Education for Sustainable Consumption in Northeast Asia: Strategies to promote and advance sustainable consumption

Policy Report
Policy Report
Education for Sustainable Consumption in Northeast Asia: Strategies to promote and advance sustainable consumption

This policy report investigates means to improve the conceptualisation and implementation of Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC). The main objective of this work is to establish a clear framework of how governments can advance sustainable consumption by influencing consumer behaviour, as is reflected in the primary research question for this paper: How can governments best influence individual consumers to proactively participate in sustainable consumption and environmentally responsible behaviour?

Following a review of several theories on human behaviour and behavioural change, it is explained that ESC must address both how to affect the individual consumer at the level of his or her decision-making on consumption and also how to develop a supportive social infrastructure that not only fosters sustainable consumption but eventually makes this the norm. A framework of assessment for ESC initiatives is put forth based on five primary components and twenty-six aggregate criteria. This framework provides means to analyse both the influence on internal factors at the level of personal attitudes and on external factors at the level of social contexts.

In Section Two of this report, experts in ESC policy and practice contribute chapters to provide both the international and national level contexts to this work. The international implementation of both education for sustainable development and ESC are reviewed in parallel. The existing policy structures for the promotion of sustainable consumption for China, Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK) are reviewed in three separate chapters. This is followed by a review of the current status of ESC implementation in each country.

In Section Three of this report, the assessment framework is applied to a series of case studies from Japan, China and ROK in order to investigate the ways in which different policies and activities influence consumer behaviour towards sustainable consumption. The background of ESC in the national policies of each country is explained, and good practice cases from each country are presented. Both commonalities and differences are identified across the three countries and their ESC practice.

Policy Implications are highlighted regarding the general structure and specific content of effective ESC policies. The ESC assessment framework provides a tool for conceptualising good policy structure and can facilitate the policy planning process.

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