Sufficency and Politics

Sufficiency is one of the three pillars of sustainable development. In this project, we ask ourselves where measures are most necessary and effective, how they could be designed and what the chances of political implementation are.



The fact that we - as a global community - are facing massive challenges, especially with regard to the rapidly advancing climate change, but also in other areas such as the increasing consumption of resources or the decreasing biodiversity, is scientifically undisputed and is generally also widely accepted in politics. Thus, the international community is repeatedly considering how global warming could be stopped or at least slowed down. Within this framework, Switzerland, for example, has also committed itself to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The promotion of a sufficiency lifestyle is central to overall sustainable development. However, measures with a "renunciation character", which aim to change behavior or even involve additional costs, have a difficult time and are highly unpopular with politicians, not least for electoral reasons. In order to make progress in this area, the following questions arise: In which areas would sufficiency measures be particularly necessary and effective? How should they be designed and what are the chances of their political implementation?

Course of action

In order to answer these questions, a three-stage research procedure with four modules and a mix of methods is planned. Firstly, experts will be consulted to identify where the most urgent need for sufficiency measures implemented by society as a whole exists from an ecological point of view and in terms of effectiveness, and how these should be designed. This qualitatively elaborated catalogue of measures is then examined in a comprehensive analysis with regard to the political chances of realisation. In addition to central political actors such as the political parties or interest groups, the citizens themselves are also included in the project. For the comprehensive quantitative analysis of the political support for the proposed sufficiency measures, a series of online surveys is planned. In this way, the project aims to create the basis for transforming a pure discourse of sufficiency into a more productive and constructive form and to provide a differentiated assessment of which measures would actually be accepted and supported by citizens so that they can be incorporated into the political processes.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 12: Responsible consumption and production