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Shifting the balance: equity and sustainable consumption

On our finite planet, the dictates of ecology and technology limit growth. Yet a key element of this issue – consumption – has until recently hardly figured on policy agendas. Now there is growing recognition that transformation towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy means tackling consumption as well as production. Governments and businesses are beginning to make concerted, if uncoordinated, efforts to reduce energy and resource use. Rethinking consumption could, however, drive an even bigger wedge between rich and poor. Any new agenda for consumption needs to factor in equity as well as environmental benefit.

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