Sustainable production, consumption, and livelihoods: global and regional research perspectives

In Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume (Issue): 63
Peer-reviewed Article

In June 2012 at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio + 20”), the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption (GRF-SPaC) was launched, bringing together organizations and individuals from various regions of the world engaged in research and its applications in the transition to sustainable production and consumption (SPaC) systems. Conceptualizing and researching transitions to a sustainable production and consumption system is a very challenging task; the research field is not yet very well structured, its boundaries are still fluid; it is often not clear where research ends and social practices and policies begin.

This introduction to a Journal of Cleaner Production Special Volume maps the emerging field of SPaC research and illustrates the multiple perspectives on how to analyze the present production and consumption system and how to conceptualize (systemic) change. We discuss how research over the last 20 years has revealed a lot of the mechanisms and lock-ins of unsustainable consumerist lifestyles and production patterns, and the barriers to systemic change. But many questions – trans-scientific in nature – remain unanswered. What is clear is that we need not only much more research into all the details of SPaC research arena but we also need bold thinking that addresses these trans-scientific questions.

Philip Vergragt
Paul Dewick