Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, "Towards Sustainable Household Consumption? Trends And Policies In OECD Countries"
Publisher: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD | 2002 | ISBN R20071020D | PDF | 158 pages | 2.2 MB
Sustainable consumption has become an important issue in national and international agendas.
Changing unsustainable consumption patterns is crucial for achieving the goal of sustainable
development. For many years, environmental policies were focused on the production side, mainly
through pollution control and eco-efficiency. There was a lack of understanding of the consumption
patterns and the drivers behind them, an understanding which is necessary to identify the appropriate
role of governments in promoting more sustainable consumption patterns, and for the choice and
implementation of different policy instruments.
Is achieving sustainable consumption in OECD societies an insurmountable challenge? Looking
ahead to the nature and size of the problem in OECD countries, the challenge appears daunting – even
without considering the still greater implications of a global community consuming in the style and on
the scale of OECD countries. Ten years after the 1992 Earth Summit what can be said about the progress
made in addressing the environmental impacts of household consumption patterns and what are the
future priorities for action?
The OECD Environment Directorate has worked actively on sustainable consumption and the
environment since late 1994. Over the course of 1999 to 2001, it led a comprehensive exploration of key
household consumption patterns and drivers in OECD countries, the related environmental impacts,
and policy measures to promote more sustainable patterns. This report provides a synthesis of that
three years programme of work.
It describes the nature and magnitude of the challenge ahead to reduce the environmental impacts
from current and projected household consumption patterns. The web of driving forces that shape
household consumption patterns means that there are many options for influencing consumption
patterns, including roles for public policy, market innovation, NGO mobilisation of consumer groups,
and voluntary initiatives by consumers themselves. While recognising the close link to progress in
sustainable production and waste management practices, the report looks in particular at the specific
role of government in promoting more sustainable consumption patterns.
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