Citizen Consultations on Sustainable Consumption

August 13, 2013

As part of the PACITA project existing praxis in European Parliamentary Technology Assessment will be showcased in cross European example projects. One of them is Citizen Consultations on Sustainable Consumption.

Sustainable consumption is an issue that relates to several of the Grand Challenges mentioned in the Lund Declaration – for example the challenges of global warming, resources of energy, water and food, and public health. It is an issue, which impacts policy-making to an extent, which seems not to be generally recognised.

There seems, however, to be a hesitating attitude towards the installation of efficient policy measures against unsustainable consumption. Consumption is an area where values and aims are confronted – the values and aims of a liberal and market-based consumption, and the values and aims equity and long-term sustainability. A confrontation, which rests inside most of the consumers.

The normative component of this issue, involving obvious conflicts and dilemmas, combined with a well-documented scientific knowledge base, and a clear need for political action, makes this issue suited for technology assessment with citizen consultation methodology.

The work will combine national face-to-face 100 person 1-day meetings with a web-based trans-national comparison of the national results. Citizens will receive the same information (before and during the meeting), will be subject to the same facilitated process and answer the same questions. The method delivers a trans-national overview of how citizens in the involved countries view the issue of sustainable consumption, and which messages they want themselves to send to policy-makers. The Citizen Consultations will be held in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. More countries are welcome to join, please see our call for partners.

Link to PACITA webpage