Economic history is a partner in a new project "The generational goal – changes of consumption patterns and their environmental impacts" funded by Pufendorf Institute at Lund University. The project team comprises 10 researchers from 6 faculties of Lund University, as well as from Stockholm and Umeå Universities.
The purpose of the research program is to study the generational goal adopted by the Swedish parliament in June 2010 and supported by several parliamentary parties. According to the generational goal, “the overall goal of Swedish environmental policy is to hand over to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems in Sweden have been solved, without increasing environmental and health problems outside Sweden’s borders”. Environmental policy, therefore, should aim at ensuring that “patterns of consumption of goods and services cause the least possible problems for the environment and human health”. With the proposed research program we aim to investigate how the goal can be interpreted and translated into action pathways.
The research team will study historical and current changes of consumption patterns and their global environmental effects. This will provide an opportunity to deal with some of the vital questions for humankind. The research program will result in new knowledge that would serve as an input to Swedish climate politics. Even though consumption patterns and their global impacts are being studied in several disciplines, the broad and collaborative approach on changes in consumption patterns and their global effects is a unique feature of this program. In addition to generating knowledge relevant for policy making, the research team aims to reach out to the public through media and debate book(s).