The Amsterdam Doughnut: moving towards “strong sustainable consumption” policy?

Irene Maldini

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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Scholars in sustainable consumption increasingly highlight the limitations of “weak sustainable consumption” approaches to overcome the challenges of the current environmental crisis. While efforts to enable cleaner production and circular flows of materials are necessary and important, progress in environmental efficiency tends to deviate attention away from a more critical challenge: advancing sufficiency. In order to deliver “absolute” improvements, reducing production and consumption levels (an explicit focus on “strong sustainable consumption”) is needed. However, international and national environmental policies tend to avoid such measures. The literature points out that resistance from businesses and citizens and fear of losing geopolitical power or income from consumption taxes are major obstacles for such policies to emerge. In this context, this paper examines the case of the “Amsterdam Doughnut”, the measures aimed at reducing consumption of electronics, textiles and furniture included in the “Amsterdam Circular 2020-2025 Strategy”, and the relation to product lifetimes. Interviews with key actors involved in the integration of Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economy model into the city strategy were conducted, and official documents were reviewed. The paper discusses to what extent these efforts can be characterized as a “strong sustainable consumption” policy, and aspects that may have helped to overcome the resistance mentioned above, contributing to ongoing debate about the implementation of sufficiency principles.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Event4th PLATE 2021 Virtual Conference - Limmerick, Ireland
Duration: 26 May 202128 May 2021


Conference4th PLATE 2021 Virtual Conference


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