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Re-making consumption? Exploring the transformative potential of local initiatives for more sustainable consumption

This research project investigates the transformative potential of local initiatives for sustainable consumption.

Graffiti on wall: Recycle Reduce Reuse

Photo: Kevin Dooley, flickr CC

About the project

The project explores how municipality-led sustainability initiatives are understood and made use of by its inhabitants, seeking to understand potential social, economic and institutional barriers to the upscaling/mainstreaming of collaborative consumption. Drawing on qualitative data from both municipality and household levels, the project seeks to explain under which circumstances such innovations successfully contribute to the spreading of collaborative consumption through the provision of arenas for inclusion and social learning, and under which circumstances they do not. Moreover, it seeks to explain motivations and socio-economic characteristics of participating inhabitants, as well as potentially exclusionary mechanisms that inhibit broader participation. 

The projects empirical focus is on established initiatives for sustainable consumption located in and coordinated through the municipality of Asker, many in direct connection with Asker's waste disposal system.

Guiding research questions:

  • What is the role of and division of labour between different public and commercial actors?
  • Which parts of the population use the different initiatives, and for which purpose?
  • How are social, economic and environmental considerations traded off or aligned in practice (both by stakeholders and consumers)?
  • What are the barriers to and possibilities for upscaling/mainstreaming local initiatives for sustainable consumption?


The project is part of the research center Include and is led by Ulrikke Wethal at Center for Development and the Environment. The other researchers involved are Sindre Johan Cottis Hoff (research assistant), Arve Hansen and Hege Westskog.

Affiliated user partners are Asker municipality, Oslo municipality, Future in Our Hands (FIVH) and Spire.  



Published Jan. 13, 2021 12:24 PM - Last modified Jan. 13, 2021 12:24 PM