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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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The Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator (SLA) - Catalyzing change towards sustainable lifestyles of private households

Within the current debate on sustainability and climate change, the reduction of CO2 emissions of private households appears as key objective for a holistic transition of our society towards more sustainable models of production and consumption. The areas of housing, mobility, food, leisure activities and consumption of goods and services are equally important for a holistic approach towards a low-carbon society. 3 tonnes CO2 emissions per person and year, short a “3 tonnes lifestyle”, is currently discussed as important milestone for 2030, and a “1 ton lifestyle” for 2050, with the aim of reaching principal climate change objectives like a global temperature increase of less than 1.5 degrees Celsius until the end of the century. Many online calculators allow nowadays to assess e.g. personal carbon footprints and invite users to implement changes for reduction. Nevertheless, these tools generally allow only for single calculations and do not support individual scenario building for users nor real-time tracking of performance of the process of CO2 reduction. The project “The Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator (SLA) – Catalyzing Change“ aims to face these challenges through the assessment of the carbon and material footprint of families, a roadmapping tool for the creation of individualized reduction pathways and online tools with social networking functions and real-time calculation for upscaling. Until 2021 the project aims to mobilize more than 70,000 private households in seven countries (Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Mexico, India) to analyse their material and carbon footprints, and to plan and implement footprint reductions through behavioural change. First results with a small number of pilot families in the different partner countries show that a footprint reduction potential of around 20% per participating household can be expected through behavioural change after a 2 month experimentation period. To guide and support such a transition, the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator (SLA) develops an online platform for footprint calculation, individual roadmapping, tracking and sharing of experiences with the aim to create an international SLA community for sustainable lifestyles in the seven partner countries. Core of the project is the roadmapping tool which allows participants to generate their individual, quantified transition pathway as household and tracking the process of implementation. Results from 7 counties show so far that there is a huge interest of citizens for changing individually their lifestyles, but that supporting tools, information and support by public administration or other private or public stakeholders are needed. The important role of collective approaches, of sharing experiences and joining together with other households on a local level has also been mentioned by the pilot households after the first round. The SLA project aims to contribute to a holistic transition of our society towards more sustainable models of production and consumption through a bottom-up approach, empowering citizens to change their lifestyles and collectively approach the challenge of societal changes.

Torsten Masseck

Katrin Bienge
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

Michael Lettenmeier
D-Mat Ltd


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