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Symposium 2013

Towards Sustainable Consumption

The Challenge

A growing world population and increasing living standards imply large and accelerating resource use for individual consumption. The world’s population already consumes many of the planet’s resources in unsustainable ways. It seems that economic progress in developing countries will also follow this pattern. A remedy may lie in more conscious behavior by consumers: sustainable consumption.

What are the drivers and the limits of sustainable consumption? How far will sustainable consumption take us? Is it ethical to manipulate consumers’ values to achieve sustainable consumption? Can firms profit from making their products sustainable? Is labeling products with their life-cycle resource use feasible? Do firms benefit from introducing labeling or should industry standards be imposed by regulators? What other options are at hand?

Part of the issue cluster "Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth"

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Reduce the total amount of consumption

    Reduce the total amount of consumption

    Reduce the total amount of consumption

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Raise awareness of the environmental and social impacts of consumption

    Raise awareness of the environmental and social impacts of consumption

    Raise awareness of the environmental and social impacts of consumption

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Provide a regulatory environment for technological innovation

    Provide a regulatory environment for technological innovation

    Provide a regulatory environment for technological innovation

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Ensure that prices reflect the real costs of consumption by rethinking regulation.

    Ensure that prices reflect the real costs of consumption by rethinking regulation.

    Ensure that prices reflect the real costs of consumption by rethinking regulation.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    Ways to achieve sustainable consumption

    The global consumption of natural resources is unsustainable. Rapid economic growth in emerging countries and a growing world population put an increasing strain on environmental conditions and natura ...

    The global consumption of natural resources is unsustainable. Rapid economic growth in emerging countries and a growing world population put an increasing strain on environmental conditions and natural resources. Future consumption patterns have to be markedly different to avoid catastrophic environmental and social consequences. Making consumption patterns sustainable is one of the greatest current challenges to humanity. It requires timely and concerted action of government, firms, and consumers. Its final goal has to be a world with a higher awareness of environmental and social impacts, in which the population’s needs for self-fulfillment is not met with ever higher levels of

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    The three dimensions of sustainable consumption

    Sustainability is a complex issue. It encompasses ecologic aspects of human activity – most looked at usually – but also social and economic aspects. Much has been said about the unsustainability ...

    Sustainability is a complex issue. It encompasses ecologic aspects of human activity – most looked at usually – but also social and economic aspects. Much has been said about the unsustainability of the use of non-renewable resources and some panelists have also stressed the fact that renewable resources can also be used in an unsustainable way. I want to stress the economic and social aspect of sustainable consumption. The lack of social sustainability of consumption easily comes to mind by recollecting some of the events in the recent past. The global market for textiles is a highly competitive one and

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    Securing food, feed and bioenergy through integrated resource planning for land, water and biomass

    Replacing non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, ores or minerals with renewable resources seems like a good idea. But ‘renewable’ is not synonymous with ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmen ...

    Replacing non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, ores or minerals with renewable resources seems like a good idea. But ‘renewable’ is not synonymous with ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmentally benign’. Often, renewable resources come with a hefty price tag in terms of social or ecological impacts. Resettlement schemes, negative impacts on ecosystems, even violent conflicts related to some hydropower plants are well-known cases in point. Just ten years ago, experts, policy-makers and the general public commonly were confident that biomass would be a sustainable substitute for fossil fuels: a large, greenhouse-gas neutral, renewable source of energy that could replace a substantial fraction

    Polity, Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    Sustainable Nutrition – a key element of Sustainable Consumption

    A critical challenge for our society is to find a path towards sustainable consumption. It’s even more challenging given the context of significant global demographic and social developments: Over t ...

    A critical challenge for our society is to find a path towards sustainable consumption. It’s even more challenging given the context of significant global demographic and social developments: Over the next 40 years, the world population will be well over 9 billion Globalization will inevitably expose the food system to further economic and political pressures Population growth, climate change and related potential political developments will lead to increased competition for food, water and energy Nestlé’s articles of association state that Nestlé shall, in pursuing its business purpose, aim for long-term, sustainable value creation. We strongly believe that for a company

    Polity, Business

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2013

    Sustainable Consumption and Resource Management in the Light of Life Cycle Thinking

    Approaches to address unsustainable ways of societal development constantly proliferate, but total consumption of resources and aggregate environmental impacts continue rising. This could partially be ...

    Approaches to address unsustainable ways of societal development constantly proliferate, but total consumption of resources and aggregate environmental impacts continue rising. This could partially be explained by weak attempts to develop comprehensive sustainability strategies that address the entire life cycle of products and especially resource extraction and use phases. This paper seeks to explore to what extent these life cycle stages and associated impacts are taken into account when various actors employ life cycle thinking and how these concerns can be better attended to in policy-making, business strategies and lifestyle choices. To accomplish this, we evaluate the efforts of the main stakeholders in reaching sustainable consumption and sustainable resource management, and impediments to further progress, and study whether and how deficits in these phases coincide and can potentially contribute to more holistic practical realization of life cycle thinking. We demonstrate that new approaches are needed to be able to tackle the international dimension of production and consumption.