On June 1st, we attended an inspiring seminar on the subject “Attractive Sustainable Lifestyles”. We received a warm welcome at the Swedish Government offices and enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with interesting people dedicated to this topic. This high-level event included participants from over 20 countries representing Asia, Africa, South America, North America and Europe, along with representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), NGOs, academia, government and business. The wide range of participants constitutes a true testament to the importance of this subject.
The morning was tightly scheduled with 8 short sessions, ranging from the perspective of the Swedish governmental strategy for sustainable consumption, presented by Per Bolund (Swedish Minister of Financial Markets and Consumers), global frameworks for mainstreaming sustainable lifestyles (UNEP), youth and entrepreneurial perspectives (ungdomar.se, Sellpy, Naturskyddsföreningen’s initiative “Schysst sommar och vinter”), to IKEA’s sustainable lifestyles principles. The event’s moderator, Johan Kuylenstierna (Executive Director, SEI) did an excellent job to make the morning entertaining, insightful, and on track!
We especially wish to highlight one item on the agenda, the youth panel discussion. It was inspiring and motivating to listen to success stories of young entrepreneurs and passionate youngsters who are dedicating their life to figure out and reach out to the concerned and not (yet) concerned youth. Certainly sustainable strategies and goals, such as the SDGs, only make sense if they are also understood by the next generation, the people who are tomorrow’s decision makers. It became quite clear from all of the three presenters, that even more so, it is important to nudge youth into a sustainable mindset. Moreover, the youth of course has fantastic ideas and insights themselves on potential solutions. One survey, pointed out by Kim Jakobsson from ungdomar.se, points to the facts that the majority of youth is quite interested in finding sustainable solutions for their consumption patterns, however they are confused in how to do so in every day life. Hence, they need the right tools for this. IKEA’s Sustainability Director Lena Pripp-Kovac also ended on the note that it is especially important to co-create these tools for a sustainable life style with the youth, and that in order to reach this state: “We need to make it easy for the many, and difficult for the few; right now it is difficult for everyone to have a sustainable lifestyle”.
What we try to contribute with at Misum is to use our research for making tools like these more visible. It is fantastic to see that our research is urgently needed by society. From that we take our extra bit of inspiration and motivation to do a good job for a sustainable present and future.
With high hopes for change,
Written by: Clara My Lernborg and Tina Sendlhofer, PhD Students at Misum