The UK Government recently convened a Sustainable Consumption Roundtable to advise the government on how to create consumer choices that say within environmental limits. Its final report, called “I will if you will – Towards sustainable consumption” is a ground breaking, thoughtful and easy to read document full of great policy and practical recommendation for more sustainable consumption in developed countries.
You can download the report from the following link: www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=367.
The primary emphasis of the report – as reflected in the I Will If You Will title – is that sustainable consumption is everyone’s business and it will take collective action on the part of government, business and the community to make significant progress. Individual business doesn’t want to be the first to adopt new potentially risky innovations that threaten their profits if other companies are not doing anything. Consumers and home owners want to feel as though they are part of something big, that others are doing it too, that they are not fighting an unwinnable battle against the major trends. Government has a clear role for creating the right regulatory environment to facilitate collective action on the part of business and the community – and they need to act fast.
Interestingly, the report benefits from a ‘host-positive’ government environment. Blair has been an outspoken supporter of Kyoto and they have set individual emmissions targets for each person in the UK. The Roundtable’s report is an important part of the overall approach to finding ways to reduce emissions across the country to achieve these targets, involving a combination of production and demand side processes, and driving rapid change towards more sustainability – in fact, as the UK Government policy framework puts it, “from a 3 planet economy to one”.
The core of the report is built around discussion and recommendations on 4 areas – how we run our homes, the food we eat, how we get around, and how we travel on our holidays. These four areas generate 80% of an individuals’ overall environmental impact. The report believes that “a mass of people are ready and willing to see new policies introduced that will help them change their behaviour in the face of climate change and global poverty”.
Download the report and post your comments: