Original Paper

Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 25-42

First online:

Developing Policies and Instruments for Sustainable Household Consumption: Irish Experiences and Futures

  • Jessica PapeAffiliated withSchool of Natural Sciences, Trinity College DublinSchool of Geography and Archaeology, National University of Ireland Email author 
  • , Henrike RauAffiliated withSchool of Political Science and Sociology, NUI, Galway
  • , Frances FahyAffiliated withSchool of Geography and Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway
  • , Anna DaviesAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, Trinity College Dublin

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In recent years, the concept of sustainable consumption (SC) has received increased attention. Overconsumption in industrialized countries still presents major challenges to achieving sustainable development goals despite the global economic crisis. This paper offers an in-depth analysis of national influences on consumption patterns in the Republic of Ireland, focusing in particular on the role of governance in the design of policy instruments for sustainable consumption. It is argued that country-specific political conditions and policy frameworks fundamentally shape everyday household consumption. After an initial discussion of the effectiveness of three key types of policy instruments—legislative, economic, communicative—the paper compares SC policy making and implementation in Ireland with examples of good practice from Europe. An agenda to progress Ireland’s sustainable consumption policy framework is proposed in the concluding part of the paper.


Sustainable consumption Governance Ireland Policy instruments