Strong Sustainable Consumption – Governing Levels and Patterns of Consumption? - Luncheon
One major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment are unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, but also increasingly in emerging economies catching up with western lifestyles. This is a matter of grave concern as regards both environmental impacts as well as aggravating poverty and inequity.
At the event, Dr. Sylvia Lorek talked about the need to drastically reduce resource consumption. She highlighted that the "green consumerism" approach, increasing demand for and consumption of green and less environmentally damaging products and services, will not be sufficient to reduce resource use and environmental impacts to the extent necessary to stay within planetary boundaries. She advocated strong sustainable consumption patterns and the "degrowth" discourse as key pathways to achieving this. During the ensuing discussions, it was stressed that not only would political processes need to acknowledge that consumer scapegoatism (making the consumer the sole responsible party for reducing resource use and environmental impacts to stay within planetary boundaries) will not solve this wicked issue, but also should policy create enabling framework conditions fostering alliances of business and society for systemic innovation.
Dr. Sylvia Lorek works as a researcher and policy consultant for sustainable consumption since 1993. From 1998 to 1999, she worked as a researcher at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Since 2000 she is based at the Sustainable Europe Research Institute and is head of SERI Germany e.V. She works on studies and as consultant for national and international organisations. In parallel, she works in close relationship with German and international NGOs and research communities following the policy processes around sustainable consumption.
The Luncheon took place on Tuesday, 8 April 2014, at 12:30 p.m. at Ecologic Institute, Pfalzburger Str. 43/44 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf.