Private consumption is of very high relevance for sustainable development. 39% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by food, clothing, communication and leisure. Through their demand behavior, households exercise an important influence on the manner, number and variety of products manufactured, sold and used and their environmental impact. At the same time, the major proportion of the environmental impact is attributable to private consumption.
This category includes a wide range of strategic directions and measures that help to reduce the environmental impact of production and consumption. Both producers (especially industry and commerce) and households and consumers are addressed.
Product design/recycling economy:
This includes products and services that require less energy and fewer resources over their entire service life as well as recycling economy approaches in which materials are kept in closed cycles as "nutrients". Examples for this are the environmentally sound development of products over the entire life cycle, sustainable products/services in all areas of consumption (food, leisure, appliances, consumer goods, etc.) and innovations in production and consumption. It also includes services that help reduce the consumption of consumer goods, such as "use instead of own approaches" (e.g. home swapping, tool rental, etc.).
This includes process optimizations that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industrial production. Examples include new process technologies, the optimal use of measurement technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, or analysis tools that help to analyze the CO2 savings potential.
Information and knowledge transfer:
This plays an important role on the consumer side, as often it is only the actions of consumers that leads to the desired changes. Examples include orientation aids for consumers (labels, consumption guides, tools for calculating the environmental impact) or measures to raise awareness or promote education, e.g. in schools.
Efficient and renewable energy supply:
the energy supply plays a key role along the entire production and consumption chain. This includes the production, storage, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy, where technical as well as organizational solutions are of interest, e.g.:
- Energy production: Innovative forms of renewable energy production that go beyond the current state of technology and are not already the market standard, such as standard photovoltaic installations or mini hydroelectric power plants.
- Energy storage and transmission: Solutions for Smart Grids and Smart Metering, system integration of renewable energies, energy-saving systems and efficient energy storage systems.
- Energy consumption: information tools for consumers.