A growing database of implementable sustainable consumption initiatives and strategies
These strategies vary in scope and size, cut across sectors and city departments, employ a variety of policy instruments, and utilize several sustainable consumption principles. These initiatives will likely support or enhance your existing sustainability goals and initiatives. Our Self Assessment Checklist will help you start choosing initiatives for your community. Discover the value of taking action on sustainable consumption and take a look at Measurement to learn about how to evaluate sustainable consumption initiatives.
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.
Addressing Consumption in Climate Action Plans
Cities’ climate action plans can legitimize sustainable consumption as part of the climate solution with goals and actions to reduce consumption-related emissions.
Alternative Economic Indicators
State and local governments are reaching beyond national spending to explore new ways of measuring the welfare of their people.
B Corps and Benefit Corporations
B Corps and Benefit Corporations are held to higher standards for accountability and transparency than traditional for-profit businesses, and aim to use business as a force for good.
Community Repair Events
Community repair events are a social and enjoyable way to shift mindsets toward repair and extend the useful life of products.
Co-ops help make urban housing more affordable, and emphasize sharing, democratic process and consensus building among their members.
Creating Walkable Mixed-Use Neighborhoods
Comfortable pedestrian access to stores, restaurants and other businesses, co-mingled with neighborhoods, reduces the need to own cars and encourages social connections.
Encouraging Development of Smaller Homes
Small and micro homes help keep housing prices affordable, require fewer materials to build and lower utilities to live comfortably, and encourage living with less “stuff.”
Encouraging and Mandating Building Deconstruction
Deconstructing buildings amplifies the marketplace for used goods, helps create new jobs, and limits new materials production.
Estimating Consumption Related Emissions
Inventorying greenhouse gas emissions according to where goods and services are consumed, rather than produced, illustrates the powerful link between consumption and climate change.
Healthy Corner Store Alternatives
Local initiatives bring easily accessible, healthful food options to corners throughout our communities.
McMansion Ordinances/Overlay Zones Limiting Square Footage
Cities nationwide are preserving historic neighborhoods and facilitating smaller residential footprints via McMansion Ordinances.
Businesses owned by a variety of stakeholder groups meet both economic and social goals for sustainable consumption through their commitment to meeting the needs of all their owners.
Preventing Wasted Food
Food waste costs billions, but can be significantly trimmed through prevention programs.
Supporting Development of Accessory Dwelling Units
ADUs provide potential income streams and space for family members via smaller-than-average footprints that require fewer materials to build and lower utilities to maintain.
Sustainable Food Purchasing
Food is a high-impact product with high-power levers to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of consumption.
Government agencies’ considerable buying power can help communities model sustainable consumption.
Tool Lending Libraries
Tool libraries offer no- or low-cost access to home and garden tools and more, reducing cost-related barriers to home improvements and encouraging community sharing.
Urban Gleaning Programs
Fresh, healthy food reaches the people who need it most and avoids becoming waste, thanks to urban gleaning.
Worker-Owned Cooperatives—The Cleveland Model
A new co-op model links green business practices, local economic development and fair treatment and compensation for worker-owners.