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Improving Nordic policymaking by dispelling myths on sustainable consumption

image of Improving Nordic policymaking by dispelling myths on sustainable consumption

As Nordic countries have an ambition to be sustainability leaders, enabling sustainable consumption and lifestyles with efficient policies is an important part of reaching this goal. Research demonstrates that evidence from behavioural and social science is not routinely incorporated into policy design. Consequently, some persistent misconceptions – myths – about consumer behaviour have perpetuated in the mainstream discourse, especially in policy circles. The goal of this study is to dispel myths that thwart sustainability by bringing forward existing evidence on consumer behaviour to aid the development of efficient policies in Nordic countries. A meta-analysis of the existing international research on consumer behaviour from psychology, sociology, behavioural economics, policy and anthropology was conducted. The results demonstrate that it is unrealistic to expect a sustainable society to materialise from current political strate gies. The changes needed are significant, and this study shows that policy makers need to create the ”politics of possibility”towards sustainability by using the plethora of existing and innovative strategies and tools synergistically.

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Brokering knowledge between science and policymaking

One potentially useful tool to help decision makers to promote policies for sustainable consumption is knowledge transfer – the transfer and sharing of knowledge from where it is abundant to where it is needed. In order to identify the main barriers to knowledge use in a Nordic context and to find the best means to make knowledge more accessible, Nordic policy makers were interviewed. The findings are presented below.

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