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Sustainable Production and Consumption

Sustainable Production and Consumption

Kartei Details

Karten 13
Sprache English
Kategorie VWL
Stufe Universität
Erstellt / Aktualisiert 19.05.2021 / 10.06.2022
Lizenzierung Keine Angabe
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Drivers for sustainable consumption and production:

  • Conssumer demand for sustainably-produced goods and services
  • the volatility of commodity prices
  • The energy intensity (and resulting cost) of certian new technologies
  • The trend for companies to consider the social and envrionmental dimensions of value chains,either for practical or reputational reasons

Examples of influences and effects realting to more sustainable consumption production.



(Lack of)government support

(Lack of) national and international targets

Uneven environmental legislation

Employment rights


Insitututionalised continous growth

Economic growth

Economic crises

Low cost producers

Reducing costs


Changing societal values

Cost as accepted selling factor

Corporate sociatal impact not yet fully recognised

Distrubution wealth

Growing population

Growing middle class 

Choice editing


Facilitating  communication and supply chain management

Continuos differentiation and innovation

Lack of sustainablity /expertise/skill /vision

Internet/social media




Issues related to resource use

Visible effects of climate change

Rebound effects

Issues forced by legislation 

Issues realted to sustainable production 


Reducing biodiversiy

Depleting resource quantities

Sustainable supply chain issues and opportunities


Growhs of niche/new markets

Increasing competion of low cost countries

To further reduce costs 

(labour, energy,waste)

Eco-efficient and effective technologies and innovations

Corporate leadership

Issues that weigh on costs

Corporate choice-editing

Leading technologies abroad not in Europe/UK

Supply (chain) risk



Distribution of wealth /equality


Quality of live

Possible moves away from environmental risk areas

Matters that enhance or protect corportate brand



What is a circular economy?

A framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design

What is a circular economy?

What is a circular economy?

Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems
  • Re-Thinking Progess explores how through a change in perspective we can re-design the way our economy works-designing products that can be made to made again and powering the system with renevwable energy. It questions whether with creativity and innovation we can build a restorative economy.

Technical and biological cycles

The model distinguishes between technical and biological cycles. Consumption happens only in biological cycles, where food and biologically-based materials (such as cotton or wood) are designed to feed back into the system through processes like composting and anaerobic digestion. These cycles regenerate living systems, such as soil, which provide renewable resources for the economy. Technical cycles recover and restore products, components, and materials through strategies like reuse, repair, remanufacture or (in the last resort) recycling.

Origins of the circular economy concept

The notion of circularity has deep historical and philosophical origins. The idea of feedback, of cycles in real-world systems, is ancient and has echoes in various schools of philosophy. It enjoyed a revival in industrialised countries after World War II when the advent of computer-based studies of non-linear systems unambiguously revealed the complex, interrelated, and therefore unpredictable nature of the world we live in – more akin to a metabolism than a machine. With current advances, digital technology has the power to support the transition to a circular economy by radically increasing virtualisation, de-materialisation, transparency, and feedback-driven intelligence.

Circular economy schools of thought

The circular economy model synthesises several major schools of thought. They include the functional service economy (performance economy) of Walter Stahel; the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy of William McDonough and Michael Braungart; biomimicry as articulated by Janine Benyus; the industrial ecology of Reid Lifset and Thomas Graedel; natural capitalism by Amory and Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken; and the blue economy systems approach described by Gunter Pauli.


Cradle to Cradle

Nutrient Matabolisms are Consumption Products (Biological Nutrients) and Service Products are Technical Nutrients

Biological Nutrients,food, shampoo, detergent

Technical Nutrients, cars, furniture, textiles 



Performance economy

It pursues four main goals: product-life extension, long-life goods, reconditioning activities, and waste prevention. It also insists on the importance of selling services rather than products, an idea referred to as the ‘functional service economy’, now more widely subsumed into the notion of ‘performance economy’. Stahel argues that the circular economy should be considered a framework: as a generic notion, the circular economy draws on several more specific approaches that gravitate around a set of basic principles.


Industrial Ecology

“Industrial ecology is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems”. Focusing on connections between operators within the ‘industrial ecosystem’, this approach aims at creating closed-loop processes in which waste serves as an input, thus eliminating the notion of an undesirable by-product. Industrial ecology adopts a systemic point of view, designing production processes in accordance with local ecological constraints whilst looking at their global impact from the outset, and attempting to shape them so they perform as close to living systems as possible. This framework is sometimes referred to as the ‘science of sustainability’, given its interdisciplinary nature, and its principles can also be applied in the services sector. With an emphasis on natural capital restoration, industrial ecology also focuses on social wellbeing.