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Sustainable consumption and production

As well as tackling dangerous climate change, we must also work to protect natural resources and meet the challenges of sustainable development.

Most environmental impacts and some social impacts can be attributed to products and services we produce and consume. The greatest pressures now come from the impacts of homes, household goods, food and travel. Changing lifestyles and growing consumption bring even greater demands.

Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is about reducing our environmental impacts, while maintaining or improving economic outputs and standards of living. Business and consumers  can also save money by doing more with less, and using resources such as water, energy and raw materials more efficiently.

Achieving sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient patterns of consumption and production is now one of Defra’s Departmental Strategic Objectives.

Securing the future

Securing the future - cover pageSustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is an important area for the UK. It is one of the four priority areas for UK action set out in the Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future published in March 2005. Chapter 3 One Planet Economy (PDF 400 KB) sets out our strategy for moving the SCP agenda forward. It is based around a range of activity, including through measures to promote:

  • Better products and services, which reduce the environmental impacts from the use of energy, resources, or hazardous substances
  • Cleaner, more efficient production processes, which strengthen competitiveness, and
  • Shifts in consumption towards goods and services with lower impacts.

An overview of our work on Sustainable Consumption and Production arising from the strategy is available under our actions.

Changing patterns

Securing the Future builds on 'Changing Patterns' published in September 2003. This was the first major statement from a Government on SCP since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Changing Patterns provided a framework to take forward a very broad, ambitious and challenging agenda.


Page last modified: 8 April 2009
Page published: 1 April 2003