NaKoDi – Sustainable consumption and social participation

The project will empirically investigate and practically test how to promote the participation of as many people as possible in sustainable consumption practices. And here, a central question is how particularly social participation of different population groups can be improved through sustainable consumption. The focus is on three groups that have so far not been at the centre of the sustainability discourse: Young people, migrants and low-income households. The results are meant to lead to political recommendations for the implementation of the German National Programme for Sustainable Consumption.

Research approach

The research project is characterized by an innovative combination of social science methods and informal forms of participation. ISOE’s task will be to develop the social scientific foundations for sustainable consumption and social participation and it will develop an application-oriented basic typology for different forms and modes of participation in sustainable consumption practices. These include bartering, borrowing goods, the prolonged use of products, crowdfunding or participation in initiatives and actions with the aim to exert a targeted influence on companies or politics.

The basic typology refers to a simplified social environment and lifestyle model. In addition, the needs and practical everyday requirements of young people, low-income groups and migrants are given special consideration. The typology serves to systematize and process already existing empirical findings on the dissemination of sustainable consumption practices prevailing in different population groups. Concrete examples are used to identify social conditions that make participation in sustainable consumption practices attractive or unattractive for the various groups. In addition, the required social and political framework conditions for sustainable consumption will be examined.

On the basis of a consumer panel, the everyday perception of and requirements for participation in sustainable consumption practices will be empirically examined. In particular, milieu specific and socio-structural factors are to be identified that promote or inhibit such practices. The consumer panel combines activating qualitative face-to-face survey methods with online-based methods.


In January 2017, the Federal Government published the National Programme for Sustainable Consumption (NPNK) under the auspices of BMU in cooperation with several ministries. The programme sees itself as Germany's contribution to Sustainable Development Goal No. 12 and Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. It identifies guiding principles, action approaches and areas of need for promoting sustainable consumption as well as approaches for implementation and monitoring. The first institutional structures for implementation have been created: the Competence Centre for Sustainable Consumption and the National Network for a Sustainable Consumption. The research project is intended to support this process.

Research and project partners

  • Öko-Institut e.V. – Institute for Applied Ecology (project management)


The research project “Citizen participation and social participation within the framework of implementing the National Programme for Sustainable Consumption: new impetus for civic engagement” is funded by the Federal Environment Agency (FKZ 3717 16 310 0).


Fischer, Corinna/Immanuel Stieß (2021): The Role of Consumers: Social Participation Beyond Work and the Market. In: Seidl, Irmi/Angelika Zahrnt (Hg.): Post-growth work: Employment and meaningful activities within planetary boundaries. London: Routledge, 57-71

Stieß, Immanuel/Barbara Birzle-Harder/Melina Stein (2020): Soziale Teilhabe durch nachhaltigen Konsum: Ergebnisse eines Verbraucher*innen-Panels. Zwischenbericht im Projekt "Bürgerbeteiligung und soziale Teilhabe im Rahmen der Umsetzung des Nationalen Programms für nachhaltigen Konsum: neue Impulse für das bürgerschaftliche Engagement". Unter Mitarbeit von Radojka Savic. UBA-Texte, 206. Dessau-Roßlau

Fischer, Corinna/Immanuel Stieß (2019): Alternative Konsumformen: Soziale Teilhabe jenseits von Markt und Arbeit. In: Seidl, Irmi/Angelika Zahrnt (Hg.): Tätigsein in der Postwachstumsgesellschaft. Marburg: Metropolis-Verlag, 77-94


2017/12 – 2021/03