Gender Dimensions of Sustainable Consumption

Authored by: Ines Weller

Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415707749
eBook ISBN: 9781315886572
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315886572.ch22

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Abstract

Sustainable consumption and production patterns have been prominent issues from the very start of the sustainable development debate. In fact, Agenda 21, the plan of action adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro stated that ‘the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries…’ (UN 1992:31). Although the urgent need for fundamental changes in consumption and production patterns, which would transform societies and push them in the direction of sustainable development, has been recognized since that time, particularly in the Global North, there are still very few signs that any such transformation is taking place. World energy consumption grows unabated as global carbon emissions continue to rise. The fundamental inequalities between the Global North and South also remain, despite very high rates of growth in the newly industrialized and developing countries of the Global South in particular (IEA 2013). In this context, and especially in the context of sustainable patterns of consumption and production, the attitudes and behaviours of private citizens and consumers, their perceptions of environmental problems, and associated use of resources all play an important role. Hitherto, however, these debates have neglected the significance of gender, gender relations, and gender justice for sustainable consumption.

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