Effects and success factors of sustainable consumption policy instruments: a comparative assessment across Europe

Important knowledge gaps exist regarding the effects of policy instruments for sustainable consumption (SC) and success factors of such instruments. This article compares and summarizes the results of six case studies on the effects and success factors of SC instruments in the need areas of housing and food. While analysing different instrument types from four different European countries, all case studies were guided by the same analytical framework and mixed-methods approach. This synthesis article particularly emphasizes factors fostering the generation of instrument effects (outcomes and impacts) or hampering the creation of such effects, respectively. These factors include instrument goals and design, the accommodation of consumer needs, and the simultaneous addressing of framework conditions, as well as market context, policy interaction, and stakeholder involvement. The findings and conclusions can contribute to a better understanding of the conditions under which policy instruments can steer consumer behaviour towards sustainability.