Dialogue-Based Process on Sustainability in Consumption and Production (2007-2008) - Further Development and Specification of the Initialised National Process to Foster Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns in Germany

  • Project no.1400
  • Duration 03/2007 - 09/2009

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002 caused the decision for the development of a 10 year lasting programme frame for sustainable consumption and production patterns. The programme frames international and national activities that aim at a stronger orientation of production and consumption at the principle of sustainable development. The result was the initiation of the Marrakech process.

Unclear political framework conditions and an insufficient culture of dialogue between the actors involved are reasons for the lack of alliances capable of acting between producers, retail markets, environmental and consumer organisations. This is the starting point for the national dialogue process in order to find an agreement on aims and innovative approaches that can mobilise the potentials of the economy, and actors from civil society. Germany can base its contribution to this international process on a variety of individual already existing approaches and initiatives for sustainable production and consumption patterns. These approaches need to be concentrated stronger in order to create space for new ideas. Against this background the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit) and the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) have initiated the national dialogue process for the advancement of sustainable consumption and production patterns in February 2004. In this context a series of stakeholder- and topic-specific symposia and panel discussions have been realised. Aim of those events is the joint development of ideas with all participants in order to advance the existing approaches and enrich them by new impulses. Concrete subjects have been climate protection and resource efficiency, potentials of the information economy and telecommunication, sustainable consumption and production patterns, eco-design, energy efficiency and saving, green surfing, the role of communities, retailers and small and medium enterprises and craft in consumption and production, ecoefficient household appliances, marketing strategies of sustainable products, environmental and social standards, ecoefficient lightening as well as sustainable procurement.

Within the scope of the panel discussion "Environment and social standards in the textile and shoe industry" the Wuppertal Institute has conducted an explorative short research on strategies of positioning of the retail industry, a background paper has been written and the results have been presented. Publicly accessible information proposals of eleven international operating German companies have been investigated between April and June 2009 and compared with the information gained by the consultation of three platforms of consumer organisations. The aim was to gain insight, in how far interested consumers are able to inform themselves on environmental and social standards with help of the positioning of investigated companies in order to consume more consciously.

Furthermore representatives the Wuppertal Institute participated at a workshop discussion on the "Demand field clothing - a view from a scientific perspective" organised by the Federal Environment Agency in Berlin January 16 2008 in the context of the National Dialogue Process. Different acting approaches and instruments with help of project examples in the demand field clothing have been presented.

The Wuppertal Institute was also responsible to prepare and collect material for the panel discussions and conferences and to comment working- and background papers and to conduct legwork for public relations as regards content for the National Dialogue Process.

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