Institut for Virksomhedsledelse

John Thøgersen

Sustainable Consumption: Research Challenges: Background Paper

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportRapportRådgivning


  • Lucia A. Reisch, Copenhagen Business School, Danmark
  • Maurie J. Cohen, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA
  • John Thøgersen
  • Arnold Tukker, Leiden University, Holland
The Board of the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) decided in October 2015 that a proposal for a funding application call in the research area of “sustainable consumption” should be drawn up. According to the statutes of Mistra, research funded by the foundation “shall promote the development of strong research environments of the highest international class with importance for Sweden’s future competitiveness. The research shall be of importance for finding solutions to important environmental problems and for a sustainable development of society. Opportunities for achieving industrial applications shall be taken advantage of.”
The funding application call to be developed by Mistra is to be based on an analysis of the current state of the art of research and of society’s knowledge needs regarding sustainable consumption. Mistra commissioned a committee of four international senior researchers in the eld — Lucia A. Reisch, Maurie J. Cohen, John B. Thøgersen and Arnold Tukker (see Appendix 3) — to draft a background report to prepare the call. The group’s tasks were outlined as follows:
► to describe the challenges facing society in this area, and the political (and policy) processes that are underway in Sweden and the rest of the European Union (EU) to tackle these challenges;
► to provide an overview of where the international research frontline is located and the status of Swedish research gaps in the area from an international perspective;
► to propose in detail the orientation of a new research program to be used as draft text for the call for funding applications.
The aim of this background report is hence to shed light on future research topics within sustainable consumption from a Swedish perspective. The research pro- moted should help to develop Sweden’s sustainable consumption research com- munity, to help cope with the most urgent challenges in the eld, and to promote Sweden’s international competitiveness.
Since the research committee did not possess the needed Swedish insider’s view, we invited representatives of the Swedish research and stakeholder communi-
ty of sustainable consumption to join an expert meeting in Stockholm at the Mis- tra Foundation on March 9, 2016 (for participants see Appendix 1). We aimed to learn more about their perspectives on and visions of worthwhile research topics as well as where they think the major research needs in Sweden are to be tackled. Additionally, Mistra had earlier commissioned an overview report on the Swedish research and policy landscape regarding sustainable consumption that also helped us to better understand the state of play.
The Committee was tasked with developing a research programme adopting a comprehensive approach to sustainable consumption.3 However, a number of useful overviews of the eld, both conceptual as well as speci cally covering consumption areas such as food, energy, housing, transport, nance and others have been published recently and the report should not be read as a thoroughgoing assessment of the status of the field. Rather, it strives to go beyond what is already known and to identify relevant and worthwhile future research focus areas and themes. These are presented in Part 4 of this report.
ForlagMISTRA - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Antal sider50
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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