September 2015

Toolkit for sustainable consumption

"Know your lifestyle": A series of teaching modules shows the relationship between local, very personal consumption and its global impact.

Why does my morning cup of coffee take 140 litres of water and not just 0.2? Why does it take 11,000 litres of clean water to make my €9.90 jeans, in distant countries where droughts and lack of drinking water already makes the local population desperate? Why does an unused treasure of 2.5 tons of gold lie sleeping in the drawers of German households while the raw material has to be won at a high cost for people and the environment and then warring parties in conflict regions finance themselves with it? And why is the woman who sows my €100 sneakers and who works 16 hours per day 7 days a week being paid only  0.4% of the purchase price for her work and is still not able to feed her family?

There are winners and losers in globalisation. Access to water, for example, is a human right, but it is increasingly becoming a rare and costly product, and the actual social, environmental and financial costs of the goods we consume are not, in the end, paid for by us, the consumers, nor by the corporations. To many of us this is all well known: that in our world today the reasons for the global crises and challenges are to be sought locally. Often, however, it is not easy to detect and estimate the global consequences of our own actions.

Since 2013, DVV International, along with its European partners, has been implementing the project Know your lifestyle. In the framework of the project, and in collaboration with NGOs and teachers, a series of teaching modules were developed which are aimed primarily at young adults in second chance education. In their daily lives they are rarely confronted with the issue of sustainability and are hardly taken into account as a target group in development education work.

The Toolkit can now be downloaded from the new project website at (in English, German, Slovenian and Estonian) and can also be obtained free of charge in printed form from DVV International at

The Toolkit clearly shows the relationship between local, very personal consumption and its global impact. Private consumption is scrutinised critically and alternative, sustainable individual skills are taught. The participatory and interactive methods will educate, raise awareness and be fun as well as be available for work with other target groups.

The project Know your lifestyle – sustainable consumption for young adults in second chance education has been implemented by DVV International since early 2013 along with adult education associations in Estonia, Slovenia and Austria and the European Association for Adult Education (EAEA). The project is funded by the European Union, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as government bodies in the partner countries.

DVV International

DVV International operates worldwide with more than 200 partners in over 30 countries.

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