Can there be a global tool for reducing lifestyle footprints? First reflections from setting up the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator

by Michael Lettenmeier1,2,3Katrin Bienge (presenting author)2, Claudia Garduño García4, Anja Umbach-Daniel5, Torsten Massek6, Amrit Srinivasan7, Jens Teubler2, Viivi Toivio1, Niels Heine Kristensen8, Winnie Seifert-Nketia8, Carla Nayeli Ramírez Farías4

1: D-mat ltd., Finland; 2: Wuppertal Institute, Germany; 3: Aalto University, Finland; 4: Design Your Action, Mexico; 5: Futurecamp, Switzerland; 6: Universitat Polytècnica de Catalunya, Spain; 7: Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi, India; 8: Metropolitan University, Denmark


The paper presents first reflections related to different countries’ characteristics as a precondition for carrying out the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator, a three-year project in seven countries (Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Mexico, India). The aim of the project is to set up a web platform that enables households to adopt a household-level transition methodology towards sustainable footprints including the following five stages: monitoring consumption, footprint calculation, choice of measures, building a roadmap towards 2030, and a month of experimenting. The project started in 2018 with five to ten households in each country, and is going to be expanded to 500 households per country in 2018 and 10,000 per country in 2019. With more than 70,000 participating households the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator will require a complex and versatile web-based platform in order to still ensure that the households will be able to go through the whole process from footprint calculation up to experimenting.

This paper discusses the preconditions for applying the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator’s webtool in a large number of countries. On the basis of the first round of the project, different countries’ characteristics in terms of households’ preferences and mindsets, as well as political, infrastructural and private sector’s ability to enable sustainable lifestyles were analysed and compared. The results show that there can be huge differences not only in terms of affinity and connectedness to web-based solutions but also in terms of mindset towards reducing lifestyle footprints to a sustainable level, trust in different institutions, and the ability of other stakeholders to enable sustainable lifestles. The paper concludes with a set of prerequisites to be taken into consideration when planning a web-based platform like the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator.