Lifestyles for Environment: Institutions, Policies and Social Movements

Day: 22th February, 2023 | Wednesday
4:15 pm – 5:15 pm IST | Click here for time in your location
Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi


Ever since the adoption of Agenda 21, there has been a focus on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption at the global level. In 2015, out of the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs), responsible consumption and production became the twelfth SDG. India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, introduced the concept of Lifestyles for Environment (LiFE), during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021. Envisaged as a global movement of Pro Planet People, the idea of LiFE promotes environmentally conscious lifestyles that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilisation’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption’.

Lifecycle Approaches

Lifecycle approaches are needed to consider the consumption of goods and services along with extraction of resources, production and disposal. Since demand, including lifestyle choices, drives supply, it is imperative that we focus on the downstream segment of value chains. Mainstream frameworks on sustainable consumption and production focus more on upstream and midstream components such as resource efficiency and circular economy in industrial processes. However, it is important to focus on downstream components (such as consumer attitudes and disposal) and linkages with other segments of resource value chains.

Policy Instruments

There are various channels through which consumer choices can be influenced: policies and market signals are the primary ones; apart from there, other channels could be the surrounding environment, work culture, urban amenities, and marketing campaigns. An important aspect in influencing consumer choices is the advertisement industry which has not come under sufficient policy scrutiny in terms of its impact on consumer attitudes. To adopt sustainable lifestyles holistically, there is also a need to look at traditional practices of indigenous communities and gendered perspectives while influencing consumer behaviour.

Three categories of non-mutually exclusive instruments, namely policy instruments, market instruments and social instruments are key to nudging lifestyles and sustainable consumption. An important policy instrument towards which India has taken a step is the ‘right to repair’, which advocates for reusing, refurbishing, and repairing products, benefiting not just in terms of sustainability, but also lead to cost savings and job creation. Policy instruments may be vital to nudge market instruments, such as pricing and procurement. Similarly, mass movements driven by social instruments may be vital to bring about changes in policy and advertising norms.

Adaptation and Lifestyles

A key gap area which requires attention of policymakers and researchers is the interlinkages between lifestyles and climate change adaptation, especially on how to make lifestyle change a climate change adaptation strategy. Citizens, communities, and institutions need to adopt practices which not only pertain to sustainable lifestyles but also contribute to adaptation to the impacts of climate change. From a Global South perspective, when discussing lifestyles, climate change adaptation and mitigation both need to be considered. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) can perhaps be given a mandate to produce technical reports on adaptation and mitigation lifestyles.

Internationalizing Lifestyles for Environment

A critical mass is needed for norms and institutions to change. There is need for a global campaign that can be supported by all relevant actors, at country and global levels, that will help promote understanding on sustainable lifestyles. Through G20, India can take a leadership role in internationalizing lifestyle for environment. India can work towards the launch a ‘G20 Coalition on Lifestyle for the Environment’ and a ‘G20 Roadmap/Coalition on Responsible Advertisement’. Some possible hooks for internationalizing lifestyle for environment are provided in the table below.

Possible Hooks for Internationalizing Lifestyle for Environment - LiFE
G20 Forum Global Indicator Framework for SDGs UNFCCC UNGA
LiFE as a major cross-cutting theme
G20 Coalition on LiFE
G20 Roadmap/ Coalition on Responsible Advertisement
Include downstream indicators for SDG 12, including eco-labels and instruments such as spending on public awareness Include mandate on sustainable lifestyles Secretary General Report on lifestyles, with UN agencies such as 10YFP/ One Planet Network and UNEP

Key Questions (speakers are requested to address all/ at least two questions)

[1] The five pillars of the Green Development Pact, under India’s G20 Presidency, are envisaged to include: Lifestyle of Environment (LiFE), Circular Economy, Climate Finance, Accelerating Progress on SDGs, and Energy Transitions & Energy Security. What are your proposals related to LiFE for the G20 Leadership and for the proposed Green Development Pact?
[2] How can LiFE be internationalized/ globalized/ multilateralized? [3] How can aspects of traditional knowledge, climate adaptation and gender be better factored in sustainable consumption and lifestyles policies and practices?
[4] What are the various policy instruments for achieving sustainable lifestyles? How can right-based approaches (such as ‘right to repair’) be deployed to promote sustainable consumption and lifestyles?
[5] What role can policy makers play in nudging the advertising and marketing sector to promote responsible and sustainable lifestyles and consumer choices?


The session will involve a chaired/ moderated discussion, which will start with brief remarks by the chair/ moderator followed by brief addresses/ statements (~5 minutes) by the speakers. After the addresses, depending on the remaining time, the chair will pose 1–2 questions to the esteemed speakers based on issues emerging from the addresses. The chair/ moderator will then sum up the discussions. The total length of the panel discussion is 60 minutes. The addresses should be in the form of verbal interventions only. The WSDS Secretariat requests speakers to not use power point presentations. Strict time management is to be followed, for which there will be a timer/ buzzer.


WSDS Secretariat

Centre for Sustainable
Development Research and Leadership,
The Energy & Resources Institute
6C, Darbari Seth Block, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
New Delhi - 110 003 India

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