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Sustainable Consumption and Production

Sustainable consumption programmes Sustainable consumption programmes can promote coherence and realise synergies across a range of policies: consumer, education, economic, social, environmental, etc. In the absence of an integrated strategy, disconnected initiatives not only lack cohesion but also the full force of a range of government ministries and their policy tools. Without coherent approaches to sustainable consumption in terms of sectors (food, energy), actors (households, women, youth) and instruments (regulations, taxes, communications), initiatives may have inconsistencies or significant gaps and be generally ineffective. UNEP has developed Guidelines for National Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production which address many of these issues (UNEP, 2008). While OECD countries have a wide range of instruments aimed at promoting sustainable consumption, very few have combined these into a cohesive plan. Countries that have overall strategies for sustainable consumption and production include Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Korea, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Hungary, Germany and Greece are in the process of developing national sustainable consumption and production strategies. Sweden and the United Kingdom are the only OECD countries with dedicated sustainable consumption programmes or action plans. Although its implementation is currently on hold, the Swedish programme on sustainable consumption (Think Twice! An Action Plan for Sustainable Household Consumption) was developed in 2006 by the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) and contains specific proposals in the areas of food, energy-efficient households and travel. The UK sustainable consumption action plan targets behaviour groups and purchasing patterns with a mix of policy interventions in the areas of energy efficiency, waste and recycling, water usage, personal transport and food. Ten “road maps” for promoting sustainable consumption in specific product categories are being developed.