The Politics of Sustainable Consumption: the Case of the Netherlands

S.G. Martens, G. Spaargaren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The environmental pressure associated with contemporary modes of material provisioning in advanced countries suggests the need to foster more sustainable consumption. Despite growing interest in sustainability, the Netherlands currently has few effective and legitimate measures in place that focus on the role of citizen-consumers. Existing policy styles and instruments have not reduced significantly the environmental impacts of consumption. An explanation for this inadequacy resides in the technocratic origins of environmental policymaking and the pronounced tendency to rely on the presumed rationality of producers situated on the supply side of production-consumption chains. A central issue, therefore, becomes the organization of an overt politics of sustainable consumption. We explore here possible alternatives to facilitate sustainable consumption in the Netherlands and review the policy initiatives that non-governmental organizations and the Dutch government have to date undertaken. The analysis evaluates these efforts through a theoretical framework designed to chart the development of a democratic vision of sustainable consumption
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Earthscan Reader on Sustainable Consumption
EditorsT. Jackson
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9781844071647
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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