Oeko-Institute’s Working Paper 2/2013

When less is more - Sufficiency: Terminology, rationale and potentials

In this paper, we define sufficiency, based on a literature review and discussion, as “modification of consumption patterns that help to respect the Earth‘s ecological limits, while aspects of consumer benefit change.” These changes in benefit might be perceived as having to forego certain things, but need not necessarily be so. We argue that sufficiency has to play an important role in the repertoire of sustainability strategies: It is more than just a “last resort” when efficiency and consistency strategies fail. In many cases, it can be the cheaper, less conflict-laden, even the more elegant solution.