Sustainable consumption—including effective communication about this topic—is just emerging as a field in North America.

This communications section of the toolkit covers framing and engagement research and guidance. The Smart Shift report provides a narrative framework that can be used to shape and tailor messages for different audiences and contexts as well as strategies for generating internal alignment and engaging the public. This builds on the Sustainable Production and Consumption Framing Research Summary which summarized the state of communication research through 2016.

Smart Shift

Communicating about sustainable consumption

Cities committed to sustainability and acting on climate change are finding it increasingly important to turn their attention to the issue of consumption and the impacts that the products city residents buy have on a range of indicators, including resource and energy use, carbon emissions, and the creation of waste.

Given the pervasiveness of consumption in the culture and economy, gaining support within municipal governments to initiate consumption programs and communicating with the public about the issue is challenging. On behalf of USDN, Climate Access developed the Smart Shift report to provide municipal leaders with guidance on how to frame the issue and engage stakeholders in shifting consumption patterns.

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Sustainable Production and Consumption Framing Research Summary

Effective issue framing puts information into a context that makes it easy to absorb and interpret by employing core themes that connect the dots across issues and tapping deeply held social values. The Sustainable Production and Consumption Framing Research Summary outlines framing barriers and opportunities to consider when communicating about consumption issues.

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