In an Environmental Policy Lecture on Sustainable Consumption and Production - Public Policies for Changing the "European Way of Life", R. Andreas Kraemer presented the international framework and current activities in Europe and Germany. Faculty and students attended this event at Duke University, Durham, NC, on 21 September 2004 and engaged in a lively debate.
On both sides of the Atlantic, thoughtful people agree that life-styles, production and consumption patterns must adapt in the interest of sustainable development. Controversies arise around the appropriateness and legitimacy of public policy measures, their effectiveness and effects on other policies. What power do we have, individually, collectively, through public policy and international cooperation to shape lifestyles? What should be the principles and approaches of relevant policies?
In his lecture, R. Andreas Kraemer reviewed the international policy process since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992), notably work in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UN CSD). The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002) provided a new impetus and a range of policy objectives for the world's nations to aim for, with information exchange facilitated by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The European Union seeks to influence production and consumption directly or indirectly through a range of policies and measures. Notable examples are the Integrated Product Policy (IPP), the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy, the Cardiff Process for environmental policy integration, and the 6th Environmental Action Programme with its Thematic Strategies. The policies are underpinned by existing measures, such as the ecolabel or the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
In Germany, policy conferences and stakeholder dialogues are currently held to discuss policy objectives and scope, and identify possible priorities for action specifically on SCP policies. Germany, like other nations now faces the challenge of fleshing out a "10-Year-Framework of Program" and report on it in 2006.
The discussion following the lecture focussed on specific aspects of the policies and differences in regulatory approaches and the role of public policy between the US and Europe.