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Environmentally sustainable household consumption : from aggregate environmental pressures to indicators for priority fields of action

  • During the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro 1992 unsustainable consumption and production patterns were identified as one of the key driving forces behind the unsustainable development of the world (Agenda 21, chapter 4). These consumption and production patterns are based on the European model of industrialisation, spread around the globe in the age of colonisation and brought to extremes by the upper-class of industrialised societies, in particular in the United States, but also in a number of countries in the South. Therefore, all states of the world share the task of developing sustainable consumption and production patterns, while particular responsibility rests with the industrialised nations of Europe, North America and Japan.During the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro 1992 unsustainable consumption and production patterns were identified as one of the key driving forces behind the unsustainable development of the world (Agenda 21, chapter 4). These consumption and production patterns are based on the European model of industrialisation, spread around the globe in the age of colonisation and brought to extremes by the upper-class of industrialised societies, in particular in the United States, but also in a number of countries in the South. Therefore, all states of the world share the task of developing sustainable consumption and production patterns, while particular responsibility rests with the industrialised nations of Europe, North America and Japan. They, and the thriving but small rich elite in the transition countries and in the South, form a global consumer society, with shared products, lifestyles and aspirations. As it is essential to support the transition towards sustainable development by providing the proper information in an operational manner, the UNCED conference has called for the development of suitable means of information, and in particular for the development of sustainability indicators applicable throughout the world (Agenda 21, chapter 40). The UNDESA set of indicators for changing consumption and production patterns offers helpful advice in this regard but still lacks the theoretical underpinning needed to consistently complete it by defining the few still missing indicators. This paper undertakes to suggest such a methodology based on the environmental space concept. It derives a set of science based indicators from this approach which are easily applicable in everyday life and analyses the environmental relevance of the consumption clusters chosen for analysis as well as the relevance of the phenomena characterised by the indicators suggested. As households are just one actor in the field of consumption, a qualitative assessment of influences is performed and the result depicting the key actors for each environmentally relevant consumption cluster is presented as an actor matrix.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Working Paper
Author:Sylvia Lorek, Joachim H. Spangenberg
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-13092
Publisher:Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie
Place of Publication:Wuppertal
Year of Publication:2001
Pagenumber:57
Series Title (English):Wuppertal Papers
Volume:117
Language:English
Division:Präsidialbereich
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt