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Sustainable consumption in the UK: A selection of case studies

business and industry, sustainability

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Editor(s):  Reg Platt
Author(s):  Brooke Flanagan, David Weatherall
Published date:  06 Feb 2013
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This report presents case studies of best practice in achieving sustainable consumption in the UK. These case studies exemplify ways in which people can be helped, encouraged or compelled to live more sustainably, either directly or indirectly.

The first set of four case studies relate to initiatives led by, or involving, government to restrict or inform consumers’ product choice around a particular class of product.

  • The Zero Carbon Hub – an example of industry and government working together on a long-term trajectory for regulations around product standards
  • Government regulation for efficient central heating boilers – a demonstration of government successfully regulating to directly restrict product choice
  • Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme – a government-initiated, but now privately funded, labelling and certification scheme promoting higher standards for appliances
  • Television Voluntary Retail Initiative – a scheme by which government worked with retailers to limit the products offered to consumers, in advance of regulations coming into effect.

The second set of case studies focuses on the role of large-scale public campaigns to raise awareness of sustainable livelihood issues.

  • Love Food Hate Waste – a government-funded national campaign raising awareness of a less well-known issue in sustainable consumption
  • Every Action Counts – a programme run by national government to mobilise the community and voluntary sector to promote sustainable lifestyles
  • Manchester is my Planet – a city-wide awareness campaign focused on carbon reduction.

The third set of case studies relate to capacity-building initiatives.

  • Pro-Environmental Behaviours Framework – an overarching system of analysis created by government to promote sustainable consumption
  • Energy Saving Trust – a large-scale, long-term, government-funded initiative focused on working with demand and supply actors in one area of sustainable consumption
  • Transition Networks – an entirely voluntary-sector scheme coordinating multiple, ‘bottom up’ local campaigns to promote sustainable consumption.

Our final case studies show how two different actors are leading sustainable consumption initiatives in the UK.

  • Marks and Spencer Plan A – a retailer taking a leading role in promoting sustainable consumption direct to its customers
  • Hugh’s Fish Fight – a sustainable consumption campaign led by a high-profile individual and utilising new media to full effect.

This work has been prepared as part of the project 'Implementing Sustainable Consumption in Civil Society of Urban China', led by the University of Civil Engineering and Architecture of Beijing.

 
 

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Reg Platt, Senior Research Fellow