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MISTRA Sustainable consumption – from niche to mainstream

MISTRA Sustainable consumption – from niche to mainstream is a 4-year programme that aims to stimulate a transition to sustainable consumption in Sweden and beyond by generating in-depth knowledge on how niche sustainable consumption practices can become mainstream in the areas of food, furnishing and vacation practices. The programme will examine niche sustainable consumption practices and develop roadmaps for how they can be scaled up and mainstreamed by policy makers, businesses, civil society organizations and citizen consumers.

The vision is that by 2030 sustainable consumption practices have become mainstream in Sweden, to a significant extent catalysed by our programme through knowledge generation and practical change. This transition has by 2030 contributed to a better quality of life, and equity, within and across borders, and have made Sweden – its companies, governmental bodies, and civil society – an internationally recognized example showing that sustainable prosperity is
possible. The goals of the programme are to:

• explore, test and contribute to enabling solutions and strategies for sustainable consumption practices
• learn from, collaborate with and contribute to international research and development of sustainable consumption practices
• engage in and initiate both virtual and physical forums for dialogue and testing of solutions with societal stakeholders.

The scientific contribution of this programme will be in-depth knowledge on how and under what conditions sustainable niche practices can become more mainstream and how the transition to sustainable consumption practices can be accelerated. This programme will explore three types of strategies that have been identified in the literature as key to enabling sustainable consumption: (a) the sharing of goods and services; (b) the downsizing of goods and services by consuming less; and (c) the shifting towards more resource-efficient products and services.

The programme consists of work packages (WPs) that build upon each other: WP1: Mapping emerging sustainable consumption practices; WP2: Analysis of the potential and consequences of altered consumption practices; WP3: Citizen-Consumers and civil society; WP4: Innovative business models; WP5: Policy innovation for sustainable consumption; and WP6: Synthesis and roadmaps. The deliverables will include scientific and practitioner-oriented publications,
roadmaps, policy and practitioner briefs and co-creation workshops. Given the collaborative approach between academica and society, the results will entail real-life experiments and change projects that the partners are the conveyors of.

The programme consortium comprises (1) an interdisciplinary team of academics from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lund University, and Chalmers, in collaboration with academics from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Luleå Technical University, Karolinska Institutet, University of Gothenburg and Statistics Sweden; (2) large and small companies in the sectors of food (ICA, Oatly, Food for Progress, and Max), furnishing (IKEA, Hemtex, Svenssons i Lammhult, Retuna, Erikshjälpen Second hand) and tourism (Stena Line, Vingresor, the West Sweden Tourist Board, Visita, Centralens Resebutik); (3) public authorities at the local level (Lund, Malmö, Gothenburg), regional level (Västra Götaland,) and national level (Swedish Consumer Agency, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and National Food Agency); and (4) non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, the Swedish Tourist Association). To ensure effective communication, the media cooperative Camino, a professional communicator and National Museums of World Culture also participate.