Towards Sustainable Consumption Patterns

A Progress Report on Member Country Initiatives

Addressing unsustainable patterns of consumption is a crucial challenge for OECD Member countries in tackling environmental problems. However, measures to influence consumer demand have, in the past, received less attention than measures to influence production patterns. This progress report provides an initial overview of the broad array of policies and policy instruments which OECD Member countries are already using or considering to influence consumer demand for certain goods and services. These include a wide range of regulatory, economic and social policy instruments, as well as other actions by government, such as capital investment and the use of the land-use planning system. Such actions often form part of Member countries' strategies to tackle major environmental problems, such as climate change.

This report reviews currently available information on the success of Member country initiatives in influencing consumption patterns. It finds that detailed information on the effectiveness of these policies is still limited, partly because many of the measures have only recently been put in place. It also identifies next steps for the OECD and for its Member countries, both to improve knowledge of policy initiatives and to take more effective action to influence consumption patterns.

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