Abstract: This paper aims to link two debates and literatures at the cutting edge of sustainable development research and governance: sustainable consumption and degrowth. Interestingly, these literatures have only recently started to exchange and integrate insights, despite their similar interest in the fundamental systemic challenges to sustainable development. The paper argues that this lack of connection is due to a predominance of perspectives in sustainable consumption governance that focus almost exclusively on questions of efficiency gains. This “weak sustainable consumption” governance, however, is not able to address the challenges to sustainable development arising from overconsumption in general or the rebound effect and distributive issues in particular. In contrast, a “strong sustainable consumption” perspective provides a basis for a promising inquiry into the linkages between consumption and sustainable development as well as a fruitful exchange with degrowth. Specifically, it allows the delineation of relevant insights on the role of values in governance, obstacles to political reform, and promising political strategies for the degrowth debate and literature.
Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 38, January 2013, Pages 36–43, Degrowth: From Theory to Practice