Find out more about the Beacon approach and solutions. 


Below are the briefing pdfs from across the website in one location for easy download! We welcome your feedback.

Explore this Briefing series and tap into these promising solutions areas to advance sustainable living:

Equip yourself through these beta courses on two of solution areas:


The Circular Economy and Life Transitions
Presentation: Vanessa Timmer
Circularity in Our Day-to-Day Lives Session, World Circular Economy Forum, Helsinki, Finland, 4 June 2019

To Be or To Have: Contextualizing Sustainable Lifestyles
Keynote Presentation: Lewis Akenji

Sustainable Lifestyles and Livelihoods Plenary, Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption Conference, Hong Kong, 27 June 2019

Recommended resources

The following publications serve as background and inspiration for the Beacon for Sustainable Living.

1.5 Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints

L. Akenji, M. Bengtsson, V. Toivio, M. Lettenmeier, T. Fawcett, Y. Parag, Y. Saheb, A. Coote, J.H. Spangenberg, S. Capstick, T. Gore, L. Coscieme, M. Wackernagel, D. Kenner (Hot or Cool Institute, 2021).

Changes in consumption patterns and dominant lifestyles are a critical and integral part of the solutions package to addressing climate change. This report fills a gap in the existing research by establishing global targets for lifestyle carbon footprints, examining current consumption patterns and their impacts on footprints, and evaluating potential reduction impacts of low-carbon lifestyle options. The results are striking, showing in some cases the need for reductions of over 80% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from today’s intensity of lifestyles. Not only developed countries, but also several developing countries will need to reduce their average per capita emissions – a significant challenge in cases where basic needs are often still not met. The report identifies clear opportunities for much-needed changes, including actions that need to start as soon as possible.

Fostering and Communicating Sustainable Lifestyles: Principles and Emerging Practices

P.J. Vergragt and H. Szejnwald Brown (SCORAI – Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative), V. Timmer, D. Timmer, D.A. Appleby (OneEarth), C. Pike, S. Eaves, R. McNeil (Climate Access) and J. Stutz (Tellus Institute) (United Nations Environment, 2016).

This report sets out a strategy roadmap for fostering and communicating sustainable lifestyles, illustrated by 16 initiatives and campaigns from around the world. The report details eight operating principles and tips on how to apply them. The ultimate goal is to create tangible changes in the way people live their daily lives. The report includes concluding reflections; details on the principles; a workshop summary; and suggested additional resources. Cases explore how sustainable lifestyle campaigns intersect with key aspects of meeting core domain needs around food, shelter, mobility, leisure time, and human connections. The report uses the principles to interpret and evaluate these cases and offers insights on how to apply key learnings.

A Framework for Shaping Sustainable Lifestyles: Determinants and Strategies

L. Akenji and H. Chen (United Nations Environment, 2016).

People make hundreds of thousands of decisions during the course of their lives. For the lucky among us, those decisions will vary widely. No matter how we choose, the lifestyles we end up living – or, in some cases, are forced to live – have a profound impact on our planet, affecting everything from how our economies run to the health of our environment. How we choose to live as a society and as individuals – what houses we choose and build, what food we eat and grow, how we spend our spare time, and what type of transport we use – will have an enormous impact on the trajectory of human history. This report will help policymakers, individuals and others understand what a holistic approach to lifestyle means and how different contexts require different solutions. The report does not set out to define what “the” sustainable lifestyle looks like. Instead, it can help guide a range of initiatives that enable lifestyle choices that contribute to sustainability.

Sustainable Lifestyles: Options & Opportunities

D. Timmer, D. Appleby, V. Timmer (OneEarth); Contributors: G. Clark, M. Nishimura, A. Francis, A. Legrand, N. Vij, M. Ledesma, S. Yvonne Harper (United Nations Environment) (United Nations Environment, 2018).

This report offers proven actions for creating and inspiring more sustainable lifestyles. It is a tool for groups with limited resources who want maximum impact. Globally, people are weaving sustainability into their daily lives – meeting needs and pursuing wellbeing and aspirations through building community; reducing meat and dairy; wasting less food; reusing, repairing, recycling, sharing and borrowing goods; and enjoying the things that matter most, such as friends, experiences and nature. Yet, these actions are piecemeal and do not capture the full potential that holistic sustainable living initiatives can offer. The report addresses this gap. It provides a sample of proven lifestyles options and opportunities in the areas of food, mobility, housing, consumer goods, leisure and general sustainable lifestyles. Explore these opportunities and create initiatives that work in your context – because what works in Brazil is different from what works in Morocco. 

Our Ecological Footprint

Prof. William E. Rees

Inventor of the ecological footprint approach; one of five co-founders of OneEarth; professor emeritus, University of British Columbia

Writing and insights including:

The Beacon is led by OneEarth Living and Hot or Cool, with generous support from the KR Foundation