Sustainable Consumption Policies Effectiveness Evaluation

Theoretical and case based assessment of how to implement measures that can make the change to sustainable consumption happen.

The main scientific purpose of this project was to analyse how policy instruments can lead to greening of the markets and stimulate more sustainable consumption patterns by individuals and households. From extensive insight on Integrated Product Policy, Sustainable Consumption and Sustainable Transitions, it is clear that simple policy approaches will not work. Consumers are often not as sovereign as thought, since their behaviour is shaped by factors they cannot influence. Many sustainable business initiatives have died out in silence due to a lack of reward in the market, or since the novel, sustainable business models did not lead to sufficient consumer satisfaction.

And where simple, direct interventions such as regulation or financial instruments sometimes are successful, they can also appear to be too crude, or even inadequate, when the sustainability problem is caused by ‘lock-in’ problems or other market failures.

For these reasons, the SCOPE2 project went beyond the scope of a simple inventory and evaluation of policy instruments. We intended to give a systemic picture of governance approaches to influence this system, actions of business and behaviour of consumers. The project consisted of the following elements:

1. an inventory and analysis of policy instruments relevant for stimulating sustainable consumption and production, their effectiveness, consideration on their efficiency and barriers to use.

2. an inventory and analysis of success and failure factors in cases, where business took the lead for realizing sustainable consumption and production patterns.

3. a systems perspective analysis how business initiatives, policy instruments, and other factors could work in coherence, in order to realise long-term changes to sustainability in systems of production and consumption.

4. based on the activities above, a geographical and sectoral gap analysis was performed to identify instruments and initiatives that worked on one sector or region and can potentially become candidates for diffusion in other sectors and regions.

5. concrete recommendations to policy makers were developed on the use of policy instruments for SCP, emphasising the need for greening of the market, internalising external costs, etc. These main research activities were completed with dissemination and communication activities.


Project partners

  • TNO, Niederlande
  • IIIEE, Schweden
  • SERI Deutschland e.V.
  • SERI GmbH Österreich

Project duration

  • 2006 – 2009


  • European Commission, DG Research, 6th Frameprogramme

Related projects

Project website


Highlight: Ernährung

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