Sustainable Consumption and Production

The challenge

Current patterns of consumption and production will define our future sustainability. This future reality demands that we develop alternative approaches to our current high footprint model of consumption and production. Innovations are needed in business models, supply‐chain management, public policies and expenditures, regulatory and fiscal mechanisms, and lifestyles choices, moving beyond low footprint solutions.

Much of our economic growth has been driven by technological innovation aimed at maximizing financial profitability at the expense of ecosystem services. Today though, human innovation is being used as a positive force for supporting transformations toward global sustainability. Innovators are transforming drivers of threats into drivers of positive change by overriding the lock-ins and lags that businesses are trapped in due to the incentives and regulations that govern private sector behaviours, consumer choices, and also the nature of the financial institutions governing our society.

The response

The theory of change for this workstream is that to scale transformation in sustainability in a world today characterised by emerging innovators, we need to connect innovators with others from relevant contexts in a learning journey of what dimension of sustainability (innovation) allows positive change, what pathway chosen allowed or followed innovations in sustainability, and what impact it had on behavioural, institutional and ecosystem changes?

The goal of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) workstream is to generate evidence about effectiveness of different mechanisms to open up pathways towards sustainable consumption and production.

Through this evidence-based analysis, we ask important questions about the governance underpinning these pathways: in other words, we examined the inter-linkages between institutions such as businesses, government policies, financial structures and investors that result in threats versus positive change for building natural and social capita. This allows also the identification of leverage points along these dependencies that. We then assess the impacts or trade-offs of these pathways, asking into question how ‘transformative’ are they?

We aim to better understand:

  • the role consumption and production plays as both the drivers of positive change and the drivers of threats to conservation, social and economic outcomes;
  • what actual contributions these pathways are making to climate change, biodiversity loss, and human well-being and what are the leverage points allowing such innovations;
  • the governance processes that allow collaborative action between public and private sectors and communities;
  • trade-offs and along these pathways, including who benefits and who is marginalised by these pathways.

The Projects

Main image: Planting mangrove seedlings, Sanur vicinity, Indonesia. © / Tim Laman / WWF

Luc Hoffmann InstituteSustainable Consumption and Production