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The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living

The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living

Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice

Edited by Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer

This unique book illustrates that in order to address the growing urgency of issues around environmental and resource limits, it is clear that we need to develop effective policies to promote durable changes in behaviour and transform how we view and consume goods and services. It suggests that in order to develop effective policies in this area, it is necessary to move beyond a narrow understanding of ‘how individuals behave’, and to incorporate a more nuanced approach that encompasses behavioural influences in different societies, contexts and settings.


Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, climate change, environmental economics, environmental sociology, politics and public policy, public policy


While a strengthened focus on the regulation of consumerism has been apparent at least since the 1987 Brundtland Report (Brundtland, 1987) the struggle to engage a uniform policy response around sustainability has been noticeable, not only at the level of the individual, but also at the systemic level of local, national, regional and international politics. The variable success of policies that have attempted to isolate and target agency as levers for change and transition suggests that behaviour-based policies must also be recognized as constituting part of the move towards wider, systemic change. As Fudge and Peters (2011) have argued, the scale and complexity of sustainability suggests that ‘transition pathways’ will only realistically come about as the result of a more negotiated shift that is played out through collaboration between governments, businesses, communities and individuals. The result of this change in attitude has been an evolving focus on modifying individual and group behaviour as a more integral element in the design of policy strategies. In order to achieve meaningful reductions in energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for instance, policy makers have begun to embrace a demand management approach, whereby lifestyle trends and patterns of individual and cultural consumption have been incorporated into more ‘bottom-up’ policy approaches.