainable development as well as sustainable consumption rely on certain premises such as:
Goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals seeks to "ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns".
The definition proposed by the Oslo Symposium on Sustainable Consumption in 1994 refers to sustainable consumption as "the use of services and related products which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations."
This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. The reason given is: should be rephrased as encyclopedic definition, not as action plan from the proponents' PoV. Also, who coined these terms? (October 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Some writers make a distinction between "strong" and "weak" sustainability.
In order to achieve sustainable consumption, two developments have to take place: it requires both an increase in the efficiency of consumption as well as a change in consumption patterns and reductions in consumption levels in industrialized countries as well as rich social classes in developing countries which have also a large ecological footprint and give examples for increasing middle classes in developing countries.The first prerequisite is not sufficient on its own and can be named weak sustainable consumption. Here, technological improvements and eco-efficiency support a necessary reduction in resource consumption. Once this aim has been met, the second prerequisite, the change in patterns and reduction of levels of consumption is indispensable. Strong sustainable consumption approaches also pay attention to the social dimension of well-being and assess the need for changes based on a risk-averse perspective. In order to achieve what can be termed strong sustainable consumption, changes in infrastructures as well as the choices customers have are required. In the political arena, weak sustainable consumption has been discussed whereas strong sustainable consumption is missing from all debates.
The so-called attitude-behaviour or values-action gap describes a significant obstacle to changes in individual customer behavior. Many consumers are well aware of the importance of their consumption choices and care about environmental issues, however, most of them do not translate their concerns into their consumption patterns as the purchase-decision making process is highly complicated and relies on e.g. social, political and psychological factors. Young et al. identified a lack of time for research, high prices, a lack of information and the cognitive effort needed as the main barriers when it comes to green consumption choices.
The Sustainable Development Goals were established by the United Nations in 2015. SDG 12 is described as to "ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns".Specifically, targets 12.1 and 12.A of SDG 12 aim to implement frameworks and support developing countries in order to "move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production".
The United Nations Environment Programme is responsible for coordinating the UN's environmental activities and assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
Overconsumption is a situation where resource use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem. A prolonged pattern of overconsumption leads to environmental degradation and the eventual loss of resource bases.
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was a body under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) tasked with overseeing the outcomes of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development/Earth Summit. It was replaced in 2013 by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which meets both under the General Assembly every four years and the ECOSOC in other years.
Alicia Isabel Adriana Bárcena Ibarra is a Mexican biologist who currently serves as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
UN-Energy is an interagency mechanism within the system of the United Nations related to energy. It was created after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and its purpose is to create a coherent approach towards a sustainable energy system especially in developing countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Sustainability advertising is communications geared towards promoting social, economic and environmental benefits (sustainability) of products, services or actions through paid advertising in media in order to encourage responsible behavior of consumers.
Achim Steiner is an environmentalist, of Brazilian-German ancestry, who currently serves as the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Before joining UNDP, he was Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP (2006–2016), and director of the Oxford Martin School (2016–2017). He has also served as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Secretary-General of the World Commission on Dams.
The Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production is a non-profit limited liability. It was jointly founded by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2005 to establish an internationally visible institution for scientific research, outreach and transfer activities on sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The Centre contributes to the Plan of Implementation agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 to promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production (SCP).
The United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), previously the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), is a consortium of 36 United Nations funds, programs, specialized agencies, departments and offices that play a role in development. It was created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in order to improve the effectiveness of United Nations development activities at the country level.
Degrowth is a term used for both a political, economic, and social movement as well as a set of theories that critiques the paradigm of economic growth. It is based on ideas from a diverse range of lines of thought such as political ecology, ecological economics, feminist political ecology, and environmental justice. Degrowth emphasizes the need to reduce global consumption and production and advocates a socially just and ecologically sustainable society with well-being replacing GDP as the indicator of prosperity. Degrowth highlights the importance of autonomy, care work, self-organization, commons, community, localism, work sharing, happiness and conviviality.
Sustainability is the ability to exist constantly. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for the biosphere and human civilization to coexist. It is also defined as the process of people maintaining change in a homeostasis balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. For many in the field, sustainability is defined through the following interconnected domains or pillars: environment, economic and social, which according to Fritjof Capra is based on the principles of Systems Thinking. Sub-domains of sustainable development have been considered also: cultural, technological and political. According to Our Common Future, sustainable development is defined as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainable development may be the organizing principle of sustainability, yet others may view the two terms as paradoxical.
Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities—political, social and economic. Governance includes government, business and civil society, and emphasizes whole system management. To capture this diverse range of elements, environmental governance often employs alternative systems of governance, for example watershed-based management.
The International Resource Panel is a scientific panel of experts that aims to help nations use natural resources sustainably without compromising economic growth and human needs. It provides independent scientific assessments and expert advice on a variety of areas, including:
Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of a UN Resolution called "The 2030 Agenda". The targets and indicators for the SDGs are included in the UN Resolution adopted by the General Assembly two years later on 6 July 2017.
Sustainable Materials Management is a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire lifecycles. It represents a change in how a society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By looking at a product's entire lifecycle new opportunities can be found to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources, and reduce costs. U.S. and global consumption of materials increased rapidly during the last century. According to the Annex to the G7 Leaders’ June 8, 2015 Declaration, global raw material use rose during the 20th century at about twice the rate of population growth. For every 1 percent increase in gross domestic product, raw material use has risen by 0.4 percent. This increasing consumption has come at a cost to the environment, including habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, overly stressed fisheries and desertification. Materials management is also associated with an estimated 42 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Failure to find more productive and sustainable ways to extract, use and manage materials, and change the relationship between material consumption and growth, has grave implications for our economy and society.
Established in 1992, the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth is the United Nations General Assembly mandated, official, formal and self-organised space for children and youth to contribute to and engage in certain intergovernmental and allied policy processes at the United Nations.
Bas de Leeuw is a Dutch economist and sustainability expert. He is currently Managing Director of the World Resources Forum.
The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030 was conceived as a means of highlighting the need for greatly increased global cooperation to restore degraded and destroyed ecosystems, contributing to efforts to combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity, food security, and water supply.
Sustainable Development Goal 12 is about "responsible consumption and production" It is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015. The official wording of SDG 12 is " To ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns". SDG 12 is meant to ensure good use of resources, improving energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and ensuring a better quality of life for all.