Institut de Gestion de l'Environnement et d'Aménagement du Territoire

Scenarios based on sustainability discourses: Constructing alternative consumption and consumer perspectives

This paper describes a research based scenario project on sustainable consumption in Belgium. In the Consentsus project a scenario method was developed and tested by the research team to assess scenarios both as learning and participation tools for sustainable consumption. By using a décomposition analysis a solid ground was laid to adequately summarize three guiding principles on how to reach a (more) sustainable consumption: eco-efficiency, de-commodification and sufficiency. These consumer perspectives do not aim at indicating real (even potential) groups, but aim at illustrating how the environment of interactions around the consumer fundamentally changes throughout the three sustainability discourses.

Abstract

This paper describes a research based scenario project on sustainable consumption in Belgium. In the Consentsus project a scenario method was developed and tested by the research team to assess scenarios both as learning and participation tools for sustainable consumption. By using a decomposition analysis a solid ground was laid to adequately summarize three guiding principles on how to reach a (more) sustainable consumption: eco-efficiency, de-commodification and sufficiency. These ‘pure’ strategies – showing significant similarities with concrete discourses – were then translated into a participative process: two expert-driven workshops and interim research yielded three future images of food consumption as well as indications on their boundary conditions. These three images reflect significantly diverging approaches on how to organize practices related to food consumption. Thisstructuraldiversityallowedustoaddressanarchetypicalconsumer,i.e. a generalized consumer based on the specificities of the scenarios. These consumer perspectives do not aim at indicating real (even potential) groups, but aim at illustrating how the environment of interactions around the consumer fundamentally changes throughout the three sustainability discourses. It is argued that thinking through alternative modes of consumption is of importance to support and elucidate debate in governance arenas that address transitions towards a more sustainable consumption.

Réference

Crivits M., Paredis E., Boulanger P-M, Mutombo E., Bauler T., Lefin A-L (2010), Scenarios based on sustainability discourses: Constructing alternative consumption and consumer perspectives. Futures 42 (2010) 1187–1199.

 

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