Programme on Sustainable Consumption
Work Plan for the new Millennium
BackgroundAs a consumer protection organisation, CUTS is closely involved with promotion of sustainable patterns of consumption and production. Under sustainable consumption, CUTS would like to focus its work on Chapter 4 of the Agenda 21 and the various principles of the Rio Declaration.

Action Plan

I Policy Framework on Sustainable Consumption

Here the endeavour will be not only to understand and disseminate the concept of sustainable consumption but also its inter-linkages with other related areas such as production patterns, underconsumption, poverty, demography etc. The work will be divided into two parts, i.e. first, developing the policy statement on sustainable consumption and then lobbying with government and non-government organisations to get it implemented in the country. This experience would be shared with consumer and environment groups in India and in other countries.

IA UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection Including the New Elements on 
Sustainable Consumption

Target Group
  1. A) Expansion of the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection into other related areas, such as under-consumption, safe drinking water etc.

B) Evaluating implementation of the Guidelines 
  • Lobby along with CI
  • CUTS is preparing a detailed report which evaluates implementation of the Guidelines (State of the Indian Consumer)
  • Organising conferences to incorporate feedback, ideas of other organisations (Ongoing)
  • Identifying consumer organisations as regular partners for developing a network (using the existing Ecofrig network)
Consumer and environment groups, media, government officials, manufacturers, academia
  1. Developing a National Consumer Policy Statement for India
  • CUTS has prepared a draft Policy Statement
  • Sharing this draft with the network partners and incorporating their suggestions
Consumer and environment groups, media, government officials, manufacturers, academia

IB Policy Advocacy on the Guidelines

Target Group
  1. Lobbying with the government to adopt and implement this policy in India
  • Sharing the draft with officials of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs
  • Lobbying
  • Together with the network and with Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC)
  • Publishing articles in newspapers
  • Ministry of Consumer Affairs
  • Ministry of Environment & Forests
  • Media
  1. Analysis of the implementation in India
  • A regular review of the implementation status
  • Sharing the concern with network partners
  1. Using the above analysis to develop similar Policy Statements for other countries.
  • Identification of countries and Consumer organisations with whom to work on this agenda
  • Use the above analysis to develop similar analyses and policy statements for these.
  • Developing and sharing a toolkit proposal for implementing the Guidelines in other countries (Ongoing)
  • Consumer Organisations in developing countries and economies in transition
  • VROM*

*Note: Dutch Ministry of Environment (VROM) has expressed interest in 3 above with certain qualifications. 
IC Sustainable-India Study and Lobbying

Target Group
  1. Prepare sustainability reports for Indian states


  • Begin with Sustainable Rajasthan
  • Develop proposal and fundraise in collaboration with Friends of Earth, Netherlands and experts/research organisations in India
  • Rajasthan government
  • State Pollution Control Board
  • State Planning Commission
  • Other relevant ministries
  • Probable research partners (NCAER, IGIDR, SID, CARS etc)
  • Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Norway, IGIDR
  1. Prepare Sustainable India report and policy statement
  • Build a Sustainable India network
  • Replicate Sustainable Rajasthan work
  • Prepare Sustainable India report and Policy statement and present at Rio +10
  • Consumer and Environmental NGOs
  • Research partners (NCAER, IGIDR, SID, CARS etc)
  1. (A) Lobby for adoption with the state government and government of India

(B) Interact with the governments of other countries 
  • Involve Sustainable India network
  • Share draft policy statement with partners
  • Ministry of Environment and Forests
  • National Planning Commission
  • Other relevant Ministries
  • National governments
  • Intergovernmental organisations

ID Consumption Study of South Asia

Target Group
  1. A study of class based consumption patterns and their sustainability


  • Meetings to discuss benchmarks/parameters and scope
  • Research including data collection and statistical analysis
  • Policy pointers
  • A sample of the upper, middle and the lower class of South Asian countries
  1. Policy debate on appropriateness/portability of Northern sustainable consumption policies/concepts in the Southern context
  • Multi-stakeholder meetings
  • All stakeholders

Note: UNEP/TIE is interested to work on this project with CUTS. A concept paper was sent to UNEP/TIE, which is under consideration under their Year 2000 work programme. It can be noted that lobbying activities are not discussed for this project, as this will be decided on the basis of outputs and in consultation with UNEP/TIE 
II Environment-Friendly Technologies & Practices

Target Group
  1. Identification of good and bad practices of business
  • Documentation of the Good and Bad Practices and Models that exist on waste disposal, recycling etc.
  • Critically reviewing contents/development/implementation various codes of conduct of industry/business
  • Consumer and environment groups, especially those working on sustainable consumption issues
  • UN Commission on Sustainable Development and other intergovernmental bodies
  • DFID, Norway
  1. Information dissemination and campaign to promote good practices, general promotion of 4Rs (reduce, refuse, reuse and recycle)
  • Acting as a clearing-house for information on good and bad practices
  • Outreach through printed and audio-visual media to disseminate information and train volunteers/ representatives of network partners
  • Consumer and environment groups, media, manufacturers, government officials
  1. Promoting `good’ advertising and condemning `bad’ advertising
  • Identifying and documenting good advertising practices that promote sustainable consumption
  • Identifying and documenting bad (misleading/dud) advertising which promotes overconsumption/unsustainable consumption or misleads the consumer in other ways
  • Organising campaigns as a follow up to the above activities and linking this campaign to the work programme on ecolabelling
  • Advertising firms
  • Manufacturers
  • Ministries of Environment/Food and Consumer Affairs
  1. ‘Leapfrogging’ from old technologies to environmentally sustainable technologies
  • Selection of areas such as four stroke engines, retrofitting in refrigerators, automobile engines etc., which offer opportunities to switchover to environment friendly options
  • Manufacturers
  • GEF
  • SDC
  1. Campaigns to be developed in these selected areas, as per the ongoing campaign on Ecofrig
  • For example Ecofrig Action Plan
  • Identified as per the Action Plan

III Ecolabelling: Ecomark

Target Group
  1. Analysis of the existing standards that have been developed and the existing range of products.
  • A review of the BIS standards and the Ecomark standards, output being used as a Fact Sheet
  • A review on the existing status of the Ecomark scheme
  • A survey on the awareness levels as well as attitudes among manufacturers and consumers (Completed)
  • The output of the above being presented as a Discussion Paper
  • Bureau of Indian Standards
  • Central Pollution Control Board
  • Steering Committee and Technical Committee on Ecomark
  1. Comparative analysis among ecolabelling criteria in other countries
  • Internet surfing on ecolabelling sites
  • Correspondence with NGOs/governments for obtaining ecolabelling criteria (Ongoing)
  • Output in the form of a briefing paper
  1. Targeting of few selected products for promoting Ecomark
  • Organising campaigns to educate consumers/industry on Ecomark (conferences)
  • Lobbying with manufacturers to go for these criteria by siting advantages of doing so
  • Training and awareness generation of manufacturers (big and small) on ways and means to produce eco-friendly products
  • Lobbying with Madhya Bharat Paper Limited for using the Ecomark on their products
  • Network partners
  • Media
  • Manufacturers of the selected products (lead-acid batteries, fly-ash bricks etc)
  • Ministry of Environment & Forests
  1. Challenging false environmental claims by manufacturers (Link with work under `advertising’ above)
  • Compiling all the relevant information of such cases
  • Approaching MRTP commission/State Commission
  • Manufacturers
  • Media
  • Network partners
  • MRTP Commission
  • State Commission
  1. Influencing government procurement
  • Representations to the government officials, using print media etc. to stress on importance of procuring only ecolabelled products
  • Director General of Supplies and Disposals, DRDO etc.

IV Energy Availability & Efficiency

Target Group
  1. Identification of alternatives for energy production and transmission
  • Undertaking research to document and analyse various alternatives that are available including renewable energy areas
  1. Information dissemination
  • Awareness campaign, reader friendly manuals etc.
  • Government officials, media, civil society
  • Joyce – Mertz Gilmore Foundation
  1. Advocating with the government for an environment friendly energy policy
  • Using the window available in the draft regulations of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission
  • Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, State Electricity Boards