Future Earth KAN-SSCP discuss sustainable consumption at World Social Science Forum 2018
Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (KAN-SSCP) will organize the following sessions at the WSSF 2018, which will take place in Fukuoka, Japan on 25-28 September 2018.
While ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns has been cemented as one of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, successfully achieving this objective faces a number of fundamental challenges, not the least of which is reaching consensus on the degree of rigorousness that greater sustainability for provisioning systems and lifestyles will be pursued. The debate on “weak sustainable consumption” (emphasizing improvements in eco-efficiency under conditions of continued economic growth) versus “strong sustainable consumption” (emphasizing sufficiency where well-being is achieved through less-consumptive practices without insistence on growth) robustly captures this contention. While both approaches strive to enhance sustainability, proponents of the weak variant tend to recommend practical interventions such as ecolabels or the greening of supply chains. By contrast, advocates of strong sustainable consumption endorse more vigorous actions such as changing economic incentives, repurposing the financial system, or even “degrowing” the entire economy. Are these two approaches irreconcilable or are there ways to somehow bridge them? Is the weak versus strong distinction a false dichotomy in the first place? Are these two distinctive, mutually exclusive pathways or will the transition to sustainability entail a combination of both? Members of the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network (KAN) on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) will sponsor this session and invite scholars and practitioners to share their views and to discuss both theoretical perspectives and real-world examples where synergy between weak and strong strategies have in some ways been achieved. The session will also consider how we might move beyond the currently binary framework.
Japan’s population is experiencing severe contraction the likes of which the world has rarely seen. Accompanying this demographic shift has been what many regard as the slow stagnation of the Japanese economy with little or no evidence of growth. Commonly regarded as indicating the demise of quality of life and economic vibrancy, many are now seeing Japan as a simply the vanguard of a socio-economic progression moving toward a post-consumerist society. From an environmental sustainability standpoint, small population size, lifestyles with modest ecological footprints, and reduced economic throughput in society overall is a most welcomed shift. This session begins to reveal some of the markers along the road as Japan moves away from consumerism as the dominant socio-economic force shaping society, as well as signs pointing out a new course. How far has Japan travelled in the direction of a post-consumerist society and is it accurate to say that the post-growth period has indeed arrived? Within these contexts, there is evidence of new social innovation, rethinking traditional notions of labor, income, well-being, sufficiency, and happiness as Japanese re-habituate to the demographic and economic realities of the day. What are these stories and examples, and what lessons can be derived for the rest of the world as it braces for a similar inclination over the long-term?
DATEFebruary 26, 2019
AUTHORFutureEarth Staff Member
SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORK