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Greening the Danes? Experience with consumption and environment policies

  • Toke Christensen


  • Mirjam Godskesen


  • Kirsten Gram-Hanssen


  • Maj-Britt Quitzau


  • Inge Røpke


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    Consumer-oriented environmental policies came high on the political agenda during the 1990s. Internationally, consumers were assigned a key role in environmental policies; also in Denmark, political initiatives were taken to promote sustainable consumer behaviour. In this article, the results of Danish policies related to consumption and environment are assessed by considering first, the environmental impacts of the political measures, and second, whether the policies have succeeded in addressing the dynamics behind increasing consumption. The study combines a theoretical understanding of consumption as an inseparable part of daily practices with empirical analyses of three fields of consumption: housing, transportation, and information and communication technology. It is pointed out that policies to promote sustainable consumption are successful only when technological development, economic structures, and information are all in accordance with each other, and this is the case only when sustainable consumption does not conflict with economic growth. A more fundamental critique thus concerns the failure of Danish consumer-oriented environmental policies to address consumption growth and the rising standards for “normal consumption.” Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Consumer Policy.

    Volume (Year): 30 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 91-116

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:30:y:2007:i:2:p:91-116
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    1. Ropke, Inge, 2003. "Consumption dynamics and technological change--exemplified by the mobile phone and related technologies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 171-188, June.
    2. John Thøgersen, 2005. "How May Consumer Policy Empower Consumers for Sustainable Lifestyles?," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 143-177, 06.
    3. Doris Fuchs & Sylvia Lorek, 2005. "Sustainable Consumption Governance: A History of Promises and Failures," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 261-288, 09.
    4. Schor, Juliet B., 2005. "Prices and quantities: Unsustainable consumption and the global economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 309-320, November.
    5. Ropke, Inge, 1999. "The dynamics of willingness to consume," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 399-420, March.
    6. Ropke, Inge, 2001. "New technology in everyday life - social processes and environmental impact," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 403-422, September.
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