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SCORE! Sustainable Consumption Research Exchanges

abstract In the next decades, due to a growing population and the need for a growing wealth per capita in particularly developing countries, the world economy is likely to grow four- to tenfold. If we realise this growth without changing our patterns of consumption and production, this will result in a four- to tenfold rise in environmental pressure. From many sides it has been argued that this will lead to near-certain disaster. In this context, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, September 2002, called for the promotion of "the development of a 10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production" (or SCP). In line with this call, the Sustainable Consumption Research Exchange network (SCORE!) was set up to bundle SCP research expertise, in the EU and beyond.
The understanding of how change towards more sustainable patterns of consumption can be governed is still incomplete. SCORE! believes that simple policy prescriptions, based on the mere notion of addressing the individual responsibility of consumers, deny the complexity of the issue. Consumption has to be understood as an activity that takes part in and is partially driven by a system context, and not only aims to fulfil material needs, but also relates to symbolic and cultural values.
This "systemic approach" implies that in our view, sustainable consumption and production structures can only be realized if experts that understand business development, (sustainable) solution design, consumer behaviour and effectiveness of (policy) instruments work together in shaping them. Furthermore, this should be linked with experiences of actors (industry, consumer groups, ecolabelling organisations) in real-life consumption areas. SCORE hence involves key expertise covering all relevant steps of the value chain in the priority consumption domains Mobility, Agro-Food, and Energy/electronics. These domains contribute to over 70% of the life cycle impacts of household consumption, are a priority in the EUs Enviromental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP), and give good examples of user awareness schemes (e.g. labeling).
The Coordinated Action (CA) is organized around a series of Workshops and Conferences. A first Workshop and in part the first Conference will analyse the State of the Art in SCP research, from the perspective of the four science fields listed above. The second phase of the project gives sustainable consumption cases in the domains centre stage. These are used as vehicles for a positive confrontation of insights from different science field, leading to true best practice generation, suggestions for implementation of user awareness approaches, research programming, and development of conceptual insights. The science and consumption domains are in any case covered by the 30 Work package managers and Members in SCORE!. But SCORE! will be organised in such a way, that all experts who want to participate and contribute to the State of the Art work will be able to be part of SCORE!'s Working groups. All and all, the Network covers a few 100 fte research capacity, and builds upon expertise in top-class projects.
keywords Sustainable Consumption; Sustainable Consumption and Production; SCP; Marketing; Business Development; Environmental Marketing; LOHAS; European Union
partner TNO (Netherlands), Dr. Arnold Tukker
type applied research project
status completed
start of project 2005
end of project 2008
principal European Commission
additional informations
topics Sustainable Consumption; Sustainable Consumption and Production; SCP; Marketing; Business Development; Environmental Marketing; LOHAS; European Union
methods Qualitative Research; Focus Groups
contact Rolf Wüstenhagen