Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 25–42 | Cite as

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

  • Jessica PapeEmail author
  • Henrike Rau
  • Frances Fahy
  • Anna Davies
Original Paper


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 



This paper is based on research conducted as part of ‘ConsEnSus: a cross border household analysis of consumption, environment and sustainability in Ireland’ (, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STRIVE Programme 2007-2013. The authors would like to thank the EPA and the Advisory Board of the ConsEnSus project for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Pape
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Henrike Rau
    • 3
  • Frances Fahy
    • 4
  • Anna Davies
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.School of Geography and ArchaeologyNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  3. 3.School of Political Science and SociologyNUI, GalwayGalwayIreland
  4. 4.School of Geography and ArchaeologyNational University of Ireland, GalwayGalway CityIreland
  5. 5.Department of GeographyTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland

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