Literature Review on Sustainable Lifestyles

 

Lead organization: The Stockholm Environment Institute

Download: Click here for the "Literature Review on Sustainable Lifestyles and Recommendations for Further Research"

Summary: The project produced a report that pulls together evidence surrounding sustainable lifestyles, including the tools and methods available to tackle the issue, understanding why we behave the way we do and looking at the issues surrounding production and consumption.

Objective: To define sustainable lifestyles and identify the key evidence gaps and recommendations for future research to enable sustainable lifestyles

The story: The review was written and produced by Kate Scott of the Stockholm Environment Institute. In addition, a small team within SEI (consisting of a program leader, two senior researchers, and a research associate) was established to provide project direction, peer review and quality control. 

The review examines the current literature on sustainable lifestyles, covering a comprehensive range of social, economic and environmental aspects relating to the field. It addresses the following five areas of research:

  • How can accounting methods help us understand sustainable lifestyles?
  • Defining an acceptable standard of living for everyone within the EarthÕs carrying capacity
  • Attitudes and behaviours
  • What is being done to encourage changes in behaviour?
  • What can we expect from the production side of sustainable consumption and production?

Outcomes & lessons learnt: The report concludes with a number of recommendations for further research:

  • Data availability: a lifestyles perspective requires a consumption-based accounting approach which assigns the impact embedded in traded products to the country of consumption. This needs further data and methodological developments.
  • Global climate change agreement: climate change necessitates a global effort to reduce emissions of GHGs, the absence of an agreement is a major barrier to cutting emissions
  • Emissions reduction roadmap: currently there is no clear roadmap and accounting framework that shows how to deliver substantial emissions reductions
  • Research consumer demand: there is insufficient research aimed at reducing consumer demand. Ways need to be found to decouple environmental impacts from economic growth

Contacts:
Ms. Kate Scott: kate.scott@sei.se