SuCo2 - Sustainable Consumption & Sustainability Communication

About the lab

SuCo2 is an interdisciplinary research group at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) with team members from Arizona State University (USA) and Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany). We want to better understand the role that consumption plays in satisfying human needs, and how it impacts on individual, collective and planetary wellbeing. We explore new ways in communication and education to encourage and enable human beings to take up more sustainable lifestyles. Our research is driven by the broader motivation to advance more responsible ways of living in contemporary society.

Featured projects (1)

The ReZeitKon project pursues three main objectives: (1) to analyze and quantify the significance of indirect time-rebound effects on the sustainability of consumption; (2) to develop measures in a participatory approach to counteract time-rebound effects; (3) to implement and evaluate these measures in three intervention fields: workplace, school, and private life.

Featured research (16)

Plastic marine debris (PMD) polluting marine habitats is a pressing anthropogenic global environmental problem and its reduction requires the commitment of government and industry, and the collaboration of the public. Environmental citizen science projects (CSPs) have flourished and are widely regarded as having positive effects on participants’ knowledge, perception and behavior. This study examines how participation in a CSP on PMD, which included a scientific sampling of PMD on local beaches, affected Chilean schoolchildren’s (9–18 years) problem perception and personal involvement, including self-reported behavior. A pretest-posttest design was used, with an experimental group (CSP participants, n = 494) and a control group (n = 318). Educational and behavioral effects of the intervention were assessed using items based on the norm activation model. Both groups showed high initial problem perception and involvement regarding PMD. A mixed model multivariate analysis of variance revealed that engagement in the CSP did not result in significant changes of almost all dependent variables, except for a small positive effect on ascription of harm. Age substantially affected the outcomes and was included as a covariate. The findings suggest that pro-environmental behavior change cannot be expected from participation in environmental CSPs alone; it requires the incorporation of auxiliary educational activities in the project design specifically conceptualized for targeting this learning objective.
Time is an essential dimension of sustainability and its premise of intra- and intergenerational justice. Moreover, prevailing sociocultural practices of time use are drivers of unsustainability. Educational institutions convey social norms on time and are thus places where time is "learned." It is therefore of relevance for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to understand how exactly time is addressed in education. This study from Germany introduces the concept of time as a resource for sustainability before presenting an analysis of how time in this sense is addressed in 2,149 German curricula, covering all grades and school forms. Our study shows that, overall, an engagement with time as a resource for sustainability is rare in formal education. Time is mostly addressed in ethical reflections on lifetime or in teaching time management skills. We discuss implications of our findings and sketch avenues for future research on time as a resource for sustainability.
We all have the same amount of time each day. But how we experience and organise this time varies greatly from person to person. Sometimes an afternoon flies by, other times we are plagued by boredom. We try to save time, waste it, enjoy it or lose it. Our subjective perception of time and how we organise our personal time affects our well-being. But how we organise our time can be more or less sustainable. It influences the possibilities of other people and future generations to organise their lives so that they can lead a good life. Time and how we use it are thus important dimensions for sustainability. Since the ancient Greeks, philosophy has been concerned with time as a basic experiential element of human existence. In physics, time is an objectively measurable quantity. In this toolkit, we will not pursue such theoretical perspectives on time. Instead, we propose a series of learning activities that will bring participants‘ personal experience of time and the way they spend time to the fore. The experiences of the participants will form the basis for individual and collective reflections on time, sustainability and related needs, both personal and shared. Age relevance Our publication is aimed at people from school and non-school educational contexts who would like to learn more about time’s relationship to sustainability. The activities presented in this Toolkit have been developed and tested as part of the project Time Rebound, Time Wealth and Sustainable Consumption (ReZeitKon) together with students from age 13 and up, university students and professionals. But the activities in this Toolkit can be applied in many other areas, such as youth work, political or trade union education as well as adult education. Structure of this toolkit This Toolkit is structured as follows. First, we offer a brief introduction to the interrelationships between time shaping, sustainability and consumption. This is followed by ten practical activities about how we perceive and experience time, introducing the topic in a low-threshold way. We then present two more comprehensive workshops. A self-experiment aimed at changing time shaping in an individual’s own life and a design thinking workshop to initiate change in institutional structures of time organisation. Finally, we offer ways to continue exploring the ideas and suggestions provided by this Toolkit in Additional Materials.
Alle Menschen verfügen über dieselbe Menge an täglicher Lebenszeit. Wie wir diese Zeit aber erleben und gestalten, ist individuell sehr unterschiedlich. Manchmal vergeht ein Nachmittag wie im Flug, ein anderes Mal plagt uns die Langeweile. Wir versuchen, Zeit zu sparen, verschwenden, genießen oder verlieren sie. Unser subjektives Zeitempfinden und die Art und Weise, wie wir unsere persönliche Lebenszeit gestalten, hängt mit unserem Wohlbefinden zusammen. Unsere Zeitgestaltung kann außerdem mehr oder weniger nachhaltig sein: sie beeinflusst die Möglichkeiten anderer Menschen und die zukünftiger Generationen, ihre Lebenszeit so zu gestalten, dass sie ein gutes Leben führen können. Zeit und Zeitgestaltung sind somit wichtige Dimensionen im Kontext der Nachhaltigkeit. Die Auseinandersetzung mit Zeit kann auf vielfältige Weise geschehen. Seit der Antike beschäftigt sich die Philosophie mit Zeit als Grunderfahrung der menschlichen Existenz. Zeit ist in der Physik eine objektiv messbare Größe. In diesem Toolkit verfolgen wir nicht diese theoretisch-philosophische Auseinandersetzung mit Zeit. Stattdessen schlagen wir eine Serie von Lernaktivitäten vor, die dazu geeignet sind, das persönliche Zeiterleben und die Zeitgestaltung von Lernenden in den Vordergrund zu rücken. Dabei bilden die Erfahrungen der Teilnehmenden die Grundlage für individuelle und gemeinsame Reflexionen zu Zeit, Nachhaltigkeit und damit verbundenen eigenen sowie geteilten Bedürfnissen. Unsere Publikation richtet sich an Menschen aus schulischen und außerschulischen Bildungskontexten, die innerhalb ihrer Lerngruppen eine Auseinandersetzung mit Zeit und Nachhaltigkeit anregen möchten. Die im Folgenden vorgestellten Aktivitäten sind im Rahmen des Projekts Zeit-Rebound, Zeitwohlstand und Nachhaltiger Konsum (ReZeitKon) gemeinsam mit Schülerinnen und Schülern ab Klasse 9, Studentinnen und Studenten sowie Berufstätigen entwickelt und erprobt worden. Neben der schulischen Bildung sind die Aktivitäten dieses Toolkits daher in vielen Bereichen anwendbar, etwa in der Jugendarbeit, der politischen oder gewerkschaftlichen Bildung sowie der Erwachsenenbildung. Das Toolkit ist folgendermaßen aufgebaut: Zunächst bieten wir einen kompakten Einstieg in den Zusammenhang von Zeitgestaltung, Nachhaltigkeit und Konsum. Danach folgen zehn praktische Aktivitäten rund um das Wahrnehmen und Erleben von Zeit, die auf niedrigschwellige Weise in die Thematik einführen. Anschließend stellen wir zwei umfassendere Ansätze vor: Das Selbstexperiment zur Veränderung der Zeitgestaltung im eigenen Leben (Kapitel 5.1) sowie Design Thinking Workshops als methodische Anregung zur Veränderung von Strukturen der Zeitgestaltung in institutionellen Zusammenhängen (Kapitel 5.2). Im Anhang finden sich schließlich weiterführende Hinweise, mittels derer die Ideen und Vorschläge dieses Toolkits vertieft werden können.
Over the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has received increasing attention in academia and various fields of practice. More recently, it has also been introduced into environmental and sustainability education (ESE) settings. This study offers a first exploratory investigation of learner experiences with consumption-specific mindfulness training. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 training participants. Data analysis was undertaken applying a pluralistic qualitative methods approach. Our results draw an ambivalent picture. On the one hand, we found that mindfulness training can connect individuals with inner states and processes that are also relevant to their consumer behavior, thus providing valuable impulses for ESE. On the other hand, however, these generic learning outcomes do not easily translate to consumptive acts. One explanation for this is that mindfulness practice can sometimes serve as a self-confirmation process that reinforces prevailing values, expectations, and intentions. This indicates important challenges mindfulness practice poses in ESE.

Lab head

Daniel Fischer
  • Department of Communication, Technology and Philosophy
About Daniel Fischer
  • In my research I explore how more sustainable ways of living and consuming can be facilitated through communication and learning in ways that increase reflexivity in learners and – in an educational tradition – help them reshape their relations to the consumer societies that they have been born, encultured, and socialized into in the industrialized world.

Members (6)

Anna Sundermann
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Pascal Frank
  • Umweltbundesamt, Germany
Hanna Selm
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Claire Grauer
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Karoline Poeggel
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Jordan King
  • Arizona State University

Alumni (4)

Robin Marwege
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Frederike Reinermann
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Sonja Fücker
  • Leibniz Universität Hannover
Julia Silver
  • Arizona State University