BiNKA | Education for Sustainable Consumption through Mindfulness

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The BiNKA project explored how mindfulness training can reduce the gap between intentions and behaviors and thereby promote sustainable consumption. SuCo2 led the education subproject in BiNKA.

Team Members: Daniel Fischer (subproject lead), Pascal Frank, Anna Sundermann, as well as Laura Ditges, Hannah Auerochs, Maren Preuss, Jana Koltzau, Julia Domschke, Saskia Ostner, Tim Fluhrer, and Maxie Riemenschneider as student assistants.

Over the last years, mindfulness was successfully used to reduce chronical stress and increase well-being as well as the ability to concentrate. Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) and mindfulness training are combined in the BiNKA-project by focusing on the long-known problem of ESC, the discrepancy of individuals’ ecological attitude and their actual behavior. ESC aims at enabling people to consume more sustainably and is known as a crucial lever for the implementation of Sustainable Development. Overcoming the so called “attitude-behavior-gap” is one of the central challenges of ESC. Existing theories of the effects of mindfulness training suggest that practicing mindfulness strengthens awareness of one´s own core values, attitudes and behavior. Mindfulness might thus provide a tool to overcome the gap, potentially aligning values and behavior sustainably.

 Objectives

The main project goal is to strengthen the effectiveness of ESC. From a scientific point of view this will include conceptualizing and measuring the relationship between mindfulness and sustainable consumption. A mindfulness training, focused on fostering sustainable consumption will be developed (BiNKA-Training). The trainings were conducted and analyzed with participants from small and medium sized companies, schools and universities. Strengthening the cognitive, emotional and spiritual behavioral preconditions for sustainable consumption might enhance and deepen previous ESC approaches in a meaningful way.

 Methods

The development of the new mindfulness training with consumption focus was at the core of the project. An eight-week course with weekly group meetings of 1.5 hours and one longer meeting of about 4 hours were developed. Moreover, the participants were trained and encouraged to practice at home individually on a daily basis for 20- to 30-minutes.

Short- and long-term effects of the training were measured with both qualitative and quantitative methods. The results have been used to further improve the ”BiNKA-Training” and offer it as a service.

Druck The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the “Sustainable Economy” programme of the Social-Ecological Research (SÖF) funding line with a total budget of EUR 835,000 (EUR 250,000 for the SuCo2 subproject)Duration: 03/2015-05/2018

Project partners

BiNKA is carried out by the Technical University of Berlin (faculty Business and employment studies / Economics and Sustainable Consumption, Coordination) in association with the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (SuCo2 Working Group at the Institute for Environmental & Sustainability Communication (INFU)), the MBSR Institute Freiburg and the Berlin Center for Mindfulness and Health (AGES) respectively the Institute for Mindfulness & Sustainability (ifan) Berlin.

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