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Negotiating sustainable consumption: A review of the consumption debate and its policy implications

Jackson, T (2004) Negotiating sustainable consumption: A review of the consumption debate and its policy implications Energy and Environment, 15 (6). pp. 1027-1051.

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Concern over the environmental and social implications of modern consumption patterns has emerged as a defining feature of debates about sustainable development. During the last decade, these concerns have crystallised around the concept of 'sustainable consumption'. This paper briefly reviews the recent history of this debate. It highlights, in particular, the failure of policy-makers to agree on precise definitions of sustainable consumption and the contentious nature of exhortations to 'consume less'. In spite of these difficulties, the author suggests that progress towards understanding and changing unsustainable patterns of consumption is not only necessary bur possible. Such progress relies, however, on two key understandings: firstly, an informed view of the wider and deeper debates about consumption and consumer behaviour within which the sustainable consumption debate sits; and secondly, a culturally open approach to the role of policy in negotiating change. The paper highlights, in particular, the potential for community-based initiatives for social change. Far from offering an intractable policy domain, the author argues that a sophisticated understanding of the social and institutional context of consumer action opens out a much more creative vista for policy innovation than has hitherto been recognised.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Date : 1 December 2004
DOI : 10.1260/0958305043026573
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 13:30
Last Modified : 25 Jan 2020 00:03

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