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Sustainable Consumption Governance: A History of Promises and Failures

Authors
  • Fuchs, Doris A.1
  • Lorek, Sylvia1
  • 1 Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Wittenberg Centre for Global Ethics, Collegienstr. 62, Wittenberg, D-06886, Germany , Wittenberg
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Consumer Policy
Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2005
Volume
28
Issue
3
Pages
261–288
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10603-005-8490-z
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

What are the implications of the current international political, and economic settings for consumer policy, and, in particular, those regarding sustainable consumption? In terms of improvements in the efficiency of consumption, the settings have induced efforts to this effect and show potential for further progress. In terms of necessary changes in consumption levels and patterns, however, little progress has been made since the Rio Summit nor is there likely to be any in the near future. These two dimensions of sustainable consumption need to be differentiated, as there is a substantial amount of controversy regarding our ability to achieve sustainable consumption on the basis of improvements in efficiency alone. The paper traces these differences with respect to the work of the major international governmental organizations (IGOs) engaged in developing sustainable consumption governance. It argues that the lack of commitment to strong sustainable consumption among IGOs can be explained by their “weakness” as actors in global governance and the existence of strong opposing interests among consumers and business actors.

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