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Lorek, Sylvia
Spangenberg, Joachim H.
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Wuppertal Papers 117
During the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro 1992 unsustainable consumption and production patterns were identified as one of the key driving forces behind theunsustainable development of the world (Agenda 21, chapter 4). These consumption and production patterns are based on the European model of industrialisation, spread around the globe in the age of colonisation and brought toextremes by the upper-class of industrialised societies, in particular in the United States, but also in a number of countries in the South. Therefore, all states of theworld share the task of developing sustainable consumption and productionpatterns, while particular responsibility rests with the industrialised nations of Europe, North America and Japan. They, and the thriving but small rich elite in the transition countries and in the South, form a global consumer society, with shared products, lifestyles and aspirations. As it is essential to support the transition towards sustainable development byproviding the proper information in an operational manner, the UNCED conference has called for the development of suitable means of information, and in particular for the development of sustainability indicators applicable throughout the world (Agenda 21, chapter 40). The UNDESA set of indicators for changingconsumption and production patterns offers helpful advice in this regard but stilllacks the theoretical underpinning needed to consistently complete it by definingthe few still missing indicators.This paper undertakes to suggest such a methodology based on the environmental space concept. It derives a set of science based indicators from this approachwhich are easily applicable in everyday life and analyses the environmentalrelevance of the consumption clusters chosen for analysis as well as the relevanceof the phenomena characterised by the indicators suggested. As households arejust one actor in the field of consumption, a qualitative assessment of influences isperformed and the result depicting the key actors for each environmentallyrelevant consumption cluster is presented as an actor matrix.
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Working Paper

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